Cablegate: Part One - 2008 Tip Report - Taiwan

DE RUEHIN #0401/01 0802228
P 202228Z MAR 08





E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) This is part one of AIT/T's three-part 2007-8
Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report. The report is presented
according to reftel sections, beginning with paragraph 27 A.
Part one contains Paragraphs 27 A-B. Paragraphs 27 A through
29 D are contained in part two. Paragraphs 29 E through 30 I
are contained in part three.


27 A. Overview of Taiwan's Activities to Eliminate
Trafficking in Persons

Taiwan is a source country for a limited number of women
trafficked to Japan, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
According to the International Criminal Affairs Division of
the National Police Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB),
local "employment agencies" place newspaper advertisements
seeking women willing to work overseas as "public relations"
personnel. According to CIB, many if not all applicants
understand this job description to be a euphemism for
prostitution. The "employment agencies" are front companies
for small-scale brokerage operations, some with connections
to criminal groups in the destination countries. Applicants
are required to pay a small fee, usually less than US$750,
for the broker's help in obtaining a visa and making travel
and employment arrangements.

Most applicants prefer to go to Japan because Taiwan citizens
do not need visas to enter Japan and brokerage fees are
therefore lower. Brokers charge higher service fees to send
women to Australia, the U.K., or the United States, where
some form of visa is required. Prostitution is legal in
Australia. Brokers encourage women under thirty to use
Australia's "working holiday" visa to enter. Brokers
encourage older women to go to Japan, because they are
ineligible for Australia's "working holiday" visa, and cannot
easily obtain American or British tourist or student visas.
CIB confirmed that upon arrival in Japan some women were
forced into prostitution or were subjected to exploitative
working conditions to which they did not consent, including
forced confinement or relocation, confiscation of travel
documents, debt bondage, and withholding of pay. Others were
threatened with bodily harm to prevent them from going to the
local authorities, or denied permission to return to Taiwan.

The CIB officer assigned to the Taiwan Representative Office
in Tokyo is charged with cooperating with Japanese
authorities to identify Taiwanese trafficking victims and
return them to Taiwan. CIB reported that 8 female
trafficking victims were returned to Taiwan in 2007. This is
a decrease over the total 59 women returned to Taiwan during
in 2006. CIB and NIA were unable to provide an official
estimate of the total number of Taiwanese women trafficked to
Japan in recent years.

Taiwan appears to be a source country for a limited number of
women trafficked to the United States. In 2007, AIT's
consular section fraud prevention unit identified more than
100 Taiwanese women (and one man) who traveled to the U.S. in
2006 to work as prostitutes. All were between 23 and 40
years of age. Investigations during 2007-8 by State
Department Diplomatic Security, U.S. local law enforcement,
and the International Criminal Affairs division of Taiwan's
Criminal Investigation Bureau suggest that most of the
participants knew they would be working as prostitutes and
were willing to be transported to the U.S. for that purpose.
However, evidence and testimony collected during these

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investigations also suggest some participants were subjected
to exploitative working conditions in the U.S. to which they
did not consent, including forced confinement or relocation,
confiscation of travel documents, debt bondage, and
withholding of pay. Others were lured to the U.S. by
promises of work in nightclubs, legitimate massage parlors,
or restaurants, where sexual services would be optional, not
required. Upon arrival in the U.S., however, the women were
immediately confined to residential brothels and forced to
service clients. According to CIB estimates, 25 Taiwan women
were trafficked to the U.S. in 2007.

Taiwan is not a transit point for a significant number of
internationally trafficked persons. Taiwan is a transit
point for a small number of PRC citizens seeking to illegally
enter the United States. Taiwan criminal gangs use
fraudulent Taiwan travel documents and Taiwan-operated
vessels to smuggle these illegal PRC immigrants into Taiwan.
Although these illegal aliens are voluntary migrants, some of
them may become trafficking victims as a result of debt
bondage, forced prostitution, or other schemes upon reaching
Taiwan or the United States.

