Nov 30, 2011

Taiwan: New Agreements Expected to Combat Human Trafficking

The National Immigration Agency (NIA) has entered into negotiations with several Southeast Asian countries to bolster its cooperative anti-trafficking program. NIA recently brokered an agreement with Mongolian authorities that allows for information sharing and joint personnel training.

Below is an article published by Taiwan News:

Taiwan plans to sign agreements with several countries in the first half of next year [2012] to jointly combat human trafficking, according to the head of the National Immigration Agency (NIA). The agency is negotiating memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with countries in Southeast Asia and elsewhere, NIA Director-General Hsieh Li-kung said in a recent interview with CNA. However, he declined to name the countries. The signing of such MOUs is part of the Taiwan government's effort in recent years to fight human-trafficking, a crime that Hsieh said needs to be tackled through cooperative global efforts.

Taiwan signed an agreement with Mongolia in August [2011] that allows the two countries to hold joint training of personnel and to share intelligence on trafficking crimes. It could serve as deterrent to potential human trafficking offenders if they know that they may be caught in another country, Hsieh said. The NIA is also working with non-government organizations in Taiwan and abroad to crack down on human trafficking, he said. For example, the NIA is funding the Taiwan branch of ECPAT, an international group designed to end commercial exploitation of children, he said.

Human trafficking issues came under the spotlight in Taiwan recently after CNN reported the story of a Taiwanese woman in the United States who was allegedly a victim of human trafficking. The story, which was reported on CNN's Freedom Project in mid-November [2011], led to a visit to the U.S. by Foreign Minister Timothy Yang to meet with the woman. He offered to help the woman return to Taiwan if she wished. The 30-something woman, whose real name is believed to be Ho Hsiao-feng, was reportedly sold by her impoverished parents into slavery at the age of seven to a wealthy Taiwanese family that later moved to California. She is believed to have escaped from the family when she was in her 20s and now has her own apartment and babysits for a living.