Pro Bono Work with Liberty Asia

Liberty Asia is a Hong Kong charity working to provide a more effective, coordinated response to slavery, in particular by involving the corporate sector in NGO-sector work to facilitate this response. Liberty Asia's goal is to provide new solutions to change the way slavery is addressed, with a particular focus on the Mekong region. Since May 2014, our Hong Kong office has been a member of the Pro Bono Panel of Liberty Asia. We have been working on projects involving numerous members of the Hong Kong office, from paralegal to partner level.

An important part of the fight against human trafficking is obtaining criminal sanctions against the traffickers themselves. Civil remedies provide an alternative and/or supplement to criminal proceedings and are attractive as a means of holding perpetrators accountable and providing victims with compensation for harm they have endured and losses incurred. The use of civil remedies remains largely underutilized. To help frontline staff working with victims of trafficking to identify possible means of redress, we assisted Liberty Asia in preparing a comprehensive report on the various civil remedies that may be available to victims of human trafficking in Hong Kong.

The work was very well received by Liberty Asia and has been used in its training sessions for solicitors and duty lawyers in Hong Kong. It has also been published on the Liberty Asia website and on LexisNexis. We hope that it will continue to be used in the daily work of duty lawyers, charities, NGOs, and other law firms and practitioners in Hong Kong to assist with the identification of civil remedies in the drive to help the victims of these crimes.

Obtaining compensation either from the perpetrator or through a compensation scheme is fundamentally important in enabling and helping victims of human trafficking to rebuild their lives and prevent them from being re-trafficked or exploited. However, the Criminal and Law Enforcement Injuries Compensation scheme in Hong Kong does not currently provide a realistic or viable framework to enable victims of human trafficking to claim compensation, and it suffers from several fundamental shortcomings that make it unfit for purpose for these types of claims.

Hogan Lovells has been working with Liberty Asia to examine the existing structure and the difficulties it presents and to prepare comparative views with other systems and key recommendations for reform, including making the case for a separate fund for victims of human trafficking in Hong Kong. The research and materials will be used by Liberty Asia in its lobbying work and to support calls for reform in this important area with the ultimate objective of opening up monetary compensation to victims of trafficking.

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