From Joanna’s narrative it is unclear in which country Joanna experienced her exploitation. She was trafficked into prostitution abroad at the age of eighteen by the man she loved and the father of her child. After a while, her traffickers left her on the streets and she was picked up by police and taken to prison while they found a translator to communicate with her. When she was taken back home, her family and community had disowned her and she became homeless. She was helped by a woman who took her to a clinic for women who had experienced the same things she had.
There are an estimated 10,000 people living in modern slavery in Hong Kong (GSI 2018). Approximately 370,000 foreign domestic workers, primarily from Indonesia and the Philippines, work in Hong Kong; some become victims of forced labour in the private homes in which they are employed. An NGO report released in 2016 estimated as many as one in six foreign domestic workers is a victim of labour exploitation. Employment agencies often charge job placement fees in excess of legal limits, and sometimes withhold identity documents, which may lead to situations of debt bondage of workers in Hong Kong. The accumulated debts sometimes amount to a significant portion of the worker’s first year salary. Some employers or employment agencies illegally withhold passports, employment contracts, or other possessions until the debt is paid. Some workers are required to work up to 17 hours per day, experience verbal, sexual or physical abuse in the home, and/or are not granted a legally required weekly day off. SK, a 42-year-old woman trafficked from Malang, Indonesia to Hong Kong (2012- ), did not receive any of the money promised to her by her broker.