Press Statement (HCAL 15/2015)

Press Statement (HCAL 15/2015)

An application for leave to apply for judicial review was filed in Court on 30 January 2015.  The case challenges the HKSAR Government’s failure to protect victims of forced labour and human trafficking.  The Applicant in this case is a victim of forced labour and human trafficking who has sought protection from Government Departments including the Police, the Labour Department and the Immigration Department. None of these departments took any steps to carry out an investigation into the Applicant’s case as a case of forced labour and/or human trafficking. These failures were systemic and occurred primarily because of the absence of any legislative framework to prevent adult human trafficking/forced labour or protect victims of adult human trafficking/forced labour.

The Leave application was heard on 2 June 2015.  Judgment was reserved.

The relief sought in the judicial review include:

  1. A declaration that the failure of the HKSARG to enact legislation specifically targeting human trafficking, including both adult and child trafficking and general labour trafficking as well as trafficking for sexual purposes is a breach of the Applicant’s rights under Article 4 of the BOR (“(1) No one shall be held in slavery, slavery and the slave-trade in all their forms shall be prohibited. (2)No one shall be held in servitude.”) and of the rights of other trafficking victims in Hong Kong and of all persons entitled to the protection of the Basic Law who are or may be at risk of becoming trafficking victims in Hong Kong or elsewhere.
  2. Further or alternatively a declaration that the safeguards in current Hong Kong legislation against human trafficking are inadequate to ensure the practical and effective protection of the rights of victims or potential victims of trafficking.
  3. A declaration that the manner in which the Applicant was dealt with by the Hong Kong Police and/or the Hong Kong Immigration Department and/or the Hong Kong Labour Department since complaining about conduct constituting human trafficking, forced labour and/ or servitude, was a breach of the Applicant’s rights under Article 4 of the BOR.
  4. Damages for the said breach of the Applicant’s rights under Article 4 of the BOR.

This judicial review is the first legal challenge to the absence of adequate provision by the HKSAR Government to fulfil its obligation under Bill of Rights Article 4 to prevent forced labour or servitude arising from human trafficking. The case therefore raises important issues of principle, potentially affects many victims, and is one of importance and urgency.

Given the security risks faced by the Applicant, details of the case cannot be made public at this point. For further information, please contact Patricia Ho (patriciaho@dalyassociates.net).

Daly & Associates