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Cablegate: Taiwan Actively Tackles Tip Challenge

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 TAIPEI 001751

SIPDIS

STATE PASS AIT/W

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV TW ASEC TIP
SUBJECT: TAIWAN ACTIVELY TACKLES TIP CHALLENGE

REF: A. TAIPEI 1512
B. TAIPEI 1434

1. (SBU) Action request: see paragraph 10.

2. (SBU) Summary. Since AIT and G/TIP's November 2004 visit,
Taiwan immigration authorities have demonstrated at both the
Hsinchu and Ilan Detention Centers that they have adopted a
comprehensive screening process for trafficking in persons
(TIP) victims and are providing counseling and proper
protection services to the women. Authorities are developing
mechanisms to allow TIP victims to cooperate safely with
prosecutors in identifying traffickers and they are also
working with NGOs and legislators in the Legislative Yuan
(LY) to draft a comprehensive anti-trafficking law and hold a
TIP training session in June and a TIP conference in August.
Taipei has asked for USG assistance in providing TIP training
and support to law enforcement authorities. The government
is also providing protection services to women from Southeast
Asia who have been victimized by false marriages to Taiwan
men. Steps taken by the Taiwan government in response to AIT
requests appear to have brought Taiwan into compliance with
Tier I TIP standards. AIT believes that Taiwan has
demonstrated a clear, high level commitment to establishing
itself as a model for the region in the field of protecting
trafficking victims. End summary.

Visit to Ilan Reaffirms Taiwan's TIP Policy
-------------------------------------------

3. (SBU) AIT's visit to the Ilan Detention Center for illegal
PRC immigrants on April 11 confirmed Taiwan's progress on TIP
since last November. The conditions found at Ilan are
identical if not better than those found at the Hsinchu
facility in March (ref A). AIT found the center's
environment to be clean, bright, and relaxed. As with
Hsinchu, immigration authorities at Ilan have enacted a
standard screening and protection system for victims.
Victims have access to NGOs and social workers and are
provided better care. Social activities are encouraged at
Ilan and AIT witnessed a variety of entertainment options,
including a performance by a well known Taiwan performer.
Artwork created by the women is displayed throughout the
center. AIT interviewed two women, including a minor, who
smiled frequently, laughed, and appeared to have a good
rapport with the facility's staff. The victims told AIT that
they wanted to return home to the PRC but unfortunately had
been kept waiting almost two years to be accepted back by
Beijing.

Screening Methods for TIP victims
---------------------------------

4. (SBU) TIP victims are identified based on initial police
interviews, the circumstances of the women's arrival in
Taiwan, and other evidence obtained by investigators. Once
the women arrive at the detention centers, a second interview
is conducted with the assistance of social workers to ensure
victims are properly classified. The Ministry of Interior
(MOI) and National Police Agency (NPA) officials are open to
advice on additional methods of identifying TIP victims in
their screening process and asked AIT for assistance and
training. Since the new screening process was implemented,
Taiwan authorities have identified 179 women and girls as TIP
victims. Taiwan classifies minors under the age of 18 as
victims, regardless of circumstances. All identified victims
are immediately isolated from the rest of the detainee
population and housed in separate facilities with enhanced
services.

Victim Access to Health Care
----------------------------

5. (SBU) The NPA Immigration Bureau told AIT that both NGOs
and religious social workers visit the victims at least twice
a week and are available more often if there is a need. End
Child Prostitution in Asia Tourism (ECPAT) is the primary
Taiwan NGO working with female detainees. Religious
organizations supply volunteer social workers to visit the
victims. Two to three people (more if needed) from each
organization visit the center on each visit. Health care
professionals from a local hospital provide medical
attention. These professionals visit twice a week on
scheduled days and administer check-ups, well baby checks,
pre-natal care, and other routine medical services. The
hospital is located near the center, enabling emergency care.

Cooperation in Prosecuting Traffickers
--------------------------------------

6. (SBU) Operating under current legislation, Taiwan
authorities are establishing a task force to encourage TIP
victims to cooperate with the authorities to find and
incarcerate their traffickers. The NPA told AIT that the
detained women are afraid and wary of the dangers in
providing information to authorities. Many fear that not
only could they be harmed, but their families could also be
placed in jeopardy. The Taiwan government has passed a
witness protection law that aims to protect the women from
retaliation and encourages them to cooperate and help
prosecute the traffickers. In addition, Taiwan's Executive
Yuan (EY) has asked the NPA to establish a task force to
examine the current screening and protection of TIP victims
in order to improve TIP processing and increase victim
cooperation with authorities.

