A Taiwanese woman who was identified by the pseudonym “Isabel” in a CNN Freedom Project report on human slavery in November last year arrived in Taiwan on a flight from Los Angeles yesterday evening for a family reunion.
The woman, who was later confirmed to be Ho Hsiao-feng (何曉鳳), originally from Taitung, was accompanied by two of her friends on her way home. Taipei-based China Airlines reportedly gave the trio business-class tickets for the trip to Taiwan.
Ho, wearing a blue wool hat and scarf and holding a newly issued Republic of China passport, tried to maintain a low profile as she made her way through Los Angeles International Airport on Tuesday, declining to answer any questions. She was fast-tracked through immigration.
CNN reported in November that “Isabel” was abused by her adoptive parents after she was taken to the US and that she managed to flee the family with the help of her friends. She has since received assistance from a US social welfare organization.
The CNN report drew attention in both Taiwan and the US.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) met with Ho late last year during a transit stop in Los Angeles on his way to El Salvador. Afterward, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Los Angeles helped Ho obtain a Republic of China passport to facilitate her trip home.
TECO officials said that she would attend the wedding of her younger sister, Ho Hsiao-ying (何曉英), and return to Los Angeles after the Lunar New Year holiday.
Ho Hsiao-feng was adopted by a family in Taipei 26 years ago when she was seven years old. She returned to her hometown, Tawu township (大武), once in July 1994 for a brief stay when her father died. She then emigrated to the US along with her adopted family in 2002.
In related news, police in Greater Kaohsiung on Tuesday asked the media to help find the parents of a woman who was abandoned by her mother on a Kaohsiung street about 30 years ago and was eventually brought up in the US.
Hung Hsiao-mei (洪筱梅), who has a stable job and a secure life in the US, was abandoned by her mother in 1982 or 1983 when she was less than two years old, police said.
A woman who was asked by Hung’s mother to mind the child for a short time took the baby girl to a Red Cross Nursery Center after realizing that the mother would not return for the girl, police said.
Hung stayed at the nursery center for more than a year, before -being adopted by a US couple who took her to a new life the US, police said.
However, she always dreamed of finding her roots in Taiwan and has kept in close contact with Chan Ssu-tsung and Hung Chiung-hua, the superintendent and director of the nursery center, in the hope that one day she would be able to track down her parents.