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2004 Trafficking in Persons Report

BG0404E | Date: 2004-06-18

What is the Purpose of the 2004 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report?

The State Department is required by law to submit a report each year to the Congress on foreign government efforts to eliminate severe forms of trafficking in persons. This June 2004 report is the fourth annual TIP Report. Although country actions to end human trafficking are its focus, the report also tells the painful stories of the victims of human trafficking--21st century slaves. This report uses the term "trafficking in persons" which is used in U.S. law and around the world, and that term encompasses slave-trading and modern-day slavery in all its forms.

We cannot truly comprehend the tragedy of trafficking in persons, nor can we succeed in defeating it, unless we learn about its victims: who they are, why they are vulnerable, how they were entrapped, and what it will take to free them and heal them. In assessing foreign government efforts, the TIP Report highlights the three P's of prosecution, protection, and prevention. But a victim-centered approach to trafficking requires us equally to address the "three R's," rescue, removal, and reintegration. We must heed the cries of the captured. Until all countries unite to confront this evil, our work will not be finished.

More than 140 years ago, the United States fought a devastating war to rid our country of slavery, and to prevent those who supported it from dividing the nation. Although we succeeded then in eliminating the state-sanctioned practice, human slavery has returned as a growing global threat to the lives and freedom of millions of men, women, and children.

No country is immune from human trafficking. Each year, an estimated 600,000-800,000 men, women, and children are trafficked across international borders (some international and non-governmental organizations place the number far higher), and the trade is growing. This figure is in addition to a far larger yet indeterminate number of people trafficked within countries. Victims are forced into prostitution, or to work in quarries and sweatshops, on farms, as domestics, as child soldiers, and in many forms of involuntary servitude. The U.S. Government estimates that over half of all victims trafficked internationally are trafficked for sexual exploitation.

Millions of victims are trafficked within their home countries. Driven by criminal elements, economic hardship, corrupt governments, social disruption, political instability, natural disasters, and armed conflict, the 21st century slave trade feeds a global demand for cheap and vulnerable labor. Moreover, the profits from trafficking fund the expansion of international crime syndicates, foster government corruption, and undermine the rule of law. The United Nations estimates that the profits from human trafficking rank it among the top three revenue sources for organized crime, after trafficking in narcotics and arms.

The modern-day slave trade is a multidimensional threat to all nations. In addition to the individual misery wrought by this human rights abuse, its connection to organized crime and grave security threats such as drug and weapons trafficking is becoming clearer. So is the connection to serious public health concerns, as victims contract illnesses and diseases, whether from poor living conditions or from forced sex, and are trafficked into new communities. A country that elects to downplay its human trafficking problem in favor of other pressing concerns does so at its peril. Immediate action is desperately needed.

What is Trafficking?

The United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (one of three "Palermo Protocols"), defines trafficking in persons as:

the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.

Many nations misunderstand this definition, overlooking internal trafficking or characterizing any irregular migration as trafficking. The TVPA addresses "severe forms of trafficking," defined as:

A. sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age; or

B. the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

These definitions do not require that a trafficking victim be physically transported from one location to another. They plainly apply to the recruitment, harboring, provision, or obtaining of a person for the enumerated purposes.


Taiwan is a source, transit, and destination point for women and men trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Women from the People's Republic of China (PRC), Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam are trafficked to Taiwan for forced prostitution. Some women are lured to Taiwan by fraudulent offers of employment or marriage to a Taiwanese man. Women from Taiwan are trafficked to Japan for forced prostitution. Illegal migrants, mainly from the PRC, transit Taiwan on their way to North America, where some end up in forced labor conditions.

Taiwan authorities fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Taiwan recognizes the problem of trafficking in persons and has made concerted efforts to prevent the exploitation of minors and to investigate trafficking cases. The government supports prevention programs, has comprehensive laws that criminalize trafficking, and provides access to protective services for trafficking victims.


Taiwan has a statute that penalizes trafficking in children for sexual exploitation, and it has other statutes that criminalize other trafficking activities. According to official data, there were 195 trafficking-related arrests and 32 convictions under these statutes in 2003. Taiwan is strengthening investigations of trafficking. Taiwan authorities are concerned about the growing number of Vietnamese women lured to Taiwan as brides and then forced into prostitution. Officials have taken steps to address the problem by issuing stricter regulations designed to curb the rate of fraudulent marriages between Taiwanese citizens and foreign spouses.


Taiwan provided strong support for victim protective services in 2003. The authorities cooperated with NGOs to assist trafficking victims. Local centers run by officials and NGOs offer a range of services to adult and child victims, including temporary shelter, medical and counseling services. Foreign victims discovered in Taiwan are not prosecuted and are provided assistance before they are repatriated to their home country. Police and judicial officials receive training on trafficking issues and how to best assist a victim.


Taiwan continues its robust support of NGO trafficking prevention programs. Authorities in Taiwan have provided funding for public awareness programs targeting minors. Taiwan officials have also raised public awareness of the dangers of pornography and the use of the Internet to lure children into the sex trade. Tourism officials in Taiwan collaborate with NGOs, hotels, and travel agents to discourage sex tourism.

The full text of the 2004 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report can be found at the Department of State Web site: