TAIPEI-- Taiwan is currently the world’s biggest transfer center for human trafficking, according to the Trafficking in Persons Report issued by the U.S. Department of State.
However, people still lack due understanding for the issue. The Garden of Hope Foundation plans the first anti-human trafficking documentary exhibition to encourage people make efforts together to combat human trafficking.
According to the US government’s estimation, around 600,000 to 800,000 people are being trafficked each year in the world.
Victims of human-trafficking add up to 27,000,000, half of which happened in Asia. In Taiwan, illegal foreign workers amount to 140,000, of whom over 9,000 are Mainland and foreign women living by prostitution and many are treated unfairly.
Since 2004, due to increase of human traffic, imprisonment of victims at Jinglu and Thailand workers’ riot at Gaoxiong, Taiwan was reduced to lower grade in international human rights situation by the U.S. Department of State. (first grade in 2004, second grade in 2005, the Tier 2 Special Watch List in 2006)
Vice Director of (America in Taiwan) AIT office in Taipei Robert S. Wang says that he hopes people become more concerned with human trafficking through this exhibition.
The Taiwanese government has already started to make regulations and laws concerning this issue.
For instance, the Legislative Council set up the anti-human trafficking system across several departments. It is hoped that the documentary exhibition will promote people’s awareness about this problem and the numerous victims.
The director of Trafficking in Persons Report Brad Parker says that he acknowledged the efforts made by the Taiwanese government, police and NGO to address human-trafficking over the last one and a half year while he was working in Taiwan. Prevention, protection and prosecution are all essential to solve this problem.
Executive of Vietnamese Migrant Workers & Brides Office Peter Hung addressed on special cases of labor exploitation and sexual exploitation. Nurses in Taiwan elders’ houses and hospitals are paid less than they ought to get.
Sexually invaded and controlled women are seen by police as criminals rather than victims when they try to flee away. It is necessary for the Taiwan government and non-government organizations to work together to help victims of human traffic.
Women trafficking is a very serious problem in Taiwan, commented Antonia Chao, Associate Professor from Department of Sociology of Tunghai University.
People should ask why Taiwan needs mainland women to come to be sex workers, he said. A more direct dialogue is needed to solve this problem between governments of China Mainland and Taiwan.
Besides, human trafficking is a serious global human rights issue. The traffickers generally form an international organization to lie to people that they will get big opportunities of earning big money and a bright future.
However, after reaching the destination, the victims are insolated and forced to be prostitutes and forced labors under the threat of violence, confiscation of passports, etc. Most of their earnings are snatched away and they are sold and resold again and again like goods.
The Chairman of The Garden of Hope Foundation Ji Huirong emphasizes that anti human trafficking is not only the responsibility of the government but also a human rights problem everyone should heed.
In the light of globalization, more and more foreigners come to live in Taiwan; some of them are mistreated due to the lack of legal protection and people’s misunderstanding of their situation. The Garden of Hope Foundation sincerely invites people to come to this exhibition to join in upholding human rights.
The first anti-human trafficking documentary exhibition is to be held at the central auditorium of No.1 students’ activity center of Taiwan University from Oct. 2 thru Oct. 4. It is free for those who enter 30 minutes before the exhibition begins.
Movies from US, Europe, Australia and Taiwan will be displayed, consisting of different sessions, namely "Trafficking of International Sexual Workers", "Trafficking of International Migrated Labors" and "How to Take Actions".
After the show, there will be seminars hosted by expert to lecture on the current situation of human trafficking in Taiwan and the actions that have been taken.
For further information, please visit the website: http://www.goh.org.tw.
[Editor's note: Ian Huang in Taipei contributed to this article.]