Working against Trafficking in Humans, in Taiwan

Prevention and advocacy

Ms Yen-Chu Chen was interviewed by Sr Françoise Mestry

 

Background

Yen-Chu first got involved in a global anti-human trafficking campaign during her internship in Bangkok, Thailand.  She then joined Good Shepherd Taiwan and has worked as a specialist in prevention and advocacy against human trafficking via various programs, throughout Taiwan. 

 

The Youth Symposium

'Real love chases away fear, greed and slavery:  young leaders must pave the way' was the name of the second youth symposium held by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (PAS) from the 7th to the 8th of November, 2015. As Pope Francis urges the importance of working against human-trafficking, youth who have devoted themselves on this issue were invited to share their experiences from all over the world.

Yen-Chu had the privilege of participating at the symposium as a speaker and had the opportunity to share the current situation of Trafficking in Persons (TIP)   in Taiwan as well as the anti-human trafficking services conducted by Good Shepherd Social Welfare Services (GSSWS) Taiwan during the event.

 

Yen-Chu's experience of working with the Good Shepherd Services 

 

Françoise          What is your involvement in Good Shepherd Services in Taiwan?

Yen-Chu            There are basically six service domains in Taiwan and I am involved in the area of Human Trafficking prevention. Our office is located in the capital city of Taipei but we run programs throughout Taiwan. For my part I mainly do awareness raising programs on the university campus and also in the local community. Compared to high school or secondary school students, the university students faced a greater risk of being trafficked because they get more opportunity to travel, especially now when people are willing to go abroad even for short periods. There may be problems of visa, risk of forced labor, cases of sex trafficking. 

In the local community we focus on adults. Since the population of Taiwan is ageing many families cannot afford to take care of the elders.  So they hire migrant workers for cheap labor.  It is a huge task.  It is hard to limit their working time as it takes a lot of time for the domestic worker.… they have to do all the domestic household tasks.

We also collaborate with churches and we go there after the Masses to share some information on basic rights, labor rights, minimum wage, etc. of migrant workers. 

 

Françoise         How was your experience as a speaker in the symposium?

Yen-Chu           There were around 25-30 speakers and 30 observers. The majority were young people, but there were also some adults. We shared our experience in the symposium including international cooperation and the introduction of the Good Shepherd Services Taiwan and the current situation of trafficking in Taiwan. The main reason Good Shepherd came to Taiwan was because of Child prostitution in 1970. We are reverting to the original service again. The elders and the senior people have devoted so much effort in this regard and we think it is time that the youth got involved. With energy and enthusiasm we can share our concerns on this issue through the internet and social media.

The Prevention and Protection Office collaborate in this task. We sometimes visit the shelter to know what is happening to the victims in Taiwan making sure to safeguard the privacy of the victims. At the symposium, 6 to 8 victims from Argentina, Mexico, Kenya, Nigeria presented their stories.  They spoke of their experience and testimony of suffering, how they were rescued and helped to overcome such trauma.

 

Françoise      Was there any resolution to network among you?

Yen-Chu        The aim of this event was to evaluate best practices in combating modern slavery, to create a global network of young people throughout the world, and to create a handbook on human trafficking and slavery.

The situation all over the world differs much from place to place, for example, Latin America is different from Taiwan or East Asian countries. We spent a lot of time discussing ways of delivering this message to our local youth and I think it is fortunate that we are living in the era of the internet.

We can use the internet to keep the discussion going.  A website could be set up to deliver such a message. For places where the internet is not easily accessible we are hoping to produce a hand book with relevant information from the website.

I also visited Manila to attend a very important conference, then Indonesia and we have much connection with the office in Thailand

 

Françoise       What message are you bringing back?

Yen-Chu          I think I will share more about this issue happening in the world although it seems that it is not that serious in Taiwan. We get more opportunity to travel around the world and we could get involved from the perspective of prevention of trafficking.

 

 For more information click - http://www.goodshepherd-asiapacific.org.au/project/150