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15 Aug 2022

Brian Hioe, New Bloom (Taiwan)

Taiwan: Call to action on heightened human trafficking risks in Cambodia


CONCERNS HAVE been raised in recent times about the possibility of Taiwanese facing human trafficking in Cambodia. Immigration data shows that there may be around 2,000 Taiwanese victims of human trafficking in Cambodia, or potentially as many as 5,000 individuals, due to difficulties determining the number of Taiwanese in Cambodia. [...]

It is thought that Taiwanese were persuaded to travel to Cambodia and became victims of human trafficking because of promises of high-paying jobs. Victims have their passports and other documents confiscated from them, are threatened to prevent them from leaving, sold multiple times between captors, and face physical violence from their captors, including sexual assault. There has been confirmation of one death of a Taiwanese human trafficking victim in Sihanoukville, Cambodia to date. Efforts by Taiwanese to escape include jumping from buildings, suffering injuries in the process.

Some of the details of these human trafficking cases have been reported by freed victims. Victims are made to help carry out financial fraud by telephone or through online messaging apps such as LINE, posing as financial investment counselors. Indeed, many phone scam rings targeting Taiwan are based out of southeast Asia, whether participants in the ring are doing so of their own free will or not. [...]

Nine were arrested in July on human trafficking charges, including individuals thought to be members of the Bamboo Union gang. Two were arrested this month on charges related to telecom fraud in Cambodia. A task force has been set up by the Executive Yuan to deal with human trafficking issues in Cambodia, as well as Myanmar, and other countries [...]