South China Morning Post
31 December 2016
Abuse of prostitutes is on the rise and police officers are mostly responsible, according to the city’s main non-profit organisation that cares for the rights of women.
Zi Teng, which offers support for prostitutes, this year received 615 reports of physical and verbal abuse relating to both police and clients, up from 225 in 2015. The most serious cases, concerning clients, included grievous bodily harm, rape, robbery and fraud.
Police were reported on 490 occasions for a catalogue of alleged abuses, including 225 cases of arbitrary arrest, when sex workers were not told why they were being held, and 100 cases of excessive licence checks, when they were approached and questioned several times on the same day.
Other allegations against officers included forcing women to carry out free sexual services (11 cases), provide free massage services before arresting them (17), making verbal threats and insults (57), carrying out indecent assaults (three) and physically assaulting them (three).
Puja Kapai, director of the Centre for Comparative and Public Law at the University of Hong Kong, said the latest figures suggested workers faced rising levels of abuse, but emphasised that they may also reflect an increased awareness to report violence.
“It is fair to say the situation looks like it is getting worse,” she said. “But I would want it to be made clear whether this was linked to the increasing visibility of gender-based reporting about violence.
“It may have something to do with more Legislative Council discussions about this issue as well.
“It may also be that people are more likely to speak to Zi Teng now and to report these incidents.”... Click here to read the full article.