Human Rights Day Declaration - Demand the Police to Learn again how to Respect Human Rights and Fairly Treat Sex-workers

The spirit of Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention is to affirm that all human beings, irrespective of race, creed or sex, have the right to pursue both their material well-being and their spiritual development in conditions of freedom and dignity, of economic security and equal opportunity. Ziteng concerns about sex-workers who are being discriminated, unfairly treated and had their dignity ruined because of their job. On Human Rights Day, we hope to declare that sex-workers have their basic human rights and right to work in order that the damage done by discrimination can be reduced and to guarantee that they can work in a safe environment.

Human rights conventions are to protect people from torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Authority abuse is one of the worldwide problems that sex-workers have to face because their work is discriminated by the society and most often the police will bear false witness to accuse them. Under the circumstance that there is not enough evidence, the judge will choose to believe the police’s witness but not that of sex-workers so that they are always be wronged and cannot make any appeal.

Furthermore, the police treat sex-workers with an attitude worse than that of the suspects. The police will try to use violence and different ways to humiliate them. For example, we receive complains every month that stripped searches of various extent are done on sex-workers when the police have no sufficient evidence. Recently, the police, jointly with the district council members and media reporters, film the whole process of arresting sex-workers. All of these incidents are very insulting. We also receive complains that the police chatted about their body figures when they are being stripped searched. There were even officers asking for touching the breasts of sex-workers. All these behaviours are inhumane and seriously insulting and are considered as torture by the definition of the convention.

We have often reflected the situation to the police and requested to improve the body search procedure. The response is that advance equipment for body search of different countries is not applicable in Hong Kong and that they will continue to perform stripped search, i.e, to keep on insulting citizens of Hong Kong. We condemn all of the above that violates the human rights convention and is considered as a denial to the principle of Charter of the United Nations and also violates the human rights, basic freedom as declared in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Sex-worker should have the right to work. Everybody has the right to choose their own work. They do not offend the law or bring disorder to the society. They should have the right to work in a safe environment. Under the law, a sex-worker can only work alone in an apartment. This makes them vulnerable and become target of criminals; they may run naked on the street in time of emergency to chase criminals with nobody willing to offer a helping hand. Also, the vice behaviours of the police deter sex-workers to ask for their assistance when they need help. Even when they dare to report to the police, they will handle the case with a bad attitude such that ultimately the girls will give up reporting. In this way, criminals can be at large. Discrimination and unfair treatment make sex-workers work in a helpless environment and no way to get help when they have a problem. Personal security is absolutely not protected at all.

What make the problem worse is that when important events are coming (e.g. Election or National Day), senior officers will exert pressure to their junior to increase the figure of attacking crimes. When the police cannot arrest the real criminals, they will have their hands on the vulnerable sex-workers. Criminals can hide wherever they can but sex-workers can only stay in their work place and wait for the raid of the police. Sex-workers are marginalized in the society. It is easy to file a criminal charge on them by bearing false witness and the voice against this will be minimal. We feel agitated by the ways of the police act towards the sex-workers and severely condemn the police that they intimidate the weak and avoid their real duty in attacking crimes.

Sex-workers should have the basic human rights and working right. We hope that through the Human Rights Day, we can call upon the public to stop discrimination as this will encourage the police and criminals to hurt sex-workers and hope that the general public pay attention to the human rights of sex-worker and fairly treat them.

Zi Teng
6th Dec 2009