Thursday, June 14, 2007

Human Trafficking, Hypocrisy Trafficking

On behalf of my country, I'd like to apologize to the people of Taiwan for the hypocrisy and arrogance of my nation. Yesterday the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), our officially unofficial representative body, chided Taiwan for its problems with human trafficking:

Taiwan's efforts to combat human trafficking have been recognized but it must demonstrate greater political will in dealing with the problem, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) said Wednesday in a statement after the release of the U.S. State Department's 2007 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report.

For 2007, Taiwan is classified as a "Tier 2" country and has been removed from a U.S. watch list because of its significant efforts to eliminate trafficking, the AIT said, adding that the most notable achievements are "the development of Taiwan's first comprehensive plan of action that covers all forms of human trafficking, plus the formation of an inter-ministerial committee to implement the plan in coordination with non-governmental organizations."

It pointed out, however, that trafficking victims should be granted formal protection, including access to justice, in order to obtain compensation from those who have exploited them, while victims should also have the right to work while awaiting the outcome of court cases.

It called for the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) to stop addressing instances of involuntary servitude with administrative penalties. Instead, it should refer such cases for criminal investigation and possible prosecution. It also said the Taiwan authorities should do more to eliminate the ability of labor brokers and employers to deport workers against their will.

Human trafficking? Can anyone say "extreme rendition?" That very same State Department that puts Taiwan on a watchlist has defended our own kidnapping and illegal deportations of human beings:

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has defended the practice of rendition, saying it was a vital tool in the war on terror. But Rice also insists that the U.S. does not "send anyone to a country to be tortured".

"The United States has not transported anyone, and will not transport anyone, to a country when we believe he will be tortured," she said. "Where appropriate, the United States seeks assurances that transferred persons will not be tortured."

The government that operates Guantanomo, where human beings are illegally deported from their home countries and deprived of basic legal access, says Taiwan should:

trafficking victims should be granted formal protection, including access to justice, in order to obtain compensation from those who have exploited them,

If only we practiced what we preached.

Sorry, Taiwan.



5 comments:

Arty said...

If only we practiced what we preached. Unfortunately we rarely do.

Anonymous said...

Michael,

Sometime you ought to look into the US Customs service's abusive treatment of single Taiwanese women traveling to the U.S., a problem which seems to be tangentially related to the alleged human trafficking insofar as Customs officers assume any unmarried Asian woman coming to the US must be a mail-order bride, sex slave, or what have you. This abuse is well known, I believe, to immigration attorneys in the US, and is certainly familiar to Taiwanese women travelers, who plan for it, but may not be familiar to overseas Americans in Taiwan, whose first acquaintance with the problem is likely to be a sobbing girlfriend in an airport. On a related note, and even more disappointing, the AIT interviewers of Taiwanese visa applicants etc have a reputation for bad Chinese language ability, intrusive questioning, and general ineptitude. It is almost as if the US were bent on making enemies even among those most disposed to being its friends.

Michael Turton said...

Good point. My sister in law was abused by immigration when she came to the US for our wedding, a single woman traveling alone.

Michael

Anonymous said...

Rather than take it lying down, Taiwan should issue its own human rights critique of the US (and other countries).

Robo said...

I've heard quite a bit about this sort of stuff too. My girlfriend experienced nothing short of an interrogation back in the day when planning a trip to the US, which she didn't end up taking. However, I hope she doesn't have any of these sort of problems when she comes home with me.