Eight Taiwanese who were lured to Cambodia with lucrative job offers only to be forced to work illegally were brought home on Sunday night in a joint effort between Taiwanese and Thai authorities, the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) said.
Nine people — six men and three women aged 23 to 42 — boarded China Airlines Flight CI-836 from Bangkok, with assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
They arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 9:55pm and were taken to the Aviation Police Bureau for questioning before entering home isolation in accordance with Taiwan’s COVID-19 regulations.
Photo: Yao Chieh-hsiu, Taipei Times
The Taoyuan District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday said that one of the nine has been detained for alleged involvement with the human trafficking ring.
The Thai government earlier on Sunday notified Taiwan’s representative office that 12 Taiwanese who had entered Thailand from Cambodia were believed to be human trafficking victims, CIB Deputy Director Huang Chia-chi (黃家琦) said.
The office immediately sent staff to investigate and found that three of the Taiwanese were listed as human trafficking victims based on reports received by Taiwanese police, Huang said.
An investigation by the Thai government identified nine of the 12 Taiwanese as victims of human trafficking, while the remaining three are still in Thailand for follow-up investigations, Huang said.
The office, in collaboration with the Thai government, arranged for the nine to return home by activating an emergency assistance protocol for overseas Taiwanese and a human trafficking victim protection mechanism, he said.
Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday said that “it is abominable for foreign fraud rings to target less vigilant young people and deceive them into accepting illegal jobs abroad.”
Law enforcement agencies have taken action to protect Taiwanese from human traffickers, such as stopping Taiwanese at airports before they can board flights to take up suspicious job offers, which is the priority before investigating human trafficking cases, he said, adding that Taiwanese authorities have detained six suspected traffickers.
National Police Agency officials have visited the families of about 4,000 Taiwanese who had left for Cambodia, and have identified 120 people who had traveled there for questionable reasons, Su said.
The government is making efforts to retrieve the remaining victims and pursue the criminal groups, he added.
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