Juliet* is a Filipina woman in her late twenties who has visited Hong Kong three times. On her first visit to HK, she quickly understood what was expected of her – she would be forced to have sex with multiple customers a night. The reason for her to keep coming back was because she needed the money to pay for her upcoming wedding in the Philippines.
Juliet was engaged to a man she has known since she was young, but her fiance knew nothing of what she did in the city.
Each time, Juliet would stay in Hong Kong for as long as six months, renewing her 14-day tourist visa by entering and exiting Macau. On her return to the Philippines after her first trip, Juliet was told that she had to come back to Hong Kong.
The traffickers threatened to tell her family what she did if she didn’t return, and even demanded that she bring a friend with her.
Bound in fear of the traffickers and feeling pressured to bring home enough money, Juliet succombed and eventually recruited Aida, a woman in her early thirties, to join her to work in Hong Kong. We don’t know what became of Juliet, nor her friend Aida. However, what we do know is that to this day, many women from the Philippines and other places are brought to Hong Kong under similar conditions and forced to work in the bars and clubs of Wanchai.
Under international and Hong Kong law, the use of deception and force to compel someone into the commercial sex industry can be considered sex trafficking.
*All names & identifying information have been changed to protect the identity of the survivor.
Are you or someone you know being trafficked?
Is human trafficking happening in your community? Recognizing potential red flags and knowing the indicators of human trafficking is a key step in identifying more victims and helping them find the assistance they need.
To reach out or get help for suspected cases of human trafficking in Hong Kong, please contact us at connect@100storiesHK.org.
A version of this story was originally published at www.stophk.org on July 21, 2015. Story provided by the Diocesan Pastoral Centre for Filipinos.