Taiwan is principally a destination country for Southeast
Asian and PRC men and women seeking economic opportunities.
Some of these men and women are trafficked into forced labor
or sexual exploitation. Traffickers also lure women (mostly
from the PRC and Vietnam) to Taiwan with promises of marriage
to Taiwanese men. Sometimes these marriage arrangements are
fraudulent, and the foreign spouses are trafficked into
forced labor or sexual exploitation.

Taiwan's geographic proximity to the PRC and Southeast Asia,
large demand for foreign workers, and lucrative sex industry
provide opportunities for traffickers to exploit victims.
Many female trafficking victims are forced into prostitution.
Both men and women are subjected to forced labor or
involuntary servitude. In many cases, the trafficking
victim's passport will be seized, and he or she may be
subjected to physical abuse or other forms of coercion to
prevent him or her from attempting escape or seeking
assistance from the authorities.

Nearly 360,000 foreign workers and 400,000 foreign spouses
live in Taiwan. These large numbers make it difficult to
obtain reliable estimates of the number of persons being
trafficked within Taiwan.

There is a consensus among government officials and NGOs that
trafficking of minors for prostitution has declined
dramatically since the passage of the 1995 Child and Youth
Sexual Transaction Prevention Act (CYSTPA). According to
women's rights groups involved in rehabilitating girls and
women rescued from Taiwan's sex industry, the number of
trafficking victims under 18 years of age is low. MOI
statistics from 2006 indicate fewer than 650 children were
rescued from prostitution that year; however, NGOs suggest
the actual number of children involved in prostitution is
probably significantly higher. NGOs reported in 2007 a sharp
increase in the number of boys rescued from prostitution.
Many were caught during police investigations of on-line
"social networking" sites suspected of being front operations
for prostitution rings.

The Ministry of Interior (MOI), Ministry of Justice (MOJ),
National Immigration Agency (NIA) (formerly the Immigration
Bureau of the National Police Agency), National Police
Administration (NPA), Council for Labor Affairs (CLA),
academics, human rights groups, women's rights groups and
advocacy groups for foreign labor and foreign spouses are the

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primary sources for information about trafficking in persons.
These sources are all generally reliable and often cooperate
with each other to combat trafficking. These sources agree
that it is extremely difficult to estimate the number of
trafficked persons in Taiwan.

27 B. General Overview and Changes

The majority of Taiwan's population of economic migrants come
from the PRC or from Southeast Asian countries neighboring
Taiwan, particularly Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand,
and Vietnam.

PRC citizens can only legally enter Taiwan to conduct tourism
or business, or to become the spouse of a Taiwan citizen.
PRC citizens are not permitted to work legally in Taiwan,
except in the fishing industry. Taiwan fishing companies are
permitted to hire male PRC nationals to work on Taiwan
fishing boats; however, the PRC workers are not permitted to
enter Taiwan, and must be housed in off-shore accommodations
or in gated dormitories located near their assigned fishing
port. According to the Council of Agriculture Fisheries
Administration, as of late September 2007, 337 PRC fishermen
had fled their legal employment aboard Taiwan fishing boats
to seek more lucrative, but illegal, employment in Taiwan's
construction and manufacturing industries.

Ninety percent of illegal PRC immigrants, male and female,
come from Fujian province, situated only 90 miles across the
Taiwan Strait. Human smuggling groups in Fujian and Sichuan
provinces actively recruit men, women, and girls willing to
work in Taiwan. PRC citizens seeking economic opportunities
may themselves initiate contact with smugglers in furtherance
of finding work in Taiwan. Chinese fishing boats are used to
transport passengers to certain locations in the Taiwan
Strait, where they are transferred to Taiwanese fishing
boats. Smugglers often force their passengers to discard
luggage before boarding, in order to be able to fit more
people into the boats. After landing in Taiwan, most of the
men and some of the women will seek illegal work on the
Taiwan economy. Some women will be delivered to secret
locations, where auctions arranged by sex traffickers will
take place. Brothel operators and others from Taiwan's
commercial sex industry attend the auctions, where they "buy"
women for their illegal operations. After a woman has been
sold, she is transported to a designated workplace, or to an
apartment near the area where she will work.

