Secretary of State John Kerry on July 27 released the U.S. Government’s annual assessment of efforts to combat slavery around the world, the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report. Twenty million or more people worldwide are trapped in unspeakable conditions. President Obama has called slavery “one of the greatest human rights causes of our time.” Neither the United States, nor Hong Kong, nor any other place else in the world is immune. No government can combat it alone.
U.S. and international law today concentrate on exploitation of the individual rather than simply movement across boundaries. The U.S. Congress requires the U.S. State Department annually to assess government efforts around the world, including those of the United States, to combat slavery. The Report suggests actions that governments, businesses, and consumers can take to fight trafficking and help the victims regain their lives. This year’s report also examines slavery in the global marketplace.
Given its economic importance and strong commitment to the rule of law, Hong Kong has an indispensable role to play in combating slavery. In this year’s report, Hong Kong retains its Tier 2 ranking out of recognition that it has made significant strides to combat trafficking but does not yet meet minimum international standards to attain Tier 1 ranking. Tier 1 countries typically have dedicated anti-trafficking laws, interagency action plans, and other robust means to target slavery.
I know that trafficking is repugnant to Hong Kong people. The United States looks forward to continuing its close cooperation with the Hong Kong Government to combat slavery both at home and abroad.
You can read the full report here: Trafficking in Persons Report