Tue, Jul 30, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Combating human trafficking focus of Taiwan-US seminar

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Officials from the US Department of State’s Bureau of diplomatic Security and the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Custom Enforcement are taking part in a seminar in Taipei with National Immigration Agency officials and judicial personnel.

The two-day seminar at the Taipei Howard hotel, which began yesterday, is part of efforts to curtail human trafficking between the two nations.

Judges, officials from district prosecutors’ offices and Central Police University professors are also attending the seminar, along with representatives from non-governmental organizations.

National Immigration Agency Director-General Hsieh Li-kung (謝立功) said that the agency had organized the seminar so that government agencies could learn from their US counterparts as part of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration’s efforts to improve human rights protection since the nation ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The two covenants were signed in 1967 by then-Republic of China (ROC) representative to the UN Liu Kai (劉鍇), but the treaties remained un-ratified after the UN adopted Resolution 2758 in 1971, which recognized the People’s Republic of China as “the only legitimate representative of China to the United Nations.”

Former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) administration finally ratified the treaties in 2009, but the UN rejected the notification in line with Resolution 2758.

In his opening speech to the seminar, American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Christopher Marut said Taiwan has achieved improvements in the protection of victims, and prevention and prosecution of human trafficking cases over the past few years, thanks to the Human Trafficking Prevention Act (人口販運防制法).

He noted that Taiwan has been at the top of a ratings list compiled by the State Department on various countries’ efforts to crack down on human trafficking for four years in a row.

Taiwan has increased the penalties for human traffickers and has also stepped up the training of front-line police personnel, prosecutors, and judges, Marut said, adding that the government has also increased the number of hotlines for people to report suspected human trafficking cases.

The seminar is an important event in Taiwan’s continued efforts to thwart human trafficking rings, he said.

Hsieh said his agency would seek to improve its effectiveness by utilizing government and civilian resources.

US Immigration and Custom Enforcement prosecutor Melissa Coffey gave a presentation on an analysis of the newest methods of human trafficking, the exploitation of children and the Internet.

She said the US has legalized prosecution against those who disseminate child pornography across the Internet, which is punishable by prison terms of between five and 20 years.

Victims of human trafficking come from many different nations, and the US needs other countries’ help in investigating cases, she said.

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