We often here cases of abuse and worker exploitation in almost all parts of the world. However, not much is known about government initiatives to address such issues in their respective jurisdictions.
Other than private, non-government organizations willing to offer legal help and counsel for victims of migrant worker abuse, specific services offered by a dedicated government office in this regard would be a welcome development.
Domestic Workers to Gain Help thru Gov’ts Victim Screening Mechanism
Hong Kong’s labour department announced that it will soon implement an initial victim screening mechanism across its ten offices in the city to help identify potential cases of foreign domestic worker abuse and exploitation, as shared in a report by the Asia Times.
The initiative falls under the plan of the government in its fight against human trafficking and commitment to strengthen its protective measures of the 390,000 foreign domestic workers in the country.
According to Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, the Labour Department will coordinate with other relevant government departments to explore other measures to encourage and facilitate foreign domestic workers acting as prosecution witnesses, as well as to boost publicity and awareness on this sector’s rights and benefits in the country.
For their part, the Immigration Department will establish a designated team to conduct preliminary reviews on foreign domestic worker visa applications in order to stop potential trafficking activities.
Cheung explained that the government has put up HKD 62 million on annual funding to create new posts to follow through with the plan.
According to the Labour chief, there have been over 7,500 initial screenings of vulnerable persons, such as illegal immigrants, illegal workers, sex workers, foreign domestic workers and imported workers from last year’s immigration, police, as well as customs departments report.
The said figure rose by three times since 2016 with a record of 2,500, explained Cheung.