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Justice Without Borders

Cross-border justice for migrant workers

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Lawyers in Herbert Smith Freehills' Hong Kong, Singapore and Jakarta offices proudly support the cross-border access to justice work of Justice Without Borders (JWB). JWB empowers migrant workers who are victims of labour exploitation and human trafficking to seek compensation from their abusers, even after returning home.

In addition to providing financial support, we have taken on compensation claims for individual domestic workers, prepared strategic research, and contributed to training manuals. Recently volunteer members of the Hong Kong Disputes team trained a group of caseworkers supporting workers from Philippines who are living and working in Hong Kong. The trainees discussed specific case studies with the HSF litigators, with the goal of developing strategies to deal with issues they commonly encounter. Similar training sessions have taken place in Manila for the benefit of  foreign domestic workers who have returned home to the Philippines, and in Jakarta, Singapore and Hong Kong for caseworkers helping workers from Indonesia.

Recently JWB has seen a significant increase in casework, reporting 49 cases developed on behalf of migrant workers with civil claims in its most recent report. It also pursued litigation in Hong Kong courts on video conferencing for victims abroad, developed partnerships with six branches of Indonesia's largest union for migrant workers, and trained more than 240 caseworkers, paralegals and lawyers with the tools to facilitate cross-border civil claims for migrant workers. JWB also signed its first major agreement with a national government, with the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to provide case support services to their diplomatic missions abroad.