Human Trafficking


Trafficking of Women into Hong Kong 
Principal Investigators: Robyn Emerton, Karen Joe Laidler and Carole Petersen 
Project Period: November 2003 – April 2006 
Funding Source: HKU Small Project Funding Programme 
This project started in 2000, with the publication of Emerton’s research paper on Trafficking of Women into Hong Kong for the purposes of Prostitution: Preliminary Research Findings. The paper was the first academic study on the topic of trafficking into Hong Kong, and generated much public debate on the issue, both locally and regionally. Shortly after the paper’s publication, in February 2001, the CCPL hosted a Round Table on Trafficking of Women into Hong Kong for the Purposes of Prostitution, at the University of Hong Kong. The event helped to foster links between different groups and individuals working in the area, and to provide impetus for further research and action. In 2003, Emerton, Petersen and Laidler (from the Centre for Criminology at the University of Hong Kong) were awarded a small project grant by the University Grants Council, to further their research in this area. In particular, the team was granted access to three correctional institutes in Hong Kong, enabling research assistant Garlum Lau to conduct 58 in-depth interviews with Mainland Chinese women imprisoned for criminal and/or immigration offences relating to their involvement in prostitution in Hong Kong. The project aimed to assess the background of the women, recruitment methods, work conditions and the level of control exercised over them. It also aimed to evaluate the extent to which the women might have been trafficked into Hong Kong, under the modern international definition of the term. In April 2006, the CCPL, in conjunction with the Centre for Criminology, held a round-table to present and discuss the findings of this project. Attendees included officials from various government departments, members of the police force, the judiciary and the bar, consular officials, non-governmental organisations, and academics. Emerton and Petersen have also examined the human rights situation of Filipinas working as nightclub hostesses in Hong Kong, including the extent to which they might be considered trafficked.


Occasional Papers

No 3/01: Robyn Emerton, February 2001

“Trafficking on Women into Hong Kong for the purpose of Prostitution”


Conference and Seminar Papers

Seminar: Human Trafficking: Regional and International Perspectives

26 May 2008

Presentation by Ingela Klinteberg, District Chief Prosecutor of Sweden [PPT]

Minutes of the Round Table on Trafficking, 28 February 2001

Hosted by Carole Petersen and Robyn Emerton

The “Round Table” brought together people from different backgrounds who are interested in working on this issue, to discuss further research needs, policy needs and strategies. There have been calls for a working group to be set up, to develop strategies both to help prevent the trafficking of women into Hong Kong and to help protect those women who are trafficked into Hong Kong.

For further background, see Occasional Paper on Trafficking of Women into Hong Kong for the Purposes of Prostitution: Preliminary Research Findings.

[PDF Minutes]