[US State Dept. allegations] Human trafficking in Taiwan

US blasts Taiwan over trafficking

The US State Department has accused Taiwan of failing to stem the tide or help the thousands of foreign women and children who are brought to the country from Southeast Asia each year to face a life of prostitution, forced labor or slavery, and has indicated that things are getting worse, not better …
taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/ … 2003312317

Quite an interesting story.
I expect it to die very quickly from the Taiwan News scene.

I simply don’t get these stories, i mean why would you want to traffic an unwilling prostitute when there are millions more, erh, banging the doors down trying to get in voluntarily?

I suspect it’s mostly bullshit. There have been reports elsewhere, most recently in the post-tsunami tales of trafficking women in Thailand, that suggest it is mostly bullshit. Unfortunately I can;t find the article i read on this, but basically it pointed out how aid groups trot out the sensational claim without backing it with numbers. I do believe children are trafficked in China as I have read the legal case files, but I doubt very much that vast numbers are forced into sexual slavery outside China.

Scene one: Whore gets nabbed working illegally and without proper papers. “How did you get here.” “I was forced into it.”

Smacks of feminazis to me.



Are you saying you doubt vast numbers are being trafficked outside of China only with respect to Taiwan?

If you are including S.E. Asia (primarily Myanmar, Cambodia and Thailand), South Asia (notably Nepal) and much of the former Soviet Republics in that statement, I’d say you’re dead wrong.

As for Taiwan, I don’t know. It’s definitely a big sex-tourist source, both domestically and abroad. And, you do hear stories of 14 Vietnamese women being discovered in locked sheds, etc…

(EDIT) Also, these “Willing” prostitutes might have other motivations besides earning cash for themselves. They are likely at someone else’s mercy and it’s unlikely that they signed up willingly to the life, or got an honest picture of what they were getting themselves into in the first place. I’d bet many of what you call willing prostitutes were trafficked to begin with.

Definitions are also important too. Are we talking about prostitutes under 20, 16, 15?

I can tell you from personal experience that US State Department reports critical of Taiwan tend to be watered down versions of original submissions.
You also need to remember that the US State Department under the Homeland Security statues now has unprecedented access to intelligence from other agencies.
Simply because information isn’t public doesn’t mean such reports are not justified, on the contrary many reports omit key information so as not to divulge sources from other agencies or offend "key” allies.

I really wish I could find that article I referred to, but it does make a very good case for aid agenies overplaying this trafficking business and sets out why in the end this is actually a bad thing for the agencies. A tabloid headline if you will, but a misleading headline and one that turns the focus away from the real issues.

I do not see the need to force people into prostitution when economic imperative is force enough. I hope you catch the distinction here, ie, people are forced into it, but they do it willingly to get ahead. Prostitution in this part of the world, among other things, is in the absence of any other means, effectively a single mothers’ pension or a means to keep families and siblings alive and out of the game.

Yes I am sure trafficking exists, but only at the very marginal end of the business. I dare say 98% of prostitutes are up for it.

I’ve just returned from a protracted stay in Zhuhai, which is basically the working Taiwanese and Japanese man’s Pattaya. It is full of prostitutes and many are clearly under age. I talked to many of them and saw absolutely no evidence of people working under duress. There is simply no need to do this to women/girls as there are simply more than enough that will volunteer.

Of the women/girls I spoke to, and no, I didn’t shag them, without exception they had fled China’s rural hinterland for a better life and to help out the families. They came to Zhuhai after being told of the score by friends. It is simply more attractive to be in control of their own destiny via whoring than to stay on the farm, marry a local bloke and live a miserable existence with regular beatings.

Moreover, my girlfriend is Thai, like it or lump it the Thai community in HK is comprised of many prosttitutes. many of my GF’s friends are prostitutes (she’s not), I can assure you thay are all willing players and simply would not tolerate the spectacle of an unwilling person thrown into their mix. Same applies for the women/girls I met in Zhuhai.

By the way, the person organising these prostitutes is always a woman, an aiyi, not a man.