LY Also Working to Combat TIP
-----------------------------

7. (SBU) AIT has also engaged LY member and Democratic
Progressive Party (DPP) International Affairs Director
Bi-khim Hsiao over the legislative and administrative steps
Taiwan needs to take in order to combat the island's TIP
challenges. Hsiao's office reported to AIT that it is
working with Taiwan government officials and NGOs to develop
TIP initiatives and draft TIP legislation. (Note: Hsiao is a
leading member of the ruling DPP and enjoys direct access to
Taiwan's senior leadership. End note). Hsiao staffers told
AIT that they have implemented a three-point plan to address
TIP. The first aspect of the plan, which has been completed,
is to work with Premier Frank Hsieh's office and the MOI to
improve efforts to screen victims and provide protection at
the detention centers. Hsiao has persuaded the Premier to
become personally involved in directing immigration
authorities to combat TIP. Secondly, Hsiao's office is
organizing a caucus of LY members to work with NGOs to better
understand the issue of TIP and ensure a proper government
response. Finally, staff members from Hsiao's office are
currently drafting TIP legislation based on U.S. and UN TIP
laws. The legislation will mirror successful TIP efforts
from other nations, but will address Taiwan's own TIP
circumstances.

Government Working With NGOS
----------------------------

8. (SBU) Taipei authorities are also working with NGOs to
cooperate against TIP in Taiwan. Taiwan Women's Rescue
Foundation (TWRF) members briefed AIT after their visit to
the U.S. to meet with various anti-trafficking entities,
including U.S. Department of Justice offices and NGOs. This
visit has sparked an ambitious plan in cooperation with the
Taiwan government to further develop TIP programs in Taiwan.
An important component, TWRF told AIT, will be training first
responders. In cooperation with its partner organization,
International Organization for Adolescents (IOFA), TWRF has
organized the first two training sessions in June, focusing
on the issues and problems of TIP, defining and identifying
victims, and working with victims.

9. (SBU) The June training sessions will present an overview
of TIP legal issues, including difficulties of prosecution
and understanding organized crime elements. The target
audience is police, prosecutors, judges, and attorneys.
These multi-day training sessions will take place at the
Central Police University and will be supported by Taiwan's
Immigration Office, NPA, and MOJ, in addition to TWRF and
IOFA. According to TWRF, U.S. involvement is key, as
trainers from the Department of Justice, Break the Chain
Campaign, Cross-Sector Solutions and IOFA have been invited
to lead the training. TWRF is also organizing, in
cooperation with Taiwan government officials (and assistance
from AIT), experts from the U.S. and Taiwan NGOs to hold a
TIP conference in August of this year. The conference will
cover a spectrum of TIP issues ranging from prevention to
protection.

Action Request
--------------

10. (SBU) TRWF requests assistance from the USG to help
facilitate U.S. trainer presence for these sessions and
financial assistance to guarantee this endeavor is a success.
The TWRF has identified trainers for these training sessions
and requests G/TIP assistance in facilitating their presence.
The trainers TRWF requests are Mr. Lou DeBaca (Department of
Justice), Ms. Joy Zarambca (Break the Chain Campaign), Mr.
Nick Sensley, (Cross-Sector Solutions), and IOFA officials.
AIT will forward to G/TIP the budget proposal submitted by
TWRF.

Responding to False Marriages
-----------------------------

11. (SBU) In addition to victims smuggled into Taiwan
directly from the Mainland, Taiwan is also taking measures to
address the growing number of Southeast Asian women lured to
Taiwan for false marriages and then forced into prostitution
(ref B). One mechanism Taiwan has instituted is to interview
foreign and Chinese spouses in their home countries before
arrival in Taiwan or upon their arrival to ensure the
marriages are legitimate. The MOI has also established a
domestic violence hotline staffed by workers who speak
Vietnamese, Cambodian, Thai, Indonesian, English and Chinese.
These workers have the authority to assist victims find
shelters and to provide legal and financial assistance to
abused foreign spouses.

12. (SBU) The government has also started a program to help
foreign brides adjust to life in Taiwan by offering resources
before and after their arrival. Brides are offered
orientation classes before leaving their home countries,
including language and cultural familiarization classes.
Once the brides arrive in Taiwan, they are offered similar
courses and other programs to assist their adjustment, such
as cooking and shopping classes. The MOI has drafted a new
immigration law which is designed to foster a more welcoming
environment for the increasing number of foreign immigrants
and to develop education programs that emphasize an
inter-cultural society in Taiwan. The new policy is expected
to be enacted later this year.

PAAL

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