by Jenna Yuen, JWB Pro Bono Legal Fellow
JWB recently joined the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in a training seminar focused on protecting victims of human trafficking. More than fifty participants from Indonesian migrant worker organizations in Hong Kong attended the event, which covered identification of victims of trafficking, and how to provide support to these clients. JWB delivered a session on civil compensation for victims in Hong Kong, and how to pursue these remedies after they returned home.
JWB’s hands-on session led participants through a hypothetical case scenario, which contained many of the common types of exploitation that workers encounter. Participants dived into the case, discussing possible strategies for helping the client, and explaining how they would help a client who faced issues of unpaid wages, false imprisonment, debt bondage and abuse.
Following the discussion, our presenters outlined the remedies available to migrant workers in Hong Kong, what evidence is needed to make claims, and how NGOs and case workers can assist victims in pursuing their claims and in taking action. As expected, the participants had a strong command of the issues, allowing them to easily pick up the legal issues that we introduced in the session, even without formal legal training.
Ultimately, the event gave participants a new understanding of the remedies possible to workers, and that these remedies could be accessible even after clients left Hong Kong. For us, the seminar was a valuable opportunity to meet case workers and community leaders who work with clients on the front lines, helping us build another link to victims who might otherwise return home without compensation. We look forward to working with these leaders and their organisations, and helping them build the knowledge and know-how necessary to make access to just compensation possible for their clients.
All photo credits to Bradley Aaron.
Jenna Yuen is a rising third-year law student at the University of Hong Kong. At JWB, Jenna has led revisions to our Practitioner’s Manual for Migrant Workers, and furthered research on use of video link technology to enable remote appearances in Hong Kong courts.