The number of people classified as slaves in Hong Kong is one of the highest in Asia, a new report has found. But a group of students hopes their annual fundraising 24-hour relay race can help deal with the issue.
At least 29,500 people are trapped in modern slavery in Hong Kong, one of the 10 richest cities in the world, according to Walk Free Foundation’s Global Slavery Index 2016, which assessed the problem in 167 countries and regions.
The report’s authors defined slavery as “situations of exploitation that a person cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, abuse of power or deception, with treatment akin to a farm animal”.
They said the city’s domestic helpers were the primary group being enslaved, and that Hong Kong authorities weren’t doing much about it.
A group of local and international students have organised a fundraising event called the 24-Hour Race, which will be held on November 19 and 20. The run is a student-led movement involving 24-hour relay races for 15- to 18-year-olds across Asia. The race aims to raise money to end human trafficking and raise awareness of this problem.
Thomas Kim Yoon-sung, South Island School’s team race leader, told Young Post that he enjoys supporting a good cause.
“As a team leader, I have been advocating this cause and looking for volunteers,” the 17-year-old said.
Young Post junior reporter Bakhita Fung, 15, from Island School, is permits and resources manager.
“I believe it will raise awareness of the issue of human trafficking,” she said.
Another 16-year-old junior reporter and the race’s committee member (business development committee) Anirudh Kannan from South Island School, encountered some difficulties in meeting the fundraising target.
“From a business standpoint, the 24-Hour Race has a strong brand presence as well as an excellent network and support system so that definitely makes it easier to attract sponsors. However, our fundraising target for this year is double what it was last year, meaning that we are really stretched as we try and meet this challenging goal – that’s been a particularly difficult aspect of organising the Race, but I’m confident we can meet and even exceed our goal,” said Anirudh.