According to the NIA, of those illegal PRC immigrants
apprehended on Taiwan soil in 2006, 75 percent were found in
northern Taiwan. Seventy-three percent of PRC illegal
immigrants arrested in Taiwan were found after living in
Taiwan six months or less. Almost half of those detained
admitted to performing some kind of temporary labor while in

According to CGA, 409 illegal PRC immigrants, 338 men and 39
women, were arrested in 2007. The number of female illegal
PRC immigrants smuggled by boat continues to drop, CGA
officials say, because smugglers connected to Taiwan's sex
industry are using other channels, including fraudulent
marriages, to circumvent increased coastal patrols.

The Taiwan government acknowledges that fraudulent marriages
are commonly used by traffickers to introduce foreign women
into Taiwan for labor or sexual exploitation. Many women
from China, Vietnam, Indonesia, and other Southeast Asian
countries are willing to marry Taiwan men in hopes of
enjoying Taiwan's higher standard of living, and earning
money to assist relatives back home. Traffickers disguised

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as marriage brokers exploit such motivations, luring many
women to Taiwan with promises of marriage, only to force them
into prostitution or exploitative labor upon their arrival.

Trafficking syndicates in Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and
other Southeast Asian countries also use fake marriages to
circumvent restrictions on certain types of laborers or
laborers from certain countries. For example, while a ban on
Indonesian caregivers was in effect, traffickers used
fraudulent marriages to facilitate the entry of Indonesian
women into Taiwan. The "brides" were promised jobs as
caregivers or domestic helpers and knowingly entered into
false marriages in hopes of securing gainful employment. Some
of them were forced into exploitative labor, while others
were coerced into Taiwan's sex industry.

Taiwan recorded 24,700 marriages to foreign-born spouses in
2007 -- a 3 percent increase over the 2006 total.
Eighty-seven percent of the spousal visas issued in 2007 were
issued to women, and thirteen percent to men. Sixty-one
percent of all spousal visas were issued to citizens of Hong
Kong, Macau, or the PRC. Nineteen percent were issued to
citizens of Vietnam. NIA and CIB sources report that of the
5,321 Vietnam citizens who applied for spousal visas in 2007,
only 3,345 (63 percent) were approved, following the
implementation of more stringent interview and documentation

In some cases, women, particularly from the PRC, knowingly
enter into false marriages in order to work in Taiwan's sex
industry. These women too are often subjected to
exploitative working conditions to which they did not
consent, including forced confinement or relocation, physical
or mental abuse, and unfair withholding of pay.

Some Taiwan men are willing to serve as bogus husbands
because the financial rewards are significant and the risks
relatively minor. Many traffickers solicit mentally or
physically disabled or destitute men to serve as husbands.
Courts often punish such men with fines or sentences of less
than one year. In facilitating a "bride's" residence in
Taiwan, a typical "husband" can receive a free round trip to
the bride's home country and as much as US $1,000 per month
for up to one year, deducted from the bride's earnings as a
prostitute. NGOs told AIT that women who are smuggled to
Taiwan must pay between US $3,500-6,500 in fees to smugglers,
and that local sex or labor traffickers can sell each woman
for between US $5,000-6,000.

Non-PRC citizen foreign spouses can apply for residency
immediately, which entitles them to work legally in Taiwan.
They cannot apply for full citizenship until they have
resided in Taiwan for three consecutive years, and usually do
not obtain citizenship until their fourth year of residence
in Taiwan. PRC spouses are eligible to apply for dependent
resident status after two years, but cannot apply for
permanent residence or permission to work until after six
years in Taiwan. Any foreign spouse without citizenship
risks deportation if he or she divorces or does not live with
his or her Taiwanese spouse. Traffickers use the threat of
deportation to coerce and control women brought into Taiwan
under the guise of marriage.

According to MOI, at the end of 2007 there were nearly
360,000 legal foreign workers in Taiwan, primarily from
Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. Fifty
percent of these workers are employed in the manufacturing
industry, and 45 percent are employed as nursing caregivers
or domestic helpers.

