July 2019

Hong Kong

A human trafficking victim in Wan Chai. Image credits: Xiaomei Chen for SCMP.

Hong Kong used as ‘pawn’ in China relations, says labour minister in angry reaction to US State Department’s ‘unfair’ assessment of city’s human trafficking record

Date: 30 June 2019 
Source: South China Morning Post

Dr Law Chi-kwong, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, said that the US Trafficking in Persons report (TIP report) “contained many unfair comments.” He said such unfair criticism of Hong Kong’s human trafficking record showed that the US has been using the city as a “pawn” in dealings with mainland China.

Access the article here. 
Access STOP’s response to the US TIP Report here.



Rohingya migrants drifting in Thai waters. Image credits: AFP, via SCMP

Malaysian demand for cheap labour propels human trafficking in Thailand to record heights

Date: 22 July 2019 
Source: South China Morning Post

Thai police have rescued 974 trafficking victims – mostly from Myanmar – for the year to date, compared to 622 for the whole of last year and a previous annual high of 982 in 2015, according to government data.

Access the article here.

Indian state sets aside college places for slavery survivors

Date: 12 July 2019 
Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation News

The southern Indian state of Karnataka has set aside hundreds of college places for survivors of trafficking and sexual assault. India already has job and education quotas for its lowest social classes, but this is the first time trafficking survivors will benefit from affirmative action.

Access the article here.

The living hell of young girls enslaved in Bangladesh’s brothels

Date: 6 July 2019 
Source: The Guardian

Tens of thousands of underage girls, some as young as 12, are enslaved in brothels in Bangladesh. Chukri, bonded sex workers, are imprisoned within brothels and forced to pay back fabricated debts.

Access the article here.



Iana Matei, a psychologist by training, runs a rehabilitation centre in Romania that houses 12 girls, all rescued off the streets. Image credits: Sky News.

“I wasn’t prepared for how young human trafficking victims would be”

Date: 28 July 2019 
Source: Sky News

Romania has the highest number of human trafficking victims in Europe. Trafficking victims in Romania are getting younger and are reliant on volunteers – not the government – for help.

Access the article here.

2021 declared International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour

Date: 26 July 2019 
Source: International Labour Organization

The UN General Assembly has urged the international community to step up efforts to eradicate forced labour and child labour, and declared 2021 as the Year for the Elimination of Child Labour.

Access the article here.

More than 500 victims of trafficking detained in 2018, UK study finds

Date: 9 July 2019 
Source: The Guardian

Hundreds of victims of trafficking have been locked up in detention centres by the Home Office, despite guidance that they should be housed and supported.

Access the article here.



Report: The Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill: A Cost-Benefit Analysis

Date: 17 July 2019 
Source: University of Nottingham

This report, which has been launched in the UK Parliament, finds that the benefits of longer-term support for survivors of modern slavery outweigh the initial costs.

Access the report here. 
For a summary, access the accompanying press release here.

Research Paper: Beyond the Camps: Beijing’s Grand Scheme of Forced Labor, Poverty Alleviation and Social Control in Xinjiang

Date: 12 July 2019 
Author: Adrian Zenz, Independent Researcher

This research paper provides a closer look at internment camps in Xinjiang, China, where “forced or at least involuntary labour” is allegedly taking place on a massive scale. The author, Adrian Zenz, has been emerging as one of the leading academics on the issue.

Access the research paper here.

Report: Measurement, Action, Freedom: An independent assessment of government progress towards achieving UN Sustainable Development Goal 8.7

Date: June 2019 
Source: Walk Free

This report finds that it is impossible to achieve SDG 8.7, eradicating modern slavery, at the current rate of progress. It also names Hong Kong as one of countries that has a weak response to slavery relative to its wealth.

Access the report here.