Mei-Chuan Wang (right), section chief of Taiwan’s Chiayi County Police Bureau, Foreign Affairs Section, and Dr. Jay Sailey, interpreter, in a July 25, 2008 meeting with BPSOS. To learn more about the developing relationship with Taiwan’s anti-trafficking leaders, click here.
January 14, 2008: This month’s passage of Taiwan’s ground-breaking anti-human trafficking law represents a great step forward in harnessing the ideas and experiences of the nonprofit sector for the fight to end modern-day slavery in Asia. In the run-up to the new law’s passage, BPSOS executive director Nguyen Dinh Thang sent a letter to the head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States. Included in the letter were ideas for sharpening the language of the draft legislation, including many that appeared in the final law.
In terms of victim protection, the letter suggests reinforcing the points intended to “ensure that assets confiscated from the traffickers go towards restitution for the victims as first priority.” The letter also suggest the importance of “provid[ing] for the local resettlement in Taiwan of victims who may face great danger if returned to their countries of origin,” since “the current policy is to work with local NGOs in those countries to facilitate reintegration … will work only if there is no involvement of criminal syndicates or government officials in trafficking.”
The letter also brings attention to the need for “substantive measures to prosecute the traffickers, including a comprehensive list of specific punishments commensurate with the gravity of the crimes committed, “ as well as “ensur[ing] that law enforcement covers extra-territorial trafficking activities.”
The letter of response from the head of Taiwan’s representative office, Jason C. Yuan, thanks Dr. Thang and states that the letter’s contents have been forwarded to the appropriate authorities in Taiwan. The letter also states the author’s interest in “working with you and other partners to end human trafficking in Asia and beyond.”
As an indication that the ideas of BPSOS and other NGOs were well-received by the Taiwanese government, the new law covers (1) victim restitution using confiscated assets of the traffickers, (2) heavy sentences against the traffickers, (3) permanent residency for victims facing danger if repatriated, and (4) prosecution for trafficking crimes committed by Taiwanese overseas.
This enormous step towards creating effective legal frameworks to combat human trafficking in Asia is heartening for advocates at BPSOS headquarters, our branch offices, and around the globe. We’re grateful to all of the staff, partners, and community leaders whose ideas and continued support make it possible for BPSOS to engage successfully in this work.