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The Taiwan government grants commercial and private employers
the right to employ a certain number of foreign workers per
year. Larger employers, usually construction and
manufacturing companies, sell these "quotas" to the
highest-bidding brokerage firm, which then recruits foreign
workers to fill the quota, often charging each worker
unlawfully high job placement and brokerage fees. In order
to preserve lucrative relationships with employers, brokers
often help to control troublesome employees through threats,
physical abuse, and other forms of punishment. Brokers also
often help employers to forcibly deport foreign workers --
the employer uses the broker to get rid of the problematic
employee, and the broker benefits by filling the empty quota
with a new foreign worker, who must pay the broker's fees.
The higher the turnover rate for foreign workers, the more
money brokerage firms can make, since each new cycle of
workers can be charged new placement and brokerage fees.

Foreign workers in the industrial and manufacturing sectors,
including construction workers, fishermen, and caregivers
employed by hospitals or other commercial institutions are
covered by the Taiwan Labor Standards Law (LSL). The LSL
prohibits forced labor, establishes limits on premature
contract termination, ensures basic minimum wage and overtime
rates, sets limits on the work-day and work-week, and
mandates daily breaks and minimum time off.

The protections offered by the LSL do not extend to the
160,000 foreign workers employed as private nursing
caregivers or domestic helpers. They are covered instead by
the Employment Services Act (ESA), which does guarantee the
minimum wage but not overtime pay, does not set limits on the
work-day or work-week, and does not provide for minimum
breaks or vacation time. NGOs report many cases of foreign
domestic helpers and nursing caregivers working 16-18 hours
per day, and being given only one day or less per month of
free time. Some employers forbid their employees from
leaving the employer's residence, except on days off. In
this forced isolation, foreign domestic helpers and nursing
caregivers are extremely vulnerable to labor exploitation,
physical and mental abuse, and sexual assault. The ESA does
not afford foreign workers any protection against the
employer's arbitrary termination of their contract. The CLA
in early 2007 imposed a requirement that any early
termination of a contract must be reviewed and approved by a
local Bureau of Labor Affairs (BLA) official before the
termination will be enforced and the worker deported (see

High brokerage fees and other charges frequently turn foreign
workers into virtual indentured servants. According to a
2006 NGO report, foreign workers must pay placement fees,
service fees, and food and boarding charges totaling between
NT $254,000-$433,000 (US $8,200-$14,000) for a three-year
factory or construction job contract. Factory and
construction workers are covered by the LSL and are
guaranteed a minimum monthly salary of NT $17,280 (US $557),
plus overtime. Regular overtime must be paid at 1.33 times
the regular hourly rate for the first two hours of overtime
per day, and for every hour thereafter, special overtime must
be paid at 1.66 times the hourly rate. The average factory
worker earning the minimum monthly salary plus 10 hours of
regular overtime and 10 hours of special overtime per month
would need 11.4 months to pay off average fixed debts of NT
$343,500, leaving no money for himself.

Domestic helpers and nursing caregivers are entitled to NT
$17,280 monthly minimum salary (see below), but typically are
not paid overtime wages, since they are not covered by the
LSL. The same 2006 NGO report indicated that foreign workers

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must pay combined placement, service fees, and food and
boarding charges of between NT $104,000-$293,000 (US
$3,400-$9,500) to secure a three-year domestic helper or
nursing caregiver job. With no prospect of overtime wages,
the average domestic helper or nursing caregiver would need
11.5 months to pay off average fixed debts of NT $198,500,
leaving no money left over for other expenses.

Taiwan regulations allow an employer, with the foreign
worker's consent, to deduct up to 30 percent of the foreign
worker's monthly salary to be placed in a bank account in the
worker's name. The employer holds the bank book and the
worker has no access to this account. The money, which
typically amounts to around NT $3,000 per month, is only
returned to the worker at the completion of his or her
contract. If the company goes bankrupt, the worker loses the
money. This practice is called "forced savings" because if
the worker does not consent to the arrangement, the worker is
often sent home.