In order to resolve this issue it needs to be spelled out clearly, not mindlessly politicised. In my way of thinking that is a far greater abuse.


If I am not mistaken, I believe that the reason this report is getting so much attention is because the US State Department has just done that very thing, made it official.
Taiwan is now a world leader in human trafficing. According to this report one of Taiwan’s biggest imports are slaves.

[quote]Facts About Human Trafficking.

[quote]TAIWAN (TIER 2)

Taiwan is primarily a destination for women and girls, mainly from the People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.), who are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Some trafficking victims from the P.R.C., Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam are forced or coerced into the commercial sex trade or lured to Taiwan by fraudulent offers of employment or marriage. Some Taiwan women are also trafficked to Japan for sexual exploitation.

Taiwan authorities do not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, they are making significant efforts to do so. Taiwan authorities have increased efforts to provide protection for trafficking victims. Despite prosecutions of traffickers, there is insufficient protection for trafficking victims, particularly for women and girls from the P.R.C. While illegal immigrants from other countries are generally quickly repatriated, the P.R.C. often delays Taiwan efforts to assist P.R.C. victims to return home. Taiwan authorities and NGOs have collaborated in ongoing efforts to develop a plan of action on trafficking. Some law enforcement officials conflate trafficking with smuggling. Taiwan laws criminalize most forms of trafficking but do not address prevention of trafficking or victim protection, which the authorities nonetheless provide on an ad hoc basis.


Taiwan lacks a comprehensive trafficking law providing for preventive measures and victim protection, though most forms of human trafficking are criminalized through a number of different statutes. Trafficking of Taiwan residents abroad or children of any nationality is prohibited by the 1995 Statute for Prevention of Child and Juvenile Sexual Trafficking and provisions in Taiwan’s Criminal Code. Article 296 criminalizes a broad range of forms of trafficking and servitude. Article 296-1 provides for stronger penalties when the crimes are committed by officials. Taiwan authorities report that they indicted 241 and convicted 150 persons under these statutes in 2004. Taiwan authorities took steps in 2004 to address the growing number of Vietnamese women lured to Taiwan as brides and then forced into prostitution. A more stringent law enacted in January 2004 and aimed at cross-Strait trafficking stipulates that any person found guilty of smuggling Mainland Chinese into Taiwan shall be punished with a prison term of three to ten years and fined up to $150,000. Authorities in late March 2005 broke up a trafficking ring run by two Taiwan Army officers and their wives. A year-long investigation into the ring produced a number of arrests for trafficking of P.R.C. women to Taiwan for exploitation in the sex industry. Taiwan authorities have increased training for law enforcement officials on trafficking issues and how to best assist a victim. In early 2005, Taiwan executed a local trafficker convicted of killing P.R.C. victims.


Foreign victims of trafficking who are not of P.R.C. origin are provided with shelter and counseling and are generally quickly repatriated. Current Taiwan law provides no legal alternative to the return to the P.R.C. of all unlawfully present P.R.C. citizens, including trafficking victims. Taiwan has recently increased efforts to provide protection to P.R.C. trafficking victims. Taiwan law enforcement authorities and NGO social workers interview all illegal immigrants in detention centers in order to identify possible trafficking victims. Women and girls identified as trafficking victims are housed in a separate wing, where they are provided with access to social workers, health care, vocational activities, and counseling. Women with children have an additional, separate area within the facility. Identified trafficking victims are exempt from rules that apply to criminal detainees. There is no policy or law that requires the authorities to evaluate whether victims would face persecution or retribution upon returning to the P.R.C. Authorities have established an island-wide toll-free “113 Women’s and Children’s Protection” hotline.


Taiwan law enforcement authorities are working to intercept criminal syndicates that smuggle P.R.C. migrants, including trafficking victims, to Taiwan. Taiwan continued its support of NGO anti-trafficking prevention programs, with government funding for public awareness programs targeting minors and awareness campaigns targeting Southeast Asian women who marry Taiwan men, including publicity campaigns funded by Taiwan in source countries. Taiwan officials have raised public awareness of the dangers of pornography and the use of the Internet to lure children into the sex trade. Social workers automatically visit high-school students with unexcused school absences to provide counseling and to ensure that the children do not fall into the sex trade or other illicit activities.

state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2 … htm#taiwan

Tales of how hordes of Canadian men were flocking to Thailand for sex with young girls prompted the government to enact an anti-sex tourism law.

