Fri, Oct 10, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Officials crack down on human trafficking ring

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The National Immigration Agency (NIA) recently cracked down on a Taiwanese human trafficking ring that was smuggling children from China to the US using passports purchased from Taiwanese parents.

The Border Affairs Corps said in a statement issued on Wednesday that information provided by the US showed that illegal Chinese immigrants who were arrested had US visas in passports supplied by a Taiwanese human trafficking ring, headed by a man surnamed Lin.

In its investigation, the agency discovered that the crime ring had bought the identity of Taiwanese children from parents who were in financial difficulty.

Using the Taiwanese IDs, the human traffickers acquired Republic of China passports by means of a legal loophole that allows a representative to apply for a passport and US visa for Taiwanese under the age of 14.

The statement said that 20 Taiwanese, including 10 parents from Kaohsiung, were found to have provided IDs to the human trafficking ring.

The parents sold their children’s IDs for NT$90,000 each, the agency said.

The investigators had discovered that the crime ring employed the strategy seven times in the first half of this year, smuggling 18 children to the US.

The agency said it was the largest human trafficking ring it had ever busted. It said it had taken action to fix the loophole and it urged parents not to risk their children’s future for small sums of money.

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