A new alliance composed of 11 civic groups yesterday called for the passage of a law to address the problem of human trafficking.
The Alliance Against Human Trafficking, which includes groups such as the Women’s Rescue Foundation, the International Campaign to End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism-Taiwan and the Garden of Hope Foundation, was officially launched yesterday.
The first task of the alliance is to push for long-needed special legislation to safeguard against human trafficking, the group said.
“Many criminal organizations in Taiwan are exploiting economically disadvantaged women, children and immigrant workers for labor or prostitution,” said Hsieh Li-kung (謝立�?a professor at the Central Police University’s Department of Border Police.
Given the severity of human trafficking, Taiwan was placed on the Tier 2 watch list of the US Department of State’s human trafficking report last year.
Kao Hsiao-ching (高小晴), executive director of the Women’s Rescue Foundation, spoke of some of the cases she has handled.
An elementary graduate nicknamed Hsiao-hui (小惠) traveled to Taipei believing she would work as an apprentice at a hair salon. She only learned after getting off the train in Taipei that she had been sold into prostitution by her mother for NT$300,000.
“Our existing laws are insufficient to deal with the increasing number of human trafficking cases. We also don’t provide enough protection to human trafficking victims,” Hsieh said.
Protection for foreign victims of human trafficking is especially lacking, since they are often judged as violating the Immigration Law (出入國及移民法) and treated as illegal immigrants, not victims.
The alliance publicized its draft bill on human trafficking, which proposes establishing a victims’ protection network and penalties for labor and sexual exploitation and organ harvesting.