Taiwan maintained its Tier 1 ranking for the eighth consecutive year in the 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report issued June 27 by the U.S. Department of State.
The country fully meets the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking, the report stated, with the Republic of China (Taiwan) government demonstrating serious and sustained efforts in prosecuting offenders and raising public awareness of all forms of trafficking.
Of the 36 Tier 1 countries, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea are the only four in Asia-Pacific. Neighboring Japan and Singapore are Tier 2, Hong Kong is on the Tier 2 Watch List and mainland China is downgraded to Tier 3.
The report found that in 2016, Taiwan conducted 134 trafficking investigations, initiated 128 prosecutions and obtained 56 convictions. In addition, 263 victims were identified and 240 of these referred to shelters. The country also enacted new regulations requiring standard employment contracts and benefits for foreign nationals hired abroad as fishermen.
But the value of Taiwan's Human Trafficking Prevention and Control Act as a deterrent was called into question by the report given the majority of prosecutions were made under other laws and jail terms were less than 12 months.
In response, the National Immigration Agency under the Ministry of the Interior welcomed the ranking and said it underscores the effectiveness of the government's four-pronged anti-trafficking strategy: prevention, prosecution, protection and partnership. Great importance is attached to the report's recommendations, many of which will be addressed at an international workshop on combating human trafficking set to take place next month in Taipei City, the NIA added.
Echoing these remarks, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the government will continue working with U.S. authorities to combat human trafficking under the memorandum of understanding on exchanging and disseminating relevant information signed by the NIA and U.S. Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center in 2014.
Source: Taiwan Today