Taiwan and Thailand have discussed the possibility of signing an agreement to jointly combat human trafficking, the National Immigration Agency (NIA) said yesterday at the conclusion of a visit to Thailand by NIA Director-General Hsieh Li-kung (謝立功).
In a meeting between Hsieh and Thai Immigration Bureau Commissioner Wiboon Bangthamai it was agreed that their two agencies should move in the direction of such a pact, but no details were discussed, the agency said.
Taiwan signed a memorandum of understanding with Mongolia in August last year for the two countries to hold joint training sessions and share intelligence on trafficking.
A similar agreement with Thailand would provide an institutional basis for mutual legal assistance in the fight against human trafficking, Hsieh said last week.
Hsieh was on a five-day visit to Thailand to update officials on Taiwan’s efforts to counter human trafficking and terrorism.
In his meeting with Bangthamai, Hsieh discussed a security system that was launched last year that allows immigration officers to screen passenger information in advance to help prevent terrorist attacks.
Hsieh also said one of the ways to prevent human trafficking is to develop policies that would require coordination among labor brokers, workers and employers.
Some Thai workers in Taiwan recruited by labor brokers have become victims of human trafficking because of poor coordination between the three sides, he said.
Hsieh also visited the Thai National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Thai office of Transparency International, a global anti-corruption organization.
He suggested that governments join forces with non-governmental organizations and civic groups to fight corruption and improve education on anti-corruption issues at the primary and secondary schools.
Taiwan was listed as a “tier 1” country in the US Department of State’s latest Trafficking in Persons Report.
As of the end of last year, there were 67,803 Thai workers and 8,262 Thai spouses in Taiwan. The number of trips in and out of the country by Thai nationals last year totaled 177,773.