Because the debts owed to brokers and employers are so great,
most workers expect to save little or nothing during the
first two years of their contracts. In many cases, the
financial pressure prompts workers to run away from their
broker and employer in order to seek more profitable
employment elsewhere. Workers also flee to escape difficult
or dangerous work, or to escape abuse by the broker or

As of December 2007, a total of 22,533 foreign workers (16
percent) were reported "missing." Of this number, 18,610
missing workers were from Vietnam, 7,174 from Indonesia,
2,855 from the Philippines, 1,658 from Thailand, 4 from
Mongolia, and 1 from Malaysia.

From April 1, 2007 to February 20, 2008, Taiwan authorities
arrested and detained 13,075 foreigners in some form of
illegal work status. Citizens from Vietnam (2,872) and
Indonesia (2,313) comprised the majority of those arrested,
followed by the PRC (1,089), Thailand (634), and the
Philippines (460). Of those arrested, 7,523 were sent to
formal detention centers to await repatriation. The
remaining 5,552 were detained in local-level temporary
detention facilities before being deported.

Foreign workers in Taiwan do not have the right to transfer
to a new employer at will. The ESA authorizes foreign
workers to transfer to a new employer only under certain
conditions: (1) the employer or person to be cared for dies
or departs Taiwan; (2) the vessel on which the worker is
employed sinks, is under repair, or has been seized; (3) the
factory or other work location is shut down, has suspended
busness, or is unable to pay the worker's salary; (4) the
worker can prove he has suffered physical, sexual, or severe
verbal abuse from the employer; (5) the worker reports that
he has been forced by his legal employer to work for an
illegal employer; and (6) after a previous warning from the
government, the employer has forced the worker to again
perform work outside the scope of his work permit or
employment contract, or to work in an unauthorized workplace
("illegal work"). Under new employment transfer rules
implemented in February 2008 (see below), if the losing and
gaining employer agree, a worker can transfer to the new
employer without satisfying the foregoing conditions. If the
worker's legal employer does not consent, however, the
foregoing restrictions may still apply.

Before January 2002, an employee was entitled to an immediate
transfer upon proving that his employer had forced him to do
illegal work. In 2002, Article 72 of the ESA was revised to

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give an employer a chance to correct the illegal work
situation within a specified period. Now, a worker is only
entitled to a transfer (and his employer will only be
punished) after the employer's second illegal work violation.
This puts the foreign worker in a catch-22: a worker
reporting a first violation risks damaging his relationship
with the employer, who can retaliate by canceling the
worker's contract and deporting him. If the worker chooses
not to report the illegal work, he risks being caught by the
police and deported for working illegally (see further
discussion at para. 29 (C), below).

If a foreign worker leaves his or her legal employer for any
reason not authorized by the ESA, the worker automatically
enters "illegal status" and can be subject to immediate
deportation. According to Taiwan officials, foreign workers
in illegal status can earn higher wages from illegal
employers willing to hire them (US $800 per month versus US
$557). By hiring foreign workers in illegal status, illegal
employers can circumvent the foreign worker quota system,
taxes, and other financial burdens the government imposes on
legal employers of foreign workers. Although they may be
able to earn more money, foreign workers in illegal status do
not have a contract, are not protected by the LSL or ESA, and
are not covered by health or labor insurance. Because they
fear deportation, foreign workers in illegal status rarely
report employer misconduct to law enforcement or other
government officials. This makes them extremely vulnerable
to employer abuse, including but not limited to physical or
mental abuse and sexual assault. Some illegal status foreign
workers, desperate for any type of gainful employment, end up
trafficked into forced labor or Taiwan's sex industry.

NGOs reported that foreign workers often fell victim to labor
trafficking -- having contracted to perform one type of work
but forced to perform another type of work upon arrival in
Taiwan. Employers use this tactic to circumvent hiring
limits on certain classes of workers, or workers from certain
countries. Employers and brokers both profit from it:
brokers charge workers more to secure high-wage-plus-overtime
factory jobs than they do for low-wage domestic caretaker
jobs. Employers can pay foreign workers bound by domestic
helper contracts less than those who signed factory worker
contracts. Since they are performing work outside the scope
of their work permits and original contracts, foreign workers
often believe they are in illegal status. Many of these
workers do not report labor trafficking violations to
authorities because they do not know their rights and are
fearful of deportation. Other workers, in debt to brokers
and possibly to the employer, do not wish to lose what
gainful employment they have. In any event, the ESA grants
employers one chance to "cure" certain violations, including
forcing an employee to perform unauthorized work or to work
at an unauthorized location, without penalty (see above). If
the foreign worker reports the violation, he risks
retaliation from the employer, who will likely not be

