Taiwan's anti-human trafficking efforts win praise

Taipei, Oct. 8 (CNA) The top American representative in Taiwan praised Taiwan on Wednesday for its efforts in combating human trafficking and said the United States hopes to continue its cooperation with Taipei on the issue. "We value our strong cooperation with Taiwan on this issue, and we applaud the Taiwan authorities and Taiwan's active NGO community for your efforts to prevent trafficking to protect victims, and to prosecute offenders," Christopher J. Marut said at the opening of an annual international anti-human trafficking workshop in Taipei. Taiwan has earned a Tier One ranking for the fifth consecutive year in the U.S. State Department's 2014 Trafficking in Persons (TIPS) Report, which ranks governments around the world on their efforts to combat trafficking in persons, Marut said in touting Taiwan's efforts. Marut said the United States hopes to continue to work with Taiwan to address some of the key challenges highlighted in the 2014 report, such as labor trafficking aboard long haul fishing vessels and the exploitation of migrant workers by brokers. The U.S. also looks forward to Taiwan's serious implementation of a U.S.-Taiwan memorandum of understanding signed in May to exchange and disseminate information to help combat human trafficking, he added. "Taiwan's robust information sharing with the United States will assist us both as we combine efforts to deter human trafficking," Marut said. Speakers from Taiwan, Australia, the United States and the Netherlands gathered at the one-day workshop, organized by Taiwan's National Immigration Agency, to discuss human trafficking issues, including cross-border law enforcement operations, cyber crime and labor exploitation and disputes. Also speaking at the workshop, Vice President Wu Den-yih said cracking down on human trafficking was an important government policy, and he touted the Taiwan-U.S. memorandum of understanding as "very important progress" in their cooperation on the issue. He said Taiwanese authorities cracked 166 human trafficking cases last year, and 270 individuals were convicted in human trafficking-related cases. This shows the tireless effort of Taiwanese officials and judicial bodies, Wu said. (By Christie Chen)