Taiwan has made "moderate progress" in combating human trafficking since it was put on the Special Watch List in June 2006, according to an interim assessment released by the US State Department.
The assessment evaluates the performance of 39 countries placed on the Special Watch List in the department's 2006 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report published last June.
In last year's report, Taiwan was placed on the "Tier 2 Watch List" for failing to show evidence of increased efforts over the past year to address human trafficking, particularly forced labor and sexual servitude among legal Southeast Asian contract workers and brides.
According to the 2007 Interim Assessment, Taiwanese authorities failed to prosecute any offenders for trafficking for forced labor or domestic servitude, despite evidence of a significant problem among the 350,000 Thai, Indonesian, Vietnamese and Filipino workers in Taiwan. It said Taiwanese authorities failed to make progress in developing a system to identify and protect foreign workers subjected to conditions of forced labor or involuntary servitude.
However, it mentioned significant improvements made by the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) in policies and regulations governing the terms and conditions of work for foreign laborers in Taiwan. These include bilateral agreements reached with Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam to allow foreign domestic workers to apply directly to the CLA for work instead of going through Taiwanese labor brokerage agencies known for their exploitative practices, the report said.
Meanwhile, in an effort to prevent trafficking of women through sham marriages, the Ministry of the Interior has banned the registration of new international marriage brokers based in Taiwan and strengthened regulations and monitoring of existing firms. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also tightened the screening of Southeast Asian women applying for visas as "brides" of Taiwanese men, the report said.
Adapted from: "Taiwan making progress on human trafficking, says US." taipeitimes.com, 21 January 2007.
Source: UNIAP Thailand
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