Cablegate: G/Tip Delegation June 8-12 Visit to Taiwan

Published: Thu 16 Jun 2005 08:58 AM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A
1. (SBU) Summary: G/TIP made Taiwan its first stop in Asia
after the release of the 2005 Trafficking in Persons (TIP)
report. The delegation responded to questions about Taiwan's
downgrade to Tier 2 and reviewed improvements Taiwan has made
in screening TIP victims, providing victim protection, and
improving facilities and services available to victims. The
delegation expressed the hope that Taiwan will continue the
progress it has made in tackling TIP and urged Taipei to take
additional steps including establishing a government-wide TIP
task-force to direct TIP policies, drafting comprehensive TIP
legislation, and further improving the screening process for
identifying TIP victims. The delegation met with officials
at the Ministries of Interior (MOI), Justice (MOJ), Foreign
Affairs (MOFA), consulted NGOs, and visited the new center
for TIP victims in Ilan. End summary.
2. (SBU) In a meeting with the MOI's Immigration Bureau,
officials highlighted the steps they have taken to protect
PRC TIP victims and discussed Taiwan's 2005 TIP report
downgrade. Immigration authorities argued that Taiwan cannot
allow PRC TIP victims any alternatives but to return to the
PRC because illegal PRC immigrants are a threat to Taiwan's
national security. The immigration officials asserted that
the PRC is the largest source of illegal immigration to
Taiwan and is continuing to rise. This trend is posing
greater risks on Taiwan's national security and becoming an
ever increasing financial burden. MOI officials told AIT
that Beijing recently started repatriating a greater number
of illegal PRC citizens than in the past. In addition, MOI
informed the delegation that they now submit a separate list
of TIP victims to the Red Cross for priority repatriation to
the PRC.
3. (SBU) MOJ public prosecutors stated that TIP cases are
covered under existing criminal statues and that there is no
need for further TIP legislation. According to prosecutor Ko
Yi-fen, most criminals involved in TIP offenses are charged
against Chapter 26, Article 296-1 of the Criminal Code,
"Offenses Against Personal Liberty," which includes TIP. The
MOJ prosecutors also charge defendants under articles 23-25
of the Child and Juvenile Sexual Transaction Prevention Act
while PRC nationals are charged with violating Taiwan's
national security laws.
4. (SBU) Foreign brides were the primary focus of the
delegation's meeting with MOFA Bureau of Consular Affairs
officials, who expressed the greatest concern over Taiwan's
downgrade that the delegation encountered during its visit.
According to MOFA, Vietnamese women still account for the
majority of foreign brides in Taiwan and in response, Taipei
has implemented more stringent interviewing requirements to
identify fraudulent marriages. The Taiwan government has
also opened offices in Vietnam and interviews every couple
applying for entry into Taiwan. Marriage registration must
be completed in both countries and all documentation is
scrutinized. Suspicious cases are given only a 30-60 day
visas and Taiwan authorities follow up after the women arrive
in Taiwan. Visas for marriages determined to be fraudulent
are canceled. In addition, MOFA pointed out that Taipei has
allocated approximately 100 million USD over the next 10
years for language training, cultural awareness, and
counseling services to assist foreign brides with their
adjustment to life in Taiwan.
5. (SBU) The delegation met with DPP Legislative Yuan (LY)
member Bi-khim Hsiao, who is working with Taiwan NGOs to
draft a comprehensive TIP law. Hsiao agreed with G/TIP that
in addition to separate TIP legislation, a TIP task-force
must be established and more comprehensive screening
procedures implemented to distinguish between TIP victims and
illegal immigrants. Hsiao was very candid about the lack of
interest in Taiwan about TIP, telling the delegation that
Taiwan public opinion is not sympathetic to PRC victims and
that TIP legislation will have little chance of passage by
the LY. Hsiao noted the government is most focused on issues
of national security and domestic policy, relegating TIP
legislation to the bottom of the priority list. Hsiao also
remarked that Taiwan's domestic political climate these days
is so tense that any bill submitted by a Pan-Green lawmaker,
such as herself, would immediately be blocked by the Pan-Blue
in the LY.
6. (SBU) MOI Immigration Bureau Commissioner Wu Chen-chi met
the G/TIP delegation and AIT officers at the Ilan detention
center to show the newly constructed facilities for TIP
victims and to answer questions. The Ilan center recently
converted to a women only facility, combining all PRC female
immigrants together in one complex. TIP victims are located
in a separate newly constructed facility without bars and
includes a common area with ping-pong tables, organized
activities, and television sets. There are currently 82 TIP
victims, including 11 minors, housed in this new facility.
Officials in Ilan told the delegation that the PRC has
recently begun repatriating their nationals more quickly than
before. Commissioner Wu expressed his determination to work
closely with G/TIP and AIT to return Taiwan to Tier 1 next
7. (SBU) The delegation also met with Taiwan NGOs Taipei
Women,s Rescue Foundation (TWRF) and International Campaign
to End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism (ECPAT). Queried
by G/TIP for their assessment of the TIP problem and possible
solutions, both NGOs focused on the need for more government
action to combat TIP. The NGOs asserted that a TIP
task-force is vital to tackling the problem and that it
should be headed by a senior Taiwan official, who is
appointed by the president and given the power to tap into
government agencies for resources to meet end goals. They
also noted that programs to further public awareness on TIP
are necessary to change public opinion, which sees PRC
immigrants as a political rather than a human rights issue.
8. (SBU) ECPAT director Ingrid Liao also argued that
comprehensive TIP legislation is necessary to protect the
victims and prosecute the criminals. Liao told the
delegation that laws currently used in TIP prosecution need
to be expanded. For example, she noted victims who
voluntarily come to Taiwan illegally are considered criminals
even if they are abused or exploited after arrival. Liao
also raised the need for additional guidelines for police,
immigration authorities, and judicial officers to help them
distinguish between trafficked victims and illegal
immigrants. Both NGOs hope that education and training can
be provided to Taiwan law enforcement authorities so they can
quickly recognize TIP victims.
9. (SBU) The G/TIP delegation expressed appreciation for
Taiwan's progress on tackling TIP in such a short period of
time, particularly noting the new center for TIP victims in
Ilan. The delegation, however, urged that Taiwan continue
the progress it has made to date on TIP and reinforced the
NGO recommendations that Taiwan establish a government-wide
TIP task-force to coordinate and promote TIP policies, draft
comprehensive TIP legislation, and implement more
comprehensive screening protocols to identify TIP victims.
AIT intends to work with G/TIP over the coming months to
assist Taiwan in taking these additional steps to combat TIP
in Taiwan. For example, AIT and G/TIP are co-sponsoring a
TIP conference from June 13-16 with the TWRF to train Taiwan
law enforcement officials and prosecutors in screening TIP
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILE © Scoop Media