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AIT Deputy Director David J. Keegan Remarks at Human Trafficking Training Program for Law Enforcement Agents in Taiwan

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

It is a pleasure to be here to welcome you to today's training program on human trafficking.  As law enforcement officials, you are on the front lines of Taiwan's efforts to combat and eliminate the trafficking of women and children in the East Asia region.  Trafficking is nothing less than human slavery.  The only way to protect people from this type of exploitation is to establish a good body of legal protection and to give law enforcement officials the tools and training they need to scrupulously enforce those laws.

Your efforts in this regard have been noteworthy and encouraging.  In March of this year Taiwan authorities successfully broke up a trafficking ring, leading to a number of arrests of individuals responsible for the exploitation of P.R.C. women in the sex industry.   Your work to intercept criminal syndicates responsible for trafficking of foreign victims from the P.R.C, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam is yielding results and reflects your determination to make progress in limiting the human and social costs of trafficking.

You also have increased efforts to provide protection for trafficking victims and in collaboration with non-government organizations have worked to develop a plan of action to prevent trafficking.  Through this collaboration you have been able to raise public awareness of trafficking and improve the protection, shelter, and counseling provided to victims.

Having said this, the problems associated with human trafficking are real and growing in this part of the world.  Victims pay a horrible psychological and physical price, which often has a permanent effect, while the profits from human trafficking often fuel other criminal activities.  Taiwan is making significant efforts to comply with standards for the elimination of trafficking, but further progress can only be achieved with a more comprehensive trafficking law, which provides for greater preventive measures and victim protection.

The United States is committed to working with our friends here in Taiwan on this issue and this week's training program is a concrete step to meeting our mutual goals of ending the despicable practice of trafficking human beings.  I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the efforts of the Taipei Women's Rescue Foundation for their determination and unyielding efforts to eliminate human trafficking on Taiwan.

Non-government organizations play a critical role in a democratic society and the Foundation has been instrumental in planning and coordinating numerous outreach programs including this week's outstanding training program.  We are confident that these seminars will assist Taiwan law enforcement and regulatory agencies to better understand and develop more comprehensive measures to fight trafficking in persons.  As law enforcement officials, it is up to you to strengthen and enforce those measures.  I wish you luck in that endeavor and I applaud you for your efforts thus far.