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July 22, 2017

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Harsher penalties set for human traffickers

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- New regulations passed by lawmakers yesterday will increase jail terms and fines for perpetrators who engage in human trafficking, forcing victims into the sex trade or other labor services or selling victims' body organs without consent.

The revised rules of the Act Preventing Trafficking in Persons ratified by the Legislative Yuan levy a prison term up to three years plus a maximum fine of NT$1 million if the perpetrators use improper measures to force people owing debts to work for compensation not proportional to the labor service.

The penalties will be imprisonment up to five years plus a maximum fine of NT$3 million if the perpetrators force debtees to take up sex work.

The perpetrators will face imprisonment up to seven years plus a maximum fine of NT$5 million if they force other people to engage in work with compensation not matching with the labor service.

They will face imprisonment up to 12 years plus a maximum fine of NT$5 million if they force debtees or other people to sell their body organs for financial gains.

The jail terms and fines for criminals involving minor victims under the age of 18 will be increased.

Those attempting to commit the criminal acts will also be punished.

Lawmakers said the severe penalties are part of the government's stepped-up crackdown on human trafficking, sex exploitation, and illegal debt-collection practice.

Aid to male victims

Other new rules passed by the Legislative Yuan included welfare aid to male victims of domestic violence and the families in which the children are in the care of their grandparents.

The reduction of tuition for children of such families and those with low income attending colleges or universities will be raised to 60 percent from the current 30 percent.

Lawmakers voted to extend assistance to more families in view of the increasing male victims of domestic violence and grandparents faced with financial burden when taking care of the third-generation children.

Such financial support will now not be limited only to female victims.

The legislators also adopted new rules requiring that government provide loans to domestic violence victims for business startups.

Birth payment

When reviewing the Statute for Labor Insurance, the lawmakers approved new rules enabling female employees to get childbirth payment if they are laid off during pregnancy.

The women will get such payment from the Bureau of Labor Insurance if they deliver babies or premature babies within one year after losing their jobs.

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