Taiwan has no law to protect foreign workers from being
forcibly repatriated. Under current laws, an employer can
repatriate foreign workers at any time. NGOs report that
foreign workers who raise concerns or seek legal help are
regularly deported without due process. CLA changed its
regulations to address this problem. Beginning November 1,
2006, employers who wish to terminate a foreign worker's
contract before its expiration date must request and obtain
approval from an appropriate local government labor official.
If the labor official discovers a labor-management dispute,
or that the worker is being forcibly repatriated, the
employer will not be able to recruit a new worker to fill the

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vacancy until the dispute is resolved.

NGOs complain that the government is using the wrong policy
to solve the problem of runaway workers; for example, issuing
a reward of NT$2,000 (US $60) to police officers for the
arrest of each foreign worker found in illegal status. NGOs
contend the NIA, NPA, and local law enforcement continue to
view illegal workers as criminals, without trying to
understand the abusive and exploitative circumstances which
cause many workers to flee their legal employers.

Significant Changes

Dedicated Anti-TIP Budget

In July 2007, the Executive Yuan approved the "Human
Trafficking Prevention Implementation Plan,8 setting aside
NT$390 million (US$12.6 million) for the 2008-2010 period for
the construction and improvement of shelter facilities,
education and training for government officials, and the
expansion of international cooperation to combat trafficking.
From March 2007 to February 2008, the multi-agency task
force charged with overseeing anti-TIP efforts has convened
six times. In late 2007, the task force recommended
increasing funding for the Implementation Plan to NT$690
million (US$22.3 million) to meet anticipated budget needs.

Standard Form Contract

In July 2007 the CLA announced plans to introduce in early
2008 a standard form for all foreign labor contracts, aimed
at preventing brokers from charging excessive brokerage fees.
The form contract will list in detail the types of fees that
can be collected from foreign workers, as well as the working
terms. According to CLA, fees or loans not included in the
form contract would be unenforceable.

NGOs contend that Taiwan courts, following the standard form
contract guidelines, have enforced fraudulent contract terms
against foreign workers. According to NGO sources, after a
foreign worker has paid his or her brokerage fee, the broker
will often refuse to find the worker a job until the worker
agrees to sign a contract which obligates the worker to repay
"loans" which the broker never made.

Increased Minimum Wage

On July 1, 2007, Taiwan raised the monthly minimum wage from
NT$15,840 (US$511) to NT$17,280 (US$557). At the same time,
CLA raised the ceiling on meal and lodging fees that
employers can charge foreign workers from NT$4,000 (US$129)
to NT$5,000 (US$161). CLA asserted foreign workers could
negotiate meal and lodging fees with their employers.
Because foreign workers have no individual or collective
bargaining power, NGOs countered, every employer will impose
the higher fees, reducing the net benefit of the minimum wage
increase by half. NGO and press reports confirm that many
foreign workers have seen the minimum wage increase offset by
increased meal and lodging fees.

According to NGOs, it is difficult for foreign workers to
negotiate the terms of a contract before they arrive in
Taiwan. Moreover, NGOs allege, many foreign workers are on
probation during the first 40 days of their employment. Few
are willing to risk provoking the employer by pushing for
better contract terms, for fear of being summarily deported
within the probationary period. Under Taiwan law, foreign
workers can only join existing unions and cannot form new
ones. Foreign workers are also precluded from holding union
office. Therefore, NGOs contend, in addition to lacking

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individual bargaining power, foreign workers also have little
or no collective bargaining power to demand more favorable
contract terms or working conditions.

Increased Maximum Work Period

On July 13, 2007 CLA increased the maximum time a foreign
worker may work in Taiwan from six to nine years.

