Statement on the 14th International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

Today is the 14th International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. Every year sex workers organizations all over the world carry out different types of activities to increase the public concern on sex workers’ vulnerability to violence, and to urge the society to eliminate the discrimination against sex workers.

In 2016, we received a total of 615 complaints from sex workers (see the table below). You can then see that sex workers yet to face much violence in their working environment, in which sex workers are still the main target for crime, and the police also abuse the violence and power on sex workers. However, what is encouraging is that, local judges more than once express that sex workers are the powerless minority who need the law to protect their rights and safety. Moreover, the judges state that it is necessary to explicitly convey a correct message to the community and the criminals, remind the latter that sex workers are not always helpless in the society. As a consequence, the defendants received what they deserved: the police officer who abused his power to force a migrant sex worker to provide free sexual service was sentenced to 9-month imprisonment, whereas the English banker who brutally killed two Indonesian sex workers was given a life sentence.

This year, we put sex workers’ New Year wishes on the Christmas tree. We hope that there will be less crime and violence targeting sex workers in 2017. The law will also be well used to punish those who hurt sex workers, so that all sex workers can work without worries under good working conditions.

Zi Teng
Sex workers concern group
Dec 17 2016

Number of cases where sex workers in Hong Kong face violence (2016)

Police violence/abuse Client/criminal violence
Strip search 4 cases Denial of payment 19 cases
Verbal threat and insult 57 cases Theft 56 cases
Being deprived of basic rights 5 cases Physical assault 3 cases
Free sexual service 11 cases Condom removed 7 cases
Indecent assault 3 cases Police impostor 12 cases
Physical assault 3 cases Triad threats and harassment 5 cases
Force/coax into signing the statement 8 cases Grievous bodily harm 2 cases
Obstructing the course of justice 17 cases Forced labor 2 cases
Excessive license check 100 cases Properties damaged 2 cases
police break into house without warrant 31 cases Intimidation 2 cases
Free massage service before arrest 17 cases Fraud 6 cases
Arbitrary arrest 225 cases Counterfeit note 4 cases
Abuse of power 9 cases Rape 1 case
Indecent assault 2 cases
Robbery 2 cases