To: Panel on Home Affairs

Joint statement
Appeal to the Hong Kong Government to comply with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
Stop all violence against sex workers

In August, UN?s Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women will product the second report on the adopt of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) by the Hong Kong Government for deliberation. Based on the above situation, with the intention to: (1) reflect the discrimination and suppression and (2) expect to improve sex workers' situation, we suggested the followings:

Sex work is allowed under the law of Hong Kong but in fact, sex workers were facing discrimination, suppression and violence with the law enforcers, the Hong Kong Police, as the leading party for these vices. During the operations, the under-cover officers always make use of their power to enjoy sex service before they arrest, and also use violence when they meet any resistance. From 2004 to 2005, Ziteng (Sex worker concern group) has received 324 complaints from sex workers against the police, reflecting that the police not only fail to carry out their duty to protect the safety of sex workers but even exploit their power to offend sex workers' rights, use body strength to force sex workers to comply.

These few years, there has been pressure from members in the Legislative Council, concern groups and public opinion, urging the Police to revise the guidance. However, senior officials keep protecting their junior officers, allowing them to overstep their rights, disregarding public concern and refusing to revise their policy.

Moreover, as the Complaints and Internal Investigations Branch of the Hong Kong Police Force handles complain, investigation and disciplinary action at the same time, their trustworthiness is being doubted for years as there is chance of police protecting police. We strongly recommend the setup of an independent police complaint system and dismiss the present complaint branch.

The followings are the assaults done to sex workers by the Police:

  1. Free sex service in the operation of under-cover police

  2. According to the present guidance, officer in the operation cannot accept sex intercourse or oral sex service, but limited body contact is allowed including hand job. From 2004 to 2005, there were at least 70 officers, being "supported" by the guidance, accepted various kind of sex services including hand job, blow job and even sex intercourse.

  3. Police abusing their power, inhumane treatment to sex workers:
  4. From 2004 to 2005, Ziteng has received more than 330 complains from sex workers, reporting the Police abuse their power such as: arrest without reason, set them up for charges, conduct strip search, do not allow them to make phone call after arrest, intimidate and threaten them to sign statement, force them to remove, etc.

    In 2005, media in Hong Kong has taken a photo, showing the Police locked 80 suspects of prostitution in a cage exposed in an open car park; in October same year, sex worker Li Yuen Yee committed suicide because the Police falsely accused her.

The Hong Kong Government has disregarded the rights of the sex workers, seriously jeopardized their human rights, violated against the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Here, we demand to:

  1. Stop all the right abuse and violence towards the sex workers
  2. Revise immediately the internal guidance, clearly state the prohibition of sex service of any form including sex intercourse, oral sex or hand job, etc;
  3. Investigate Li Yuen Yee?s case and punish the officer who has offended the regulation
  4. Establish an independent complaint system to investigate the complaint of possible overstepping their authority