Draft TIP Statute Under Review

In October 2007, NIA and MOJ submitted the first draft of a
comprehensive anti-TIP statute to the MOI for review. MOI is
expected to complete its review and amendment process by
April 2008, at which time the draft will go to the Executive
Yuan for review and approval. The Executive Yuan could
approve the statute by June 2008. The draft statute would
then go the LY for consideration. AIT has offered to send
the draft statute to US DOJ's Civil Rights Division for
review and suggestions, but MOJ and NIA have not responded to
this offer.

A coalition of NGOs has been working on its own draft TIP
statute. The NGO version reportedly includes a broader
definition of trafficking, a more complete list of penalties
and punishments, and would require more services to be
provided to trafficking victims.

Labor Standards Law Coverage

In November 2007, CLA announced plans to have all laborers
covered by Taiwan's Labor Standards Law (LSL) by 2009,
including the estimated 163,000 foreign workers employed as
domestic helpers or caregivers. Once covered by the LSL,
domestic helpers and caregivers would be entitled to overtime
pay, mandatory minimum leave, and other benefits. Elder-care
interest groups continue to block efforts to extend LSL
coverage to domestic helpers and caregivers. CLA
acknowledged that extending LSL coverage to these workers
would impose an additional economic burden on their
employers, many of whom were already struggling with the cost
of caring for elderly or infirm family members. NGOs
expressed deep skepticism about the CLA plan, citing CLA's
failure to honor several earlier promises to extend LSL
coverage to domestic helpers and caregivers.

Amended Immigration Law

On November 30, 2007 the Legislative Yuan amended Taiwan's
immigration law to provide additional protections for
trafficking victims. The amendment requires local police and
prosecutors to establish dedicated anti-trafficking units.
Law enforcement agencies must protect trafficking victims'
identities and personal information from public disclosure.
Government agencies must also ensure trafficking victims'
personal safety, and provide them with appropriate housing,
medical and psychiatric care, counseling services,
translation assistance and legal counseling services. If the
victim is a minor, a social worker must be assigned to his or
her case, and must be present during police questioning, all
legal proceedings, and trial.

If a trafficking victim cooperates with prosecutors by
providing testimony or other assistance, the victim shall be
entitled to the protections afforded by Taiwan's Witness
Protection Law. Additionally, such cooperation shall be
considered by prosecutors and judges to reduce or eliminate
the victim's liability for any criminal or administrative
violations. Victims who cooperate with prosecutors are
entitled to receive temporary visas to remain in Taiwan up to

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six months, and can request extensions. However, once the
prosecutor closes the case, the trafficking victim will be
repatriated to his or her home country.

According to the MOI, the amended Immigration Act was
approved by the Executive Yuan (EY) on December 26, 2007.
According to NIA, 37 other laws and regulations need to be
amended before the amended Immigration Act can go into
effect. The EY is scheduled to complete this work by June
2008. At that time, the EY will also decide the date the
amended Immigration Act will go into effect.

For-Profit Marriage Brokerages Banned

The revised immigration law also bans for-profit marriage
brokerage agencies. When the amended Immigration Act goes
into effect, it will prohibit marriage agencies from
advertising their services or asking for fees. The law
provides a one-year period for existing marriage agencies to
wind up their operations. Violators will face fines between
NT$200,000 and NT$1 million (US$6,250-$31,250) for failure to
comply. Non-profit groups will be allowed to arrange
marriages between foreigners and Taiwan residents.

NGOs criticize the new immigration law as providing
inadequate protections for childless foreign spouses who are
victims of domestic violence, who will only be afforded an
extended stay to handle the divorce, not permanent residency.

