[ Human Trafficking, Country-by-Country ]

TAIWAN (Tier 1) Extracted from the U.S. State Dept 2020 TIP Report

Taiwan authorities fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Authorities continued to demonstrate serious and sustained efforts during the reporting period; therefore Taiwan remained on Tier 1. These efforts included improved interagency coordination to combat trafficking; new policy initiatives intended to streamline investigations; continued oversight of vulnerable labor recruitment channels; and increased inspections and investigatory referrals of potential forced labor cases on fishing vessels. Although Taiwan met the minimum standards, significant challenges remained unaddressed. Official stakeholders operated under disparate and often ineffective victim identification procedures, complicating some victims’ access to justice and protective care. Insufficient staffing and inspection protocols continued to impede efforts to combat forced labor on Taiwan-flagged and -owned fishing vessels in the highly vulnerable Distant Water Fleet (DWF). Thousands of migrant domestic caregivers remained at higher risk of exploitation in the absence of specific legislation ensuring their labor rights.

Prioritized Recommendations

Increase efforts to prosecute and convict traffickers under the anti-trafficking law. • Sentence convicted traffickers to adequate penalties, which should include significant prison terms. • Increase inspections and, where appropriate, prosecute the senior crew and owners of Taiwan-owned and -flagged fishing vessels suspected of forced labor in the DWF, including vessels stopping in special foreign docking zones. • Enact and implement policies to expedite maritime forced labor investigations and reduce suspect flight.• Conduct comprehensive, victim-centered interviews to screen foreign fishing crewmembers for forced labor indicators during portside and at-sea vessel inspections. • Train maritime inspection authorities on victim identification, referral, and law enforcement notification procedures. • Formally include civil society input into the labor broker evaluation process. • Amend relevant policies and legislative loopholes to eliminate the imposition of all recruitment and service fees and deposits on workers, and by coordinating with sending countries to facilitate direct hiring.• Strengthen oversight of all foreign worker recruitment and placement agencies and processes to screen for abuse indicators, including illegal fee requirements and contract discrepancies. • Strengthen efforts to screen for trafficking among vulnerable populations, including foreign students recruited to for-profit universities; individuals returned to Taiwan in connection with alleged overseas criminal activity; and foreign workers falling out of visa status within Taiwan after fleeing abusive working conditions and/or surrendering to immigration authorities under the voluntary departure program, and refer them to protective services. • Allocate increased resources for and streamline the maritime inspection process by requiring DWF vessels to use standard international maritime call signs, and by registering all Taiwan-owned and -flagged fishing vessel names, licenses, authorized operation areas, and foreign-hired crew manifests in a single, standardized database system. • Clearly define roles and responsibilities for, and increase coordination between, the agencies that oversee Taiwan-owned and -flagged fishing vessels. • Enact legislation that would address gaps in basic labor protections for household caregivers and domestic workers. • Enact a full ban on the retention of migrant workers’ identity and travel documentation. • Extend trafficking victim identification authority to key stakeholder agencies. • Increase resources for and implement anti-trafficking training for police, prosecutors, and judges. • Strengthen efforts to publicize the foreign worker trafficking hotline number among migrant crewmembers of Taiwan-owned and -flagged fishing vessels.