Hong Kong man arrested for human trafficking

October 31, 2013

Visareporter Hong Kong News

A recent incident where a Hong Kong citizen forced his maid to travel abroad with him has opened up a wide discussion on the issue of human trafficking. The outcome of the incident has seen a rather curious scenario develop, wherein Hong Kong holidaymakers could find themselves open to arrest over charges of human trafficking. With the incident’s conclusion resulting in such an arrest, it seems that any Hong Kong holidaymaker traveling to Canada would be advised to not take their maid against their will. 

The convicted Hong Kong citizen is called Franco Orr Yiu-kwan, and he was convicted of human trafficking, after forcing his maid, Leticia Sarmiento, to travel with him to Canada. He was jailed for 18 months for bringing his maid with his family on the holiday trip. 

The police officer involved with the conviction stated: "If someone is forcing a person to travel internationally against their will and under threats of any kind, they will be investigated and potentially prosecuted as this would constitute an offence in Canada". 

The officer added that the onus of securing a visa for a maid is always on the employer, not the maid. This could see many Hong Kong citizens falling foul of the law if they do not practice due caution when they travel abroad with their staff. 

Essentially, Mr. Orr both arranged for the visit to Canada to take place and completely arranged for the maid, and also threatened her as part of his coercion of here to go on the trip. This represents human trafficking. While Sarmiento was in Canada, her visa expired, according to Orr and his wife. 

This does leave many things open to question, not least the idea that a Hong Kong citizen could find himself or herself in serious trouble with the law if he or she does not have a maid working with them under proper visa regulations. 

Mr Orr’s wife was also arrested, but later released without charge.

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