‘Slave labor’ ring raided, Indonesian workers rescued

Staff writer, with CNA

Wed, Dec 23, 2015 - Page 4

The mastermind of a gang that hired illegal foreign workers and his accomplices have been arrested and 28 Indonesians have been rescued, the National Immigration Agency said yesterday.

After being tipped off late last year, the agency began a surveillance operation and at the end of last month, 120 agents conducted simultaneous raids in Changhua, Nantou, Yunlin and Chiayi counties as well as Taichung.

Police investigators said a 50-year-old man surnamed Huang (黃) was the group’s mastermind, and reportedly lured seven Indonesian men and 21 women from their employers by promising them monthly wages of more than NT$20,000 (US$604).

They were taken to central and southern Taiwan to plant saplings and flowers, work at fish, pig or chicken farms and factories or serve as caregivers, but were treated little better than slaves, the police said.

Some of the women were reportedly forced into prostitution.

The gang reportedly deducted “fees” from the Indonesians’ salary, often leaving them with only about NT$6,000 per month. If they asked for time off, they lost NT$1,000 per day.

The Indonesians were housed in a small corrugated steel shed.

Police said that Huang ran illegal brokerage rings for about 10 years and earned about NT$10 million.