Migrant workers come to Taiwan in hopes of earning money to better the lives of their families in their host country. Many of these migrant works, some of which are victims of human trafficking) must take out a significant loan to afford the costs of a labor broker (averaging about 8000 USD for factory to 1000 USD for domestic work).
Yet, these migrant workers – especially domestic workers – when they finally arrive in Taiwan, they are subjected to sexual assault and violence in the family. These domestic workers are without legal protection or rights, and many are treated as slaves in the household. Yet, because of fear and lack of information, they are forced to swallow their sorrows and endure the sexual abuse and violence performed upon them. When they finally can no longer endure the oppression, they may choose to escape the workplace, and in this circumstance they may seek help from the police or refuge at a shelter.
The VMWBO shelters and helps such victims of work abuse, sexual harassment, and violence. In the time in which they are being sheltered, the VMWBO processes the legal paper work for a change in workplace and grievances. The Council of Labor Affairs states that the victims may not work during the time in which they are being sheltered; yet, the grievance process for these victims take an average of three months to even a year. For many of these victims this long grievance process is detrimental to earning money, as well as the livelihoods of their family back in Vietnam. These victims are under a very unstable psychological state with the added problem of being unable to work for the time in which they are being sheltered. The interest rate from the loans in which they took to come to Taiwan continues to grow, yet they are unable to earn money. Desperate, some of these victims will resort to running away from the shelter before the grievance process is complete.
The process of seeking justice in Taiwan for migrant workers is too laggard. For many of these victims, they can not afford to not earn money for such an extended period of time. This is worsened by the fact that their working visa in Taiwan limits them to about two years. This, in their eyes, would equate to paying a full labor broker fees for just a fraction of actual money earning time. Hence, we at the office urge the Taiwanese government to allow these victims a chance for justice. Do not force them to leave our shelters and return to an abusive environment in which their lives may also be in danger. We ask the government to both speed up the grievance process as well as not count the time in which they spend at the shelter, waiting for the grievance process, from the working visa time. Section chief of the Council of Labor Affairs’ Bureau of Employment and Vocational Training Zhao Wen-hui (趙文徽) promises to announce the Council’s decision regarding this issue by the end of September.