Any Canadian caught indulging in sex tourism, anywhere in the world, can be prosecuted upon his return to Canada. The RCMP even has agents in Thailand scouting for the Canadian sex tourist.

Interestingly, that law was enacted years ago and yet no Canadian has ever been charged under it.

One has to wonder about such tales… :ponder:


I think what you are missing is the fact that you seem to be referring to freelance girls, as opposed to those forced to work in a captive environment. I read a book several years ago called “sex slaves” which was explicitly about trafficking in Asia, and whilst sensational in parts other sections fascinated me as you just cannot see what goes on.

There are places in HK where girls work in massage parlours, or just out of a room and I suspect many are not happy with their work environments, let alone the job description. I am also aware of this in India, Malaysia and Thailand so can easily believe that the same kind of thing happens here. Note that this is not about girls serving the “top end” of themarket but those forced into serving the “bottom end” local markets and making very little if any money from their “labour”.

Just my 2C

I don’t see anything specific in it I’m afraid. I mean, why not give us numbers of unwiltting or under-aged prostitutes shipped into Taiwan, and no, figures such as “about 800,000-900,000” simply don’t cut the mustard. How were these numbers derived? Under scrutiny, and when put to organisations overseeing the interests of say prostitutes themselves, who obviously are not interested in being undercut by underpaid sex slaves, these figures simply never stand up. The claimers of people trafficking never provide actual figures. The post-tsunami hysteria that hundreds of thousands of kids were being thrown into enforced prostitution was a classic example. People involved in supporting prostitutes simply did not see any evidence at all of an increase in unwilling patrticipants. Do you recall that missing Swede boy? Remember he too was supposedly nabbed by pedophiles. That too turned out to be complete bullshit.

Sure, it makes sense to be concerned about the issue, but lets see how serious it is before telling everyone the sky is falling.
What’s more, I think Taiwan’s rather unique border status with China makes much of the concerns raised in that report redundant. Of course Taiwan is more vigilant on who and what comes in across the straits. Think about it, if you were smuggling in Chinese prostitutes to Taiwan, would you rather nab or trick someone into coming under absolute duress or avail a vast body of willing participants? it realy is that simple.

Focusing on this nebulous trafficking beast simply diverts the gaze and lessens the concern for the vast majority of women that are driven to prostitution by economic imperative, more often than not by something as banal as a husband walking out and leaving the kids and no money. Resolving it is nowhere near as difficult as breaking these snakeheads ferrying these mystery millions, it’s really as simple as ensuring hubby pays child support. Banal and far less newsworthy perhaps, but far more realistic.


When I lived in Vietnam there were countless stories of girls marrying Taiwanese men and then being forced into prostitution upon their arrival. I am sure it happens, I have no idea how you could put a number on it though. Is it 5-10 cases a year or 500,000? How would you even go about quantifying it?

Note that Vietnam is equally as poor as some parts of China with average GDP about US$450 p/a and plenty of girls go and “work” voluntarily in Hong Kong and Singapore. I don’t think anyone has a problem with this (especially in Singapore where Brothels are legal) it is the unwitting girls that everyone would like to see protected, and frankly 1 is probably too many.

Sounds like a very sweet and naiive piece of legislation, I mean how would you prosecute?
Judge: I put it to you that you went to Thailand to have sex with prostitutes
Defendant: No your Honour, I went to Thailand and I had sex with prostitutes
Judge: You didn’t intend to have sex with them before you went?
Defendant: No your honour it was a spur of the moment thing, I kind of got sucked in, it won’t happen again
Judge: Oh, OK then, see that it doesn’t. Off you run.

We have legislation in the UK (and I know the Aussies have it too) that says you cannot have sex with a minor anywhere in the world and can be prosecuted under UK (os Aussie) law if you do. It is very clear cut, but what defines sex tourism, and how do you prove it? Come on Canada you can do better.

