Hong Kong was not to be their final destination. For Delora* and her friend named April*, who were both in their early twenties, it was just the first leg of the journey and they would have no way know what was to come.
Recruited in the Philippines, they came to Hong Kong first on their own passports with the impression that they would be waitresses. They each received a standard 14-day tourist visa upon arrival. They were immediately taken to the redlight district in Wan Chai and told to work as dancers in strip clubs for ten days. After this, they were flown to Germany – this time on fake passports – before crossing into France. From there, they were made to paddle across a body of water to Italy. It was only when the Italian authorities eventually arrested them, that their full ordeal was brought to light.
Although Delora and her friend had little awareness of what human trafficking was or understanding of their rights, their experience is a classic storyline of how women are deceived into sex work in Hong Kong and elsewhere. Their lack of education/awareness and economic situations were exploited and they were deceived about the nature of the job, the legality of the whole process, and location of work. Unknowingly, they had become two of the estimated 45.8 million people worldwide trapped in modern slavery^.
*All names and identifying information have been changed to to protect the identity of the survivors.
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.