Tue, Nov 23, 2010 - Page 2 News List

US urges more labor protection

GOLD STAR:Taiwan received the highest possible rating in the US’ annual report on human trafficking, but a US official said more could be done to help those in need

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

Labor protection should be extended to the 170,000 foreign caregivers and the unknown number of domestic workers in Taiwan to prevent the problem of human trafficking, Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, head of the US Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, said yesterday.

“These workers are among the most vulnerable in Taiwan society, toiling long hours without basic labor protection as simple as a minimum wage or a mandatory day off each week,” CdeBaca said.

The situations that confront these workers and force them into social isolation or to run away from their employers, thus losing their legal status, makes them even more vulnerable to the predation of human traffickers, he said.

CdeBaca met the press before wrapping up his four-day visit to Taiwan, which is part of his fact-finding trip to Asia that also included stops in China, Malaysia and Singapore.

When asked which urgent policies Taiwan should implement to address human trafficking, -CdeBaca pointed to the fact that caregivers and housekeepers remain outside the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法).

In addition to extending legal protections to these foreign workers, CdeBaca said it was also necessary to prosecute employers who abuse domestic employees.

“When somebody deprives another person of their freedom by treating them like a slave, that boss should lose their freedom. So we call upon Taiwanese officials to continue to intensify their -prosecution efforts so that the people who enslave another will face the prison time they deserve,” he said.

Taiwan obtained the highest possible ranking in the US State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report 2010 published in June.

CdeBaca said Taiwan earned this ranking in recognition of its commitment to improving anti--trafficking in a number of areas, adding that the US sought to strengthen cooperation with Taiwan and other countries in fighting the crime.

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