By: Erin ChanEdited by: Winnie Ngai、Jianne Soriano

The Silent Struggle of Trafficking and Slavery victims in South Asia

  • 2017-10-26

Reporters: Erin Chan and Sherry Zhu    Editors: Jianne Soriano and Winnie Ngai The HKBU-SOPA Award Winners Forum has invited Nita Bhalla, a South Asia correspondent at Thomson Reuters to talk about Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery in South Asia at Hong Kong Baptist University this Thursday. Human trafficking is the second largest crime in the world with about 32 billion people fall victim to it every year, according to Bhalla. About 60 per cent of human trafficking victims are women and children, especially in North Africa and South East Asia. Six hundred thousand to 8000,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year. Worse still, the average price of a slave has increased from $40,0000 to $90,0000 today. As Bhalla explained, modern slavery comes in different shapes and sizes. The common ones include forced marriage, commercial exploitation, sexual exploitation and debt bondage. "In the US, prisoners being forced to work may be considered as a form of contemporary slavery. Likewise, children working in the agricultural sector in Pakistan, which is required by law, can also be counted," said Bhalla. "People being trafficked were told that they get to work in a nice and wealthy home, you get three meals a day. But most cases is that they have to work 24/7, they may have no food and freedom of movement," she added. She added that having documents withhold is one common practice among people bounded by slavery. "In the Gulf State, for example, there is this Kafala system in which employers can take away your passports for two years. The employer worries that slaves may switch jobs and therefore pay in advance to an agent so that the employee immediately becomes a bonded worker, " said Bhalla. Bhalla illustrated her experience of witnessing a 19-year-old girl struggling in silence, …

Business

Hong Kong tops the Japanese Pearl Export Market

By: Tracy Zhang, Jade Li, Dorothy Ma Edited by: Winnie Ngai and Emily Xu   Hong Kong has become a most sought-after and promising Japanese jewellery market as the city's growing appetite for pearl. The 35th Hong Kong Jewellery Fair opened on September 13th at AsiaWorld Expo. Organized by UBM Asia, the seven-day fair has attracted over 3,690 exhibitors from 56 countries and regions. As the largest Asian jewellery fair, it is expected to draw more than 56,000 visitors. Hong Kong has been the top market for Japanese pearl, accounting for 80 per cent of the country's pearl exports last year, according to the annual report of Japan's agriculture, forestry and fisheries exports. In 2016, the amount of exported Japanese pearl to the city was valued at 24,222 million yen (about HK$ 1,719 million)– about eight times of the value exported to the US, which ranks second. According to Hong Kong Merchandise Trade Statistics Import from January to July 2017, Japan takes the lead in the quantity and value of pearl trade in Hong Kong. Project Manager of Japanese Pearl trading company Hinata Trading Corporation Limited, Alexander Muller said this was his sixth time attending the fair. "Hong Kong is the centre of the Japanese pearl trade," he said, "Japanese pearl market is the most booming trading market in Hong Kong so I hope [this good situation] would keep on going." Muller believes that the high credibility of pearl quality and the reputable tradition of Japanese pearl make the business successful in Hong Kong. His company is expert in refining irregular shapes of pearl to meet the demand of its key customers from Europe and America. "People from mainland China and Hong Kong only account for a small part of our business sales since they are more interested in the perfectly round pearls," …