Liberty Asia's Legal Resource Centre aims to provide resources for NGO support providers and legal practitioners working in the area of human trafficking in Hong Kong. The resources include legal instruments, case laws, best practice materials, guidelines as well as recent news and reports relating to human trafficking in Hong Kong and on an international level. An online consultation service also provides practitioners with the opportunity to send requests for assistance tailored to the needs of their respective cases.


Latest releases by Liberty Asia

December 2018

Health Hazards, Child Labour and Data Protection Breaches on Palm Oil Plantations

This paper is the second in a series of five position papers highlighting financial and legal risks arising from the current governance, management, supervision and administration of labour to the palm oil industry. The report identifies numerous potential liabilities for palm oil buyers and investors to consider when making investments in this sector to avoid facilitation and profit generation from labour abuses and failure to take action to address these issues. As transparency and accountability in the supply chain are on the rise, there is a need for vigilance in the industry and effective governance, monitoring and supervision systems at all levels of the palm oil supply chain to ensure that the rights of the workers are respected.

October 2018

Making the Case for Increased Use of Remote Witness Testimony in Human Trafficking Prosecutions in Cambodia

All too often cross-border human trafficking prosecutions in Cambodia and elsewhere are stalled or derailed because victims are unwilling or unable to participate in the process. This lack of willingness or ability may be due to security concerns, a desire to return home to focus on recovery and rehabilitation, or other immediate needs such as earning a living. Confronting their traffickers in court and recalling horrifying and personal details of the abuses can be particularly traumatic. 

This paper examines the legal systems of several ASEAN states that have incorporated comprehensive laws relating to the use of video-link evidence and analyses the relevant laws in Cambodia. The paper makes the case for increased use of remote witness testimony as a viable, safe, and legal alternative for victims of human trafficking to participate in the judicial process in Cambodia or elsewhere.

September 2018

Potential for Legal Liabilities and Claims for Unpaid Wages in the Palm Oil Industry

A key issue for consideration is clarity on the ongoing/monthly transfer of payroll monies and to the extent to which these are provided to recruitment agents/worker provider companies/outsourcing agents for payment to workers, and to identify on whose behalf such payroll monies are managed and administrated. If workers are not receiving wages, as many claim, then it is important to establish if payroll and wage monies are being retained and perhaps misused by these agents or if the administration and management by all parties of such monies is simply not as efficient as is necessary to ensure timely and accurate payment. 

At the same time, it is worth considering if criminal activities, such as money laundering and corruption, might be occurring as the sums may be significant. In fact, unpaid and outstanding wage liabilities and claims may aggregate to amounts giving rise to substantial and material risks to stakeholders and their derived benefits, which may even be retrievable through disgorgement and other means. 

The Environment of the Criminality Surrounding the Palm Oil Industry

To provide a wider perspective of the industry and its nature, we have applied and combined various research efforts to identify and describe elements of likely unlawful and criminal activity that may touch and concern the industry and those stakeholders deriving their benefit from it. 

The contents of this document provide a practical assessment of risk within the wider industry structure and the urgent need for better governance, management and administration to prevent these undesirable activities continuing and giving rise to greater risk and potential liability. More than anything, the contents of the document seek to draw the attention of stakeholders to the plight of those providing their labour and the unhealthy environment surrounding them and the palm oil industry.

August 2018

Turning Possibilities into Realities: Compensating Victims of Trafficking under Anti-Trafficking Legal Frameworks in Thailand and Cambodia

This report discusses the realities of accessing victim compensation under the anti-trafficking legal frameworks in Thailand and Cambodia. The report consists of desk-based research that reviews the current victim compensation systems in both countries, in-depth interviews with relevant stakeholders from NGOs, legal practitioners, government officials to international organizations and a review of legal case judgments in cases of sex and labour trafficking from 2014-2017. The report also identifies ways in which the gaps and limitations in the existing systems could be addressed to form the basis of advocacy efforts for improved access to remedies. 

