Jul 30, 2015

Taiwan: Anti-Human Trafficking Efforts Praised

For the sixth year in a row, the US State Department awarded Taiwan with the highest rank of Tier 1 for its efforts in combating human trafficking and promoting human rights.

Below is an article by Focus Taiwan:

An American representative in Taiwan praised Taiwan on Wednesday for its efforts in combating human trafficking and noted the importance of international cooperation in eradicating this type of criminal behaviour.

The U.S. Department of State's 2015 Trafficking in Persons report gave Taiwan the highest possible ranking of Tier 1 for the sixth consecutive year, said Brent Christensen, deputy director of the Taipei office of the American Institute in Taiwan.

"As there are only four places in the Asia-Pacific region to obtain the Tier 1 ranking, Taiwan stands out as a regional and global leader for its efforts to prevent human trafficking, protect victims and prosecute offenders," Christensen said at the opening of a three-day anti-human trafficking international workshop in Taipei.

He said trafficking is a US$150 billion criminal enterprise and "a transnational issue that we must work together to address."

"We welcome Taiwan's engagement with the U.S. and other international partners as we work together to eradicate this modern-day slavery," Christensen said on the first day of the workshop, which will also include field trips and other activities.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who also attended the workshop, said heavy penalties and better law enforcement is the reason that Taiwan has been able to obtain a Tier 1 listing in the U.S. report for the past six years.

He expressed hope that Taiwan would become a regional and global leader on the issue.

"The Republic of China is a country that emphasizes human rights. If we perform well in this area, we will win more respect," Ma said.

Taiwan has so far signed 14 agreements with other countries to jointly combat human trafficking. In 2015 alone, agreements have been inked with Guatemala, Swaziland and Nauru, Interior Minister Chen Wei-zen (陳威仁) said.

Taiwanese authorities also cracked 138 cases of labor and sex trafficking last year, Chen added.

Organized by the National Immigration Agency, the International Workshop on Strategies for Combating Human Trafficking features speakers from the United States, Britain, Thailand and other countries.

Speakers are giving talks on topics including labour exploitation of migrant workers, sex tourism, and child and adolescent sex exploitation.