The Garden of Hope Foundation yesterday launched a job placement program to help young women with financial trouble find appropriate jobs and avoid becoming victims of sexual exploitation or harassment in the workplace.
The foundation said that every year, more than 100,000 girls in the country between 15 and 18 years old have to enter the workforce because of financial pressure. However, countless young women encounter exploitation or sexual harassment in the workplace, with no one to turn to for help.
Yi-en (苡恩, pseudonym) is an example of the thousands of disadvantaged girls who become victims at the workplace. When Yi-en was little, her father died and her mother left the house, never to return.
When her grandmother was diagnosed with cancer, Yi-en had no choice but to quit school and look for a job to support herself.
“When I was looking for a job, I was almost lured into the sex industry because of the money,” she said at a press conference hosted by the foundation.
Fortunately, she later found a job as a dental assistant through the help of the foundation.
Foundation executive director Chi Hui-jung (紀惠容) said that about 64,000 girls are working for employers who pay for their labor insurance, but there are also an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 girls who are exploited by their employers, who do not pay for labor insurance.
“These girls are relatively inexperienced and have few job skills or a limited education background. They are prone to falling victim to tricks and traps in the workplace,” Chi said.
She said the government should not only emphasize higher education, but also take care of the young and disadvantaged by offering more channels for them to take classes to prepare for employment.
She also called for a more comprehensive set of measures to help needy young people find appropriate jobs.
As graduation season nears, the foundation said that young women who are in need of a job can seek help by calling the foundation at 0800-329 580.