July 2018

Modern Slavery Governance: Basics for Board

This practical guide leverages the lessons of regulatory compliance to illustrate how global businesses can manage human rights risks effectively, with a particular focus on modern slavery.  This guide provides a quick reference for corporate directors and officers to implement modern slavery policies and procedures that meet stakeholder expectations while navigating emerging legal risk practically and efficiently. 

Making the case for Abolishing Criminal Defamation Laws

The use of criminal defamation continues to intimidate workers seeking to enforce their rights, human rights defenders, local communities, whistleblowers and journalists in Southeast Asia particularly in the context of business-related activities. Reports on workers, human rights activists and journalists facing charges for allegedly defamaing big corporations span across different industries from poultry, fruit and vegetble export, mining and palm oil. 

The report recommends governments to take measures keeping courts from being used against workers seeking to enforce their rights, human rights defenders seeking corporate accountability, by decriminalizing defamation and preventing large and powerful corporations to sue for civil defamation as well as enhancing defenses to civil defamation claims. The public interest is not best served by the use of criminal defamation laws and it also undermines the effective application of labor laws and anti-exploitation laws in protecting vulnerable people. 

June 2018

Legal Analysis of Human Trafficking in Vietnam

The report is the fourth of a series of legal gap analysis of anti-trafficking, anti-money laundering and anti-corruption legislations in Southeast Asia. The Vietnamese government has made significant progress to reinforce the current legal system on combating trafficking, particularly in regulation and criminalising trafficking in the Penal Code. Trafficking in persons and its concerning activities are scattered in widespread offences and the legal system could benefit from consolidating related offences under a single piece of anti-trafficking legislation. The absence of the non-criminalisation provision is also problematic and limits victims' access to justice.  

March 2018

Legal Analysis of Human Trafficking in Malaysia

The report is the third of a series of legal gap anylysis of anti-trafficking legislation in Southeast Asia. There have been significant developments in the policy and legal framework in Malaysia but significant gaps remain in the protection and access to justice mechanisms for victims of trafficking and other forms of exploitation particularly the vast majoirty of exploited foreign migrant workers who are employed across the formal and informal work force in different sectors. 

February 2018

Malaysia's Palm Oil Industry

The report is an industry-focused analysis of the Malaysian palm oil industry with specific insights into the industry’s governance and investment framework, relevant labour laws that apply to migrant workers in the industry and various dispute resolution mechanisms that are available to address disputes of individuals and communities affected by the operations. Several initiatives and guidance to improve the governance and social framework, certification standards and responsible investment including Environmental Social Governance reporting are discussed to highlight the multiple opportunities that are available to a range of stakeholders including the business community, civil society, law enforcement and industry bodies in the palm oil industry to leverage existing opportunities to improve social standards particularly social issues that affect the migrant worker communities and create a change in business practices that respond to and respect the human rights. 


Law and Practice

This section contains treaties, conventions, international laws and Hong Kong laws for practitioners working with victims of human trafficking. We also provide information on the status of treaties, conventions and other international instruments to which Hong Kong has become a party. 

Case Law

Our case law section contains international, European Court of Human Rights, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and Hong Kong cases that consider issues of trafficking, sexual exploitation, forced labour, domestic servitude, debt bondage and forced marriage.   

This section is now organized by topic and where cases were decided. Since cases brought in one area of practice may contain findings on trafficking that are relevant to other areas of practice, we encourage practitioners to review the case law beyond their specific practice area with this in mind. Liberty Asia have prepared summaries of many of the cases listed outlining key findings.  

We encourage all practitioners to forward relevant cases to us for inclusion in these pages to share with other practitioners. 


This section collates recent news, reports, best practice materials, general principles/guidelines, useful learning tools and websites that may be useful for practitioners working in the area of human trafficking. Liberty Asia encourages colleagues to forward useful reports and other materials to share with other practitioners.


This section allows service providers to send in queries about their trafficking cases and be sent relevant legislation, policy or research as required. Other queries are also welcome.