Home Hong Kong Hong Kong Rebuffs U.S. Trafficking Report, Defends Anti-Trafficking Efforts

Hong Kong Rebuffs U.S. Trafficking Report, Defends Anti-Trafficking Efforts


The Hong Kong government on Sunday strongly rejected claims made in the U.S. State Department’s 2024 Trafficking in Persons Report, calling the assessment “utterly unfair” and “not substantiated by facts.”

In a forceful statement, a government spokesman said trafficking in persons (TIP) “is never a prevalent problem in Hong Kong” and denied that the city is being used as a destination or transit point for human trafficking.

The U.S. report placed Hong Kong on the Tier 2 Watch List, a designation the city’s administration views as unwarranted given its efforts to combat trafficking and protect foreign domestic helpers (FDHs).

“We vehemently oppose and firmly reject the unfounded and false remarks in the Report against the situation in Hong Kong,” the spokesman said.

Hong Kong officials highlighted a 45% increase in initial screenings for potential trafficking victims in 2023, totaling around 11,000. Despite the intensified efforts, only three victims were identified, which the government argues demonstrates the limited scope of trafficking in the city.

The statement detailed various measures to protect the approximately 360,000 FDHs in Hong Kong, including a dedicated investigation section within the Immigration Department, comprehensive employment rights under local law, and additional benefits through standardized employment contracts.

Officials also addressed concerns about the “two-week rule” for FDHs leaving employment and the requirement that they live with their employers, defending these policies as necessary for workforce management and consistent with court rulings.

The government refuted suggestions that it lacks adequate legislation to combat trafficking, stating that its current framework of over 50 legal provisions is comprehensive and effective.

Hong Kong’s response underscores ongoing tensions with the United States over various issues, including national security legislation that has drawn international criticism. The government maintains that its approach to national security complies with international human rights standards.

As the dispute over the trafficking report unfolds, Hong Kong continues to assert its commitment to combating human trafficking and protecting vulnerable workers, while pushing back against what it sees as unfair characterization by the U.S. State Department.