Fri, Aug 18, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Author clarifies criticism of US trafficking report


A government critique of a US Department of State report on human trafficking in Taiwan was based on last year's version of the annual report, and not on this year's, the critique's chief author said yesterday.

A study by the US' Government Accountability Office (GAO) criticizing the State Department's methodology was detailed yesterday by the Taipei Times ("Report Puts US' Sex-Trade Rebuke of Taiwan in Doubt," page 1).

The article reported that the GAO study was based on this year's report.

However, the chief author of the GAO study, Thomas Melito, said yesterday that it was based primarily on last year's report. He said that the GAO looked at this year's report, but not in as much detail as the earlier report, after comments were made by agencies mentioned in the GAO study.

The GAO study criticized the politicization of process by which the state department chose to categorize countries' efforts to combat human trafficking.

Many of the criticisms made of Taiwan in last year's report were repeated in this year's report. For instance, the reports in both years concluded that, "Taiwan authorities do not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, they are making significant efforts to do so."

Taiwan was placed on the Tier 2 Watch List this year because it "failed to show evidence of increasing efforts" to address trafficking, wording absent from last year's report.

Last year's report also placed somewhat greater emphasis on trafficking to Taiwan from China, as opposed to from Southeast Asia.

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