Thu, Jun 21, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan maintains listing in US trafficking report

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan retained its “Tier 1” listing on the US’ anti-trafficking report this year, which shows the government’s efforts to prevent and crack down on human trafficking have earned international recognition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

Taiwan and South Korea were the only East Asian countries to receive the report’s highest rating, which is given to “countries whose governments fully comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s [TVPA] minimum standards.”

Taiwan moved to Tier 1 in 2010 and has retained this position for three consecutive years.

According to the US Department of State’s Web site, “a Tier 1 ranking indicates that a government has acknowledged the existence of human trafficking, made efforts to address the problem, and complies with the TVPA’s minimum standards.”

The ministry said it would continue to work with other government agencies, civic groups and international organizations to enhance global mechanisms for international cooperation in the area of human-trafficking prevention.

The annual report contained a one-and-a-half-page description of the situation in Taiwan, in which the case of Taiwanese diplomat Jacqueline Liu (劉姍姍) pleading guilty to labor fraud charges in the US in November last year was highlighted.

The case was mentioned in the section of “prosecution of trafficking offenders,” one of the three approaches the US uses to human trafficking, along with “protection of trafficking victims” and “prevention of new incidents of trafficking.”

Liu, the then-director-general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Kansas City, Missouri, was arrested by the FBI on Nov. 10 and charged with labor contract fraud in connection with her mistreatment of two Filipino housekeepers.

She pleaded guilty on Nov. 18, with a US court statement saying she admitted to fraudulently entering into employment contracts with the two maids, paying them significantly less than the contractual amount and forcing them to work excessive hours.

Ministry spokesman Steve Shia (夏季昌) said Liu’s case did not affect the nation’s ranking because it was “personal behavior” and an “isolated case.”

However, the US Department of State said in the report that it was a case involving a Taiwanese official.

On May 26, the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office closed the case and described it as a civil dispute because insufficient evidence was presented to support criminal charges against Liu.

Additional reporting by CNA

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