回應美國國務院人口販賣狀況報告

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美國國務院今日公佈的「人口販賣狀況報告」,將香港維持在第二級監察名單,與利比利亞、蘇丹、津巴布韋等同級。立法會法律界議員郭榮鏗對香港政府遲遲未就打撃人口販運立法,使香港再度獲差劣評級,在國際社會蒙羞,感到非常遺憾。

郭榮鏗特別引述報告提到香港打撃人口販運的情況沒有實際改善,本應被降至最差的第三級,但因應政府承諾增撥資源於基本措施,才獲得降級豁免。郭榮鏗強調,政府提出的行動計劃、指引和措施均無法取代香港要將人口販運行為刑事化的責任,因此,政府必須盡快制訂一套整全的打撃人口販運的法例。

高等法院更在一宗有關人口販運的司法覆核案件,裁定香港法例未能有效打擊人口販運及強制勞工問題,現時本港法例並無有效針對所有形式的人口販運的刑事罪行及法律保障。郭榮鏗已經聯同立法會會計界議員梁繼昌提出《現代奴役法案》,以促使港府就人口販運制訂全面的法律(註)。該草案於6月5日提交立法會保安事務委員會討論,惜保安局局長李家超在會上堅稱香港已有足夠法例處理人口販運,拒絕立法建議。

郭榮鏗議員強調打撃人口販運有賴國際合作,立法將人口販運行為刑事化亦是香港作為國際城市在打撃人口販運的基本責任。香港作為國際金融中心、國際交通樞紐,有責任亦有必要立法打撃人口販運。本港現時法例未能打擊整個人口販運系統,如洗黑錢活動,變相縱容人口販子利用香港作為基地。政府必須採取行動,堵塞法律漏洞。


註:《現代奴役草案》是由立法會(法律界)郭榮鏗議員、何珮芝律師及馬亞山大律師(Azan Marwah) 合作草擬,參考了英國政府的《現代奴役法案2015》,透過修訂《刑事罪行條例》(第200 章),增設人口販運為刑事罪行,當中包括禁止任何形式的奴隸,即人口販運、強迫勞動、奴役、強迫婚姻以及性旅遊。草擬人同時建議成立獨立的反奴役委員會,以更有效地預防、偵察、調查和檢控 奴役和人口販運的罪行,並為人口販運的受害者提供更佳的支援。
制訂專門法例有三大原因:(一)現時「零碎」的法例有漏洞,未能涵蓋所有形式的人口販運, 例如強迫勞動和強迫婚姻;(二)現時法例的罰則過輕,未能反映人口販運的 嚴重性或起阻嚇作用,必須制訂較重罰則的法例;(三)私人草案給予警察和 其他執法人員足夠的調查及檢控權力。
法案具體內容,包括在《刑事罪行條例》新增條文, 以設立「奴役、奴工和強迫或強制勞工」的罪行;擴大人口販運的定義,以涵 蓋於香港境內發生的所有形式的人口販運活動,使其更貼近國際法;新增「為 進行人口販運而進行的犯罪行為」的罪行;針對「強迫婚姻」有關的罪行(而此罪行現在並不受《婚姻條例》覆蓋);及訂立與性旅遊相關的若干罪行。
此外,根據私人草案,執法人員如遇上可能將受到人口販運的受害人,或人口販子,可向法庭申請禁令限制他們出境或進行與人口販運有關的活動。而私人草案也為人口販運受害者提供免責辯護(觸犯特定嚴重罪行除外),以鼓勵他們求助及指證犯罪份子,除非他們犯下了一些特定的嚴重罪行。

Hong Kong remains on Tier Two Watch List in the TIP Report released by the US State Department today, in the same class as countries such as Liberia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe. LegCo member Dennis Kwok regrets that the Hong Kong Government’s lack of effort in combatting human trafficking has brought shame to Hong Kong in the international community.

Dennis Kwok refers to the Report which states that there is no real improvement in Hong Kong’s efforts in combatting human trafficking in the past year. The Report states that Hong Kong should have been downgraded to Tier Three, but was exempted because the Government promised to accord more resources to implement relevant administrative measures. Dennis Kwok emphasises that the Government’s Action Plan and other administrative measures issued last year cannot replace the Government’s duty to make laws to criminalise all forms of human trafficking. Therefore the Government must introduce a comprehensive legislation to combat human trafficking immediately.

The High Court ruled in a judicial review concerning human trafficking that Hong Kong laws have failed to effectively combat the issues of human trafficking and forced labour. In fact, the current criminal laws do not cover all forms of human trafficking or provide the necessary protection to victims. Dennis Kwok tabled the Modern Slavery Bill with LegCo member (Accountancy) Kenneth Leung to urge the Government to make a comprehensive law against human trafficking. The Bill was discussed at the LegCo Panel for Security on 5th June 2018. It is regrettable that the Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu refused the legislative proposal, and insisted that current laws were enough.

Dennis Kwok emphasises that international cooperation is crucial to tackle human trafficking, and making laws to criminalise all forms of human trafficking is an important duty of Hong Kong as an international city. As an international financial centre and transportation hub, Hong Kong must do its part in combatting human trafficking. The current laws are unable to deal with all elements of human trafficking, such as money laundering, allowing traffickers to operate in Hong Kong with impunity. The Government should take urgent actions to plug the gaping holes in the laws.

 

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