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Political commitment key to tackling trafficking: expert

Political commitment key to tackling trafficking: expert

Taipei, Oct. 30 (CNA) An anti-human trafficking expert from Australia said Tuesday in Taipei that political commitment, instead of massive resources, is the key to improving labor exploitation and human trafficking conditions. "Not everything requires massive resources," Anne Gallagher, who was named a 2102 Trafficking in Persons Report Hero by the U.S. government, told CNA on the sidelines of an international workshop on strategies for combating human trafficking. "I really believe if there is a genuine political will behind improving the situation of domestic foreign workers in Taiwan, and the law is part of that, it will happen," Gallagher said. The lawyer and scholar was asked what suggestions she would make on the issue to Taiwan's government, which has drafted a law to protect domestic workers and caregivers in the country but lacks law enforcement officers and resources to carry out labor inspections. "The enforcement will always be a problem," Gallagher said but added that it was equally important to raise the awareness of migrant workers and give them contacts to which they can reach out. Taiwan should also not feel constrained by its lack of mutual legal assistance with most countries because of its diplomatic plight because a lot of informal cooperation can also take place, Gallagher said. Taiwanese law enforcement agencies can reach out to more of their counterparts in human trafficking countries of origin, Gallagher said, noting that a lot of intelligence can "flow back and forth" when these agencies trust and understand each other's work. Taiwan can also do more to tackle the problem of labor recruitment agencies that often overcharge foreign laborers, said Gallagher, leader of the Asia Regional Trafficking in Persons Project that is funded by the Australian Agency for International Development. "This is a difficult area to regulate, but I think if Taiwan can advance in that direction that would really provide some good lessons for other countries where this kind of reform is needed," Gallagher said. Despite commending Taiwan's efforts, Gallagher said all countries, including Taiwan, are still "scratching the surface" when it comes to combating human trafficking. "No country is even close to dealing with human exploitation. It's woven into the fabric of our global economy and even into our individual lives," Gallagher said. The world is just beginning its journey to remove exploitation from the global economy, she said. Gallagher and other speakers from Australia, Cambodia, Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia were attending the one-day workshop, organized by Taiwan's National Immigration Agency, to discuss forced labor issues and their efforts in cracking down on human trafficking. (By Christie Chen)


Updated : 2020-12-04 08:19 GMT+08:00