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

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

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

Briefing paper: The Environment of the Criminality Surrounding the Palm Oil Industry

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

Modern Slavery Governance: Basics for Board


Making the case for Abolishing Criminal Defamation Laws

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Legal Analysis of Human Trafficking in Vietnam


Legal Analysis of Human Trafficking in Malaysia



Malaysia's Palm Oil Industry



Modern Slavery - An Introduction


ASEAN & ACTIP: Using a Regional Legal Framework to Fight a Global Crime


Code of Conduct for Foreign NGOs: Investigating trafficking and child sexual exploitation & participation in rescues of victims



Paths to Social Risk Reforms for the Hong Kong Financial Markets



Legal Analysis of Human Trafficking in Thailand



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.

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.

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. 


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.


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. 


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. 

By: Liberty Global | Liberty Asia and Enodo Rights




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. 



The Vietnamese government has made significant progress to reinforce the current legal system on combating trafficking, particularly in regulating and criminalising trafficking in the Penal Code. The amendments related to money laundering and corruption under the Penal Code also demonstrate Vietnam's commitment to take a more holistic approach to combating human traffikcing. While some amendments are in positive direction, 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. 

By: Liberty Asia and Blue Dragon Children's Foundation



This report on anti-trafficking, anti-money laundering and anti-corruption laws in Malaysia is the third report in the series of legal gap analysis of anti-trafficking legislations 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 majority of exploited foreign migrant workers who are employed across the formal and informal work force in difference sectors. 

By: Liberty Asia and Tenaganita




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. 




This White Paper,  a collaboration between Liberty Asia and Clifford Chance, looks at normative and legislative trends taken to address modern slavery ranging from the global to the national and state level. The paper also analyzes the impact of the current legislations on corporate disclosure and transparency and discusses how a patchwork of diverse legislations which differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction in scope and application, and across different industries should lead to a development of a global standard. 




The adoption of the ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (ACTIP), the first legally-binding instrument to tackle human trafficking in the region, is monumental and provides a legal framework for more coordinated action across the ASEAN Member States. This report summarizes the most important ACTIP provisions, compares ACTIP with ASEAN members' domestic legislation and the European Convention, and sets out recommendations for a monitoring and enforcement framework. 

By: Liberty Asia and White & Case







The Code of Conduct is an attempt to set minimum standard for investigative NGOs operating in Southeast Asia. It seeks to set and uphold professional standards for the protection of victims of trafficking, NGO personnel, the integrity of the criminal justice process and the reputation of all parties in the sector. 

By: Liberty Asia, Nvader, Agape International Missions, British Consulate (Thailand)







Liberty Asia has partnered with DLA Piper to release a white paper evaluating Social Risk as part of complying with Environmental, Social, and Governance requirements. This paper examines some of the reasons behind the increased profile of social risk issues in the business world, including: the increased investor demand for socially responsible companies;  a continued crack down on forced labour by legal and regulatory enforcement regimes; and lobbying by global frameworks, NGOs, and nonprofi ts for social risk reform. This paper also examines and evaluates some of the steps taken to combat social risk issues in Hong Kong and the Asia-Pacific region more generally, and finally proposes reforms to better address these social risk issues. 




The Legal Gap Analysis of Thailand's anti-trafficking legislation seeks to offer a comprehensive insight into various areas of local law that are relevant to combating human trafficking and modern slavery including how these laws fare with respect to Thailand's commitments or obligations under international conventions and agreements. Anti-money laundering and anti-corruption provisions that are relevant to human trafficking are also examined in detail.  

The Thailand Legal Gap Analysis is a collaboration between Liberty Asia, Linklaters and MAST, with consultation from several agencies from both the public sector and civil society. It is offered to all stakeholders in Thailand counter-trafficking movement as part of a constructive conversation on the way forward. A Thai translation of the analysis is available here

This piece of research, a collaboration between Liberty Asia and Clifford Chance, sets out high-level findings in respect of anti-money laundering legislation and the requirements for the reporting of suspicious activity in relation to human trafficking in 18 jurisdictions. The research highlights variations in approaches to defining human trafficking as a predicate offense to money laundering between Asia, North America and Europe.

By Clifford Chance and Liberty Asia





Gaps in the implementation of child trafficking laws in Thailand and recommendations for reform


Using the U.S. Tariff Act of 1930 to Combat Human Trafficking






The policy report analyzes the current anti-trafficking regimes as it relates to children trafficked to and within Thailand and its implementation and efficacy in practice, based on research conducted with local NGOs who work with child victims in Thailand. The report also sets out the tension between the immigration regime and child protection regimes when it comes to unaccompanied foreign migrant children, as well as tension between international and domestic law on the treatment of vulnerable children and the requirement to consider and act in their best interests. The policy report makes high-level recommendations based on best practice anti-trafficking measures identified in the UK and US. A Thai translation of the policy overview is available here

By: Liberty Asia and Allen & Overy





This Briefing Paper examines recent amendments to the Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 and its application in the context of human trafficking prevention. The paper specifically discusses  how the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 expanded the Tariff Act’s potential to serve as a tool to deter and punish human trafficking. 

