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Cablegate: (G/Tip) Senior Coordinator Mark Taylor's July 5-7

VZCZCXRO0460
PP RUEHCN RUEHGH
DE RUEHIN #1561/01 1931034
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 121034Z JUL 07
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5957
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7016
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 8764
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 8919
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 1993
RUEHGZ/AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU 0395
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 8262
RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 1218
RUEHSH/AMCONSUL SHENYANG 5961
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHHJJAA/JICPAC HONOLULU HI
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHHMUNA/USPACOM HONOLULU HI

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 TAIPEI 001561

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM SMIG TW
SUBJECT: (G/TIP) SENIOR COORDINATOR MARK TAYLOR'S JULY 5-7
VISIT TO TAIPEI AND KAOHSIUNG


1. Summary: G/TIP Senior Coordinator Mark Taylor visited
Taipei and Kaohsiung July 5-7, meeting with government
officials, NGO representatives, and trafficking victims.
Taylor acknowledged Taiwan's progress, but urged Taiwan to
strengthen efforts to detect and shelter TIP victims, and to
stiffen punishments for those convicted of sex or labor
trafficking. Taiwan officials detailed plans to expand
shelter services, improve coordination with NGOs, and enhance
cooperation with labor source-country governments to prevent
and punish trafficking. They also said Taiwan is considering
a comprehensive anti-TIP law. NGOs argued that Taiwan should
not have been removed from the TIP "Watch List" because, in
their view, it has failed to implement much of its TIP Action
Plan. End Summary.

Taiwan Has Made Progress, But Must Do More
-------------------------------------------

2. G/TIP Senior Coordinator Mark Taylor met jointly on July
5 with officials from the Interior (MOI), Justice (MOJ), and
Foreign Affairs (MOFA) ministries, and the Council for Labor
Affairs (CLA). Taylor remarked that Taiwan had been removed
from the Tier 2 Watch List after making significant progress
over the past year in addressing its sex and labor
trafficking problems. However, Taylor pointed out, labor
brokers continue to hold too much power over foreign
laborers, and Taiwan authorities fail to properly identify
significant numbers of TIP victims. Taiwan should extend
legal protections to the 170,000 foreign laborers employed as
domestic helpers or caregivers, and must improve the quality
and consistency of social services provided to TIP victims
across the island. Taylor urged Taiwan to establish clear
legal and financial incentives for victims to assist in the
prosecution of their traffickers, and to enhance coordination
and consultation between law enforcement agencies and NGOs.

Taiwan Promises Continued Anti-TIP Momentum
-------------------------------------------

3. Deputy Interior Minister Lin Mei-chu assured Taylor that
Taiwan is committed to improving its ability to identify and
protect victims, and to detect and punish traffickers. MOI,
MOJ, MOFA, and CLA and other anti-TIP Task Force agencies are
working with NGOs to increase penalties for traffickers, to
draft standard procedures for placing TIP victims in shelters
rather than detention facilities, and to streamline
procedures for the return of TIP victims to their home
countries.

4. According to CLA, Taiwan is investigating various methods
to allow foreign workers to apply directly to CLA for jobs in
Taiwan, sidestepping the brokerage companies altogether.
According to CLA, Taiwan already has bilateral agreements to
this effect in place with Indonesia, the Philippines,
Thailand and Vietnam. Related procedures and safeguards are
still under negotiation. Taiwan is also considering changing
its labor laws to allow Taiwan companies to hire workers
through CLA, or through a local NGO intermediary. (Note: In
a separate meeting, several NGOs rejected the latter idea as
incompatible with the social welfare mission of most NGOs.
End Note.)

5. According to MOJ, the Taipei High Court Prosecutor's
Office is considering drafting a comprehensive
anti-trafficking law, like the U.S. Trafficking Victims
Protection Act (TVPA). MOJ officials noted that many judges
and prosecutors oppose a new law, believing that Taiwan's
existing laws are sufficient to address Taiwan's trafficking
problem, especially with the expected passage next year of
Immigration Law amendments designed to encourage victim
cooperation with prosecutors. (Note: A group of prosecutors
in Kaohsiung told AIT they believed a comprehensive law would
help them prosecute and convict traffickers who use
"atypical" forms of coercion against their victims. End
Note.)