Direct Hiring Service Center

On January 1, 2008, the CLA opened its first Direct Hiring
Service Center (DHSC) in Taipei. Foreign caregivers working
for local employers can apply to the DHSC to renew their
existing contracts, without paying a broker. If all
documents are in order, the foreign caregiver can depart
Taiwan for his or her home country, obtain a re-entry visa
there, and return to Taiwan to resume work within days. The
simplified procedure replaces a process which typically
required three to eight weeks to complete, plus additional
broker placement fees of NT$30,000-$100,000. CLA intends to
gradually extend the service to factory workers and other
categories of foreign workers. See

Ban On Service Fees Deduction

On January 3, 2008, CLA announced that employers were no
longer permitted to deduct "service fees" payable to labor
brokerage firms from foreign workers' monthly pay. Violators
faced maximum fines of NT$300,000 (US$9,279) and be barred
from hiring foreign workers for two years. Under previous
regulations, labor brokers were barred from collecting
brokerage fees from foreign workers, but were permitted to
collect a "service fee" of NT$1,800 per month for the first
year of the contract, NT$1,700 per month during the second
year, and NT$1,500 per month during the third. Brokerage
firms relied on the employers to deduct and transfer these
fees. On January 28, labor brokerage firms from around
Taiwan protested the change, claiming it threatened their
livelihood. CLA issued a press release stating that labor
brokerages should abide by the law and charge a single,
reasonable brokerage fee to be paid directly by the foreign
worker upon his or her entry to Taiwan. Brokers should not
charge a service fee, the CLA press release added, unless a
service has actually been performed.

Dormitory Safety Requirements

On January 3, 2008, CLA also amended its regulations intended

TAIPEI 00000401 011 OF 012

to ensure that dormitories provided by employers are safe.
The new regulation stipulates that employers who hire foreign
workers for construction, manufacturing, or caretaking work
must submit documents to local government authorities within
three days of the worker's arrival in Taiwan proving that the
worker's lodgings are legally permitted structures.

Simplified Employment Transfer Rules

On February 29, 2008, the CLA simplified the process for
foreign workers seeking to change employers. Under the new
regulations, if the losing and gaining employer and the
foreign worker all agree, the foreign worker can apply
directly to CLA for the transfer to the new employer, without
consulting his or her broker or registering with the local
employment agency. Moreover, in cases where the employer's
misconduct was the basis for terminating the foreign worker's
original contract, only the worker and gaining employer need
agree. Under the old system, foreign workers seeking to
change employers had to first apply to a local employment
center to find a new employer. The worker's broker would be
contacted to locate a new employer. The foreign worker would
be charged additional fees for the broker's services. The
old process would often take 4-8 weeks.

In order to increase hiring opportunities for foreign workers
transferring to new employers, the CLA on February 29 also
lifted restrictions which had prevented workers from shifting
from one industry or geographic region to another.
Transferring workers now also have up to sixty days to find a
new employer before having to depart Taiwan, two weeks longer
than before.

NGOs and academics assert that the government should lift all
remaining restrictions on employment transfers, enabling
foreign workers to leave employers who mistreat them or do
not pay well. NGOs contend that many foreign workers flee
their employers, in violation of immigration and labor laws,
because they cannot bargain for better pay or working

NIA Shelters Approved

Under Taiwan's National Action Plan to combat trafficking,
the Council for Labor Affairs (CLA) is responsible for
providing shelter services to those trafficking victims who
entered Taiwan pursuant to a legal work visa. The National
Immigration Agency (NIA) is responsible for providing shelter
services to those trafficking victims who entered Taiwan via
other legal or illegal means, including but not limited to:
foreign spouses, tourist and business visa overstays, and
illegal immigrants smuggled into Taiwan.

In December 2007, the NIA solicited NGO bids to operate a
shelter for trafficking victims. NIA's solicitation
attracted no bids, NGOs contend, because the budget allocated
by NIA was insufficient to cover expected operating expenses.
Because the NIA did not find an acceptable bidder, the
Legislative Yuan cut shelter funding from the NIA's 2008
budget during the final legislative session of 2007. NGOs
have further criticized the NIA for proposing to locate the
NGO-operated shelter in a refurbished detention facility.
Under the NIA plan, NGOs allege, trafficking victims at the
shelter would be under constant NIA supervision, and denied
privacy or freedom of movement, making the shelter
environment virtually indistinguishable from that of a
detention center.

Paragraphs 27 A-E are contained in Part One. Paragraphs 28 A
through 29 D are contained in Part Two. Paragraphs 29 E

TAIPEI 00000401 012 OF 012

through 30 I are contained in Part Three.

© Scoop Media

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