The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government on Thursday strongly rejected Hong Kong's grading in the U.S. Department of State's "2016 Trafficking in Persons Report" (TIP report).
The report downgraded Hong Kong from "Tie 2" to "Tie 2 Watch list," describing Hong Kong as "primarily a destination, transit, and to a much lesser extent, a source territory for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor."
A government spokesman said in a press release that the SAR government "vehemently" and "categorically" rejected Hong Kong's grading in the report.
"We much regret that the findings of the report have displayed a total disregard of the continuous and strenuous efforts of our law enforcement agencies to tackle TIP. In particular, we cannot accept that Hong Kong is a destination, transit and source territory for men, women and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor," the spokesman said.
"The report is not doing justice to the SAR government. It understates the improvements to the operational procedures in victim identification and the successful identification of trafficking victims. The report misquotes the level of assistance provided to trafficking victims, and contains an agglomeration of mere allegations, from unverified information, concerning the protection of foreign domestic helpers (FDH)," the spokesman said.
Hong Kong's effectiveness in combating the TIP crime should better be judged by the extent and nature of human trafficking in the region, the spokesman said.
The spokesman reiterated that there is no indication that Hong Kong is being actively used by syndicates as a destination or transit point for TIP, or that TIP is a prevalent or widespread problem in Hong Kong.
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