NGOs: Taiwan Should Have Stayed On The Watch List
--------------------------------------------- ----


TAIPEI 00001561 002 OF 003


6. NGO representatives who met with Taylor were critical of
the decision to remove Taiwan from the Tier 2 Watch List,
asserting that authorities had done very little to implement
the improved victim protections and enhanced prosecution of
traffickers outlined by the November 2006 TIP Action Plan.
Garden of Hope Director Chi Hui-jung told Taylor that only
two NGOs are invited to attend the bi-monthly meetings of the
government Task Force, both of which have little direct
experience with trafficking victims' issues. Ms. Chi also
complained that the government should be running its own
victim shelters, instead of relying on the few existing (and
increasingly financially strapped) NGO-operated shelters.

7. Representatives from the Vietnamese Migrant Workers and
Brides Office (VMWBO), Taiwan Women's Rescue Foundation
(TWRF), and the Hsinchu Catholic Diocese Hope Workers' Center
(HWC) accused the Taiwan government of placing too much
stress on the detection and prosecution of traffickers, and
too little emphasis on the USG-endorsed "victim-centered
approach." Taylor met with several Indonesian trafficking
victims from the group of 35 who had been released from
detention into NGO care in April 2006. These women reported
that, for the two months they were detained, they were not
given access to legal advice or medical services. The NGO
representatives contend that this incident proves that Taiwan
has taken only rudimentary steps toward identifying victims
and offering them appropriate care.

8. At the National Immigration Agency (NIA) Special
Operations Brigade in Kaohsiung, 25 men and 35 women were
being held in two separate holding tanks for suspected
immigration and/or labor violations. Several detainees had
been in detention for more than two months. Some detainees
may have been victims of trafficking. NIA Captain Lin
Ching-chung told AIT that in the six months of the Special
Brigade's operation, they had not identified a single victim
of trafficking, despite having processed 195 separate
individuals for labor- or immigration-related violations.

TIP Doesn't Get Votes
---------------------

9. KMT Legislature Joanna Lei told Taylor on July 5 that a
bill to extend Labor Standards Law protections to domestic
helpers and caretakers will continue to face opposition from
elder- and disability-rights activists. Coupled with a lack
of support from legislators, the bill is unlikely to pass in
the near future. Foreign laborers have little money and
cannot vote in Taiwan's elections. Furthermore, there is
little public sympathy for the plight of trafficking victims,
especially those coming from Mainland China. Thus,
politicians are not motivated to advance the anti-TIP cause
because it does not help them win elections. Nonetheless,
Lei expressed hope that several legislators can be rallied to
push through a comprehensive anti-trafficking act before the
end of this legislative session in December.

Comment: Future Efforts
-----------------------

10. Government officials and NGOs agree that Taiwan's
current response to the trafficking problem is inadequate.
Both sides also agree that greater interagency and
international cooperation is needed to tackle TIP, and that
limited budgets do not allow for the construction of adequate
shelters. There is no consensus on the need for a
comprehensive anti-TIP law, but there seems to be a growing
understanding that such a law could help prosecutors convict
traffickers and cause judges to hand down heavier sentences.
Although a standardized procedure for identifying and
processing TIP victims is in place, it does not appear to be
working properly, due in part perhaps to the unclear
distribution of responsibility among the government's various
labor, immigration, and social services agencies. CLA labor
inspectors do not have an enforcement mentality, nor the
authority to actively pursue potential TIP cases. Lastly,
victims are reluctant to identify themselves as victims, most
likely because they fear prosecution for immigration and
labor violations occasioned by their having been trafficked.

TAIPEI 00001561 003 OF 003


Taiwan needs to formally extend immunity and economic
opportunity to TIP victims to secure their cooperation in
prosecutions against traffickers.

11. Senior Coordinator Taylor did not have an opportunity to
review this cable.
YOUNG

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