Victims of human trafficking are often lured by the prospect of employment and financial security, but in this case, the deception came in the form of a free holiday abroad. In 2012, a Thai woman, Kamon*, flew to Hong Kong to visit Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park on tickets paid for by a friend, or so she thought. She was met at the airport and taken to a flat in Jordan instead, where she was tied to a bed and forcibly raped by several men. The second john ended up giving her HKD$100 which, after escaping out of a window, she used to take a taxi to the nearest police station.
Kamon intended to press charges, but during the suspect identification process, the traffickers’ lawyer attempted to bribe her with a written note, asking her how much she wanted in exchange for withdrawing the charges. She did not respond at the time, but while waiting for the case to go to trial, she returned to Thailand.
In 2013, Kamon returned to Hong Kong to stand as a witness for the prosecution, and it was then determined that she would require counseling prior to the court hearing. Several attempts to get an interpreter from a government-subvented organisation were unsuccessful, and only later was an interpreter from the Diocesan Pastoral Care for Filipinos (DPCF) found. In the initial counseling session, she was found to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and would require continued counseling throughout the duration of the trial. Again, an attempt to secure counseling with the same government organisation was unsuccessful, with her application for services rejected.
When the day of the hearing finally arrived, Kamon was informed at the courthouse that the hearing would not take place that day as the prosecution needed more time to review the case-related documents. This was a huge disappointment and setback for Kamon, and she ultimately returned to Thailand without providing any testimony. Back in her home country, a person claiming to be a police officer began harassing Kamon’s mother to admit on tape that her daughter was a prostitute, which is an illegal profession in Thailand. Under this constant stress, Kamon eventually decided not to return to Hong Kong. The ongoing harassment of her family, the threat of danger to her entire household, and the multiple case delays in Hong Kong proved to be too much to bear, and Kamon sadly withdrew herself from the case.
*All names & identifying information have been changed to protect the identity of the survivor.
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A version of this story was originally published at www.stophk.org on June 13, 2016. Story provided by the Diocesan Pastoral Centre for Filipinos.