By Ropes & Gray and Liberty Asia





Guidance Note on Use of Victims' Images


The guideline is intended to provide best practice and principles for the anti-trafficking sector to create awareness and teach about how and when images can be used. It is an effort to offer advice on how to ensure that the dignity and rights of victims and of those we are working to protect are respected. The document is a practical toolkit for everyone in the anti-trafficking sector and includes in its Annex a Proposed Form of Consent Letter, a Checklist of Key Guidelines, and an overview of the legal background.  

By BNP Paribas and Liberty Asia



Victim Identification Toolkit


The 2016 version of the Victim Identification Toolkit has been updated to reflect new statistics, trends and developments in Hong Kong based on the U.S. Department of State's Trafficking in Persons Report 2015. Furthermore, in light of recent labour violations case and the ongoing judicial review related to the government's failure to enact human trafficking laws in Hong Kong, the 2016 version also updates the "Government Response to Human Trafficking" section. Useful resources tailored for each actor involved in the victim identification process are added to Section 4 to assist front line responders. New checklists are included in Section 5 to provide additional interview techniques. In addition, Section 7 which lists out support service providers in Hong Kong is updated to provide up to date information, contact details and available services.


The UK Modern Slavery Act 2015


A briefing paper for companies on the Modern Slavery Act. 

By Latham & Watkins and Liberty Asia








Modern Slavery and Corruption - Briefing Paper

Modern Slavery and Corruption - Legal Analysis of Relevant Laws and Their Application 

This Briefing Paper and the more comprehensive Legal Analysis examine the relationships between the occurrence of corruption, slavery and human trafficking; the prevailing law/regulations; various industry sectors, banking and finance; and law enforcement (both from a banking and securities enforcement perspective and more the familiar criminal enforcement.)

By Liberty Asia, Ropes & Gray, MWE China Law Offices and the Freedom Fund



The UK Modern Slavery Act 2015: Implications for Asia



Legal Analysis of Human Trafficking in Hong Kong 


Data Protection Guidelines

Erwiana: A case of modern slavery finding its way to justice



The accessibility of the CLEIC scheme to victims of human trafficking


From Every Angle: Using the law to combat human trafficking in Southeast Asia


Civil Remedies: Justice for Victims of Trafficking in Hong Kong


How many More Years a Slave? Trafficking for Forced Labour in Hong Kong


Summary of the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 and its implications on corporates and NGOs and activists. 










The Legal Gap Analysis of Hong Kong's anti-trafficking legislation seeks to offer a comprehensive insight into various areas of local law that are relevant to combating human traffikcing and modern slavery including how these laws fare with respect to Hong Kong's commitments or obligations under international conventions and agreements. Anti-money laundering and anti-corruption provisions that are relevant to human trafficking are also discussed. 

By: Liberty Asia and Reed Smith Richards Butler





Data protection is often an overlooked issue in organisations that are constantly firefighting and supporting very vulnerable people with very limited resources. These Guidelines will clarify the protections available in the law and assist NGOs with protecting sensitive data to better serve their clients and, ultimately, strengthen the fight against slavery. 

By: Liberty Asia and Reed Smith Richards Butler






The case of Erwiana Sulistyaningsih and HKSAR v Law Wang Tung












The paper examines the Criminal and Law Enforcement Injuries Compensation ("CLEIC") scheme which is available to provide compensation to victims of violent crimes in Hong Kong but inaccessible to victims of human trafficking. It then discusses how a state funded compensation scheme can provide one of the most accessible avenues for victims of trafficking seeking compensation.







The report highlights the range of offenses that can occur in a trafficking situation, such as assault, sexual violence, employment and immigration law breaches to enable more prosecutions and combat the culture of impunity for the traffickers and offenders. The aim of this report is to allow front-line NGOs engaged in legal service provision and lawyers representing victims of trafficking to get ceative about the way they pursue traffickers hence improving their chances of securing justice for victims.

By: Liberty Asia and Thomsom Reuters Foundation





This report provides a comprehensive overview of various civil remedies available under Hong Kong Law and comments on their applicability to trafficking victims.  Remedies in contract, tort and pursuant to the Basic Law together with the eligibility criteria and judicial procedure(s) for each remedy are examined. 

By: Liberty Asia and Hogan Lovells









A joint briefing between Justice Centre and Liberty Asia examining modern day slavery in Hong Kong and offering policy solutions provides clarity about the distinguishing features and overlaps between forced labour and human trafficking, with reference to international standards. It goes on to identify the gaps in existing legislation, which is currently failing to provide redress in cases of trafficking for forced labour and to prevent further abuses, is neglecting to prosecute traffickers and is not offering adequate protection to victims of trafficking for forced labour in the HKSAR territory.