Oh and how come there were so many Swedish people in Phuket when the Tsunami hit? Don’t they get enough action at home? I thought they were famous shaggers, the lot of them!

Totally agree.


These stories always remind me of a news clip I saw several years ago. One of those trafficking busts aboard a stinky fishing boat where the orange boilersuit coastguard guys were pulling women out of the hold of the vessel and had them lined up on the deck of their patrol craft. It was a mjor one, which is why it made TVBS – more than 50 women and girls.
The story had it that the women claimed to be coming over on promises of work in factories, etc. and were shocked – SHOCKED! – to discover what their “real fate” was to have been.
Every single one of them, though, was dressed for the KTV or the betelnut stand. I mean see-through tops, lurid makeup, etc. Very very far from being unknowing up-country naifs. I have no doubt that these women were all recorded as being “unwittingly” brought in to work in the sex trade.

The Canadian sex tourism law is the same - for sex with minors. The point being there were so many tales of middle-aged Canadian men going to Thailand to have sex with little girls the Canadian government was embarrassed into enacting such a law, and yet nobody has ever been charged.

What are we to believe? The perverts stayed home rather than risk getting busted? It’s far more likely that the whole thing was sensationalized, as these stories of sex slave smuggling in Taiwan have no doubt been.

Hang on, I certainly don’t doubt the existence of touring pedophiles in Asia. while I do think this may have dropped off in Thailand to some extent, it is still happening and people are regularly caught. It seems Vietnam and Cambodia are major centres now, and after what I saw in Zhuhai, possibly there too. Remember Gary Glitter?

Meanwhile, in Australia . . . . Sex slavery: first woman jailed

[quote]The first person in Australia to be found guilty by a jury of possessing sex slaves has been jailed for 10 years.

A Victorian County Court jury found Wei Tang, 44, guilty of five charges of possessing a slave and five of owning a slave.

Tang, of Fitzroy, had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Judge Michael McInerney today sentenced her to 10 years jail, with a minimum term of six years.

During the eight-week trial the prosecution said five Thai women, who cannot be named, were brought into Australia with the promise they would eventually be able to work legally in the sex trade.[/quote]

So they were up for it but effectively duped on earnings. I think this is more the norm than actual slavery.


Ahhhhh I hate the whole Gary Glitter thing. I have seen men with young boys holding hands in Thailand, and Cambodia has been famous for years for this kind of thing but Vietnam was way off the radar before GG got caught there. When I lived there I never saw any of this kind of nonsense, the laws in Vietnam are very strict and the police are very happy to enforce them. GG was pretty dumb to go and try his crap there and they quite rightly threw the book at him… I guess in a way it would be better if more of the sickos went there and got themselves banged up, except that some poor kid has to be involved every time.

HG next time you are in Thailand and you see a girl or woman with a small Thai word tattooed on the back of their hand why don’t you ask them about it. There are thousands of them that have been sold by their famlies or simply taken against their will. Seriously your view of this seems to be VERY one sided.

Edgar Allen, I understand all of that, and if you look closely I don’t deny it goes on, what I am saying is that the vast majority of prostitutes are there by economic imperative and not because they are sold into it. I think trafficking, horrid as it is, is an emotive smokescreen which obstructs the more mundane reality for the vast majority of prostitutes.

As for GG in Vietnam, I figure he knew where he was going. I’m sure he had some sicko mates that told him the score. Nha Trang’s ugly underbelly. Sadly it seems if you have poverty, you also get the added insult of pedophiles coming to diddle your kids. He qwas also in Cuba after getting turfed out of Cambodia. I’d reckon his passport could offer a how to guide for you average garden serial sicko.


GG was caught in Vung Tao which is an ex US base currently populated by oil workers and sex tourists. I guess it is Vietnam’s equivalent of Pattaya although I haven’t been.

According to Aussie immigration my passport is a classic example of a drug traffickers one, they almost went as far as making me drop my trousers…=-) Sorry a little off topic but I am still bitter about the whole Aussie immigration thing…never going back.