Thu, Jul 12, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Holiday project focuses on sex crimes, trafficking

STAYING SAFE With the summer holiday in full swing, school students are vulnerable to criminals' wiles, said prosecutors at the launch of a new awareness campaign

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

As part of a summer vacation awareness campaign, the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office yesterday joined forces with several civic groups to launch a publicity drive against sex crimes, abuse of women and children and human trafficking.

School students, who have been on summer vacation since earlier this month, could very likely become victims of such crimes, said Wu Yung-ta (吳永達), a probation officer.

"We want our children to grow up happy and safe, and we hope to completely wipe out sex-related crime very soon," Minister of Justice Morley Shih (施茂林) told a news conference in front of the district prosecutors' office yesterday.

To fight human trafficking, the prosecutors' office has appointed prosecutors to specialize in human trafficking cases, Head Prosecutor Sun Chih-wei (孫冀薇) told the press conference.

Sun, who is one of these prosecutors, spoke about two cases that she has worked on.

In one case, a young woman from China was brought to Taiwan under the guise of a fake marriage. While she was here, she was kept in a small hotel and all her ID documents were confiscated by the traffickers, Sun said.

In addition to a trafficking fee of around NT$300,000 (US$9,000), she also had to pay a NT$30,000 monthly fee to her fake husband, who forced her into prostitution to pay off her debts, Sun said.

In another case, a young student was sold into prostitution by a "friend" that she met online, Sun said.

"To end this kind of sexual exploitation, we have to report such crimes and refuse to make use of prostitutes," Sun told the press conference.

After the press conference, a team of volunteers that included some former victims and minor offenders went on to distribute flyers in Ximending, a popular shopping district in Taipei, Wu said.

One of the volunteers was Aska Yang (楊宗緯), a popular figure among fans of a local TV singing contest.

Yang was found guilty last month of forging a copy of his ID card to appear five years younger than his real age, and had been sentenced to 60 hours of community service.

His appearance yesterday was part of his community service and helped to draw more media and public attention to civic problems.

Groups taking part in the campaign include the End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes group, the Taipei Association for Probation Volunteers, the Association for the Protection of Victims of Criminal Acts and the Taiwan After-Care Association.

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