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Crack down on labor brokers: DPP lawmakers

Taipei Times, Taiwan, 24 September 2021 - Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday urged the Ministry of Labor to crack down on labor brokers that charge illegal fees for the transfer of migrant workers to other employers, saying that this would help Taiwan become a “slave-free nation.”

DPP Legislator Michelle Lin (林楚茵) told a news conference in Taipei that she had received multiple complaints about brokers charging thousands to tens of thousands of New Taiwan dollars to process the transfer of migrant workers.

Lin cited as examples a case in which an agent, during a recorded conversation, asked an Indonesian worker to pay NT$25,000 for the processing of their transfer request and another case in which an agent asked a Vietnamese worker to pay NT$10,000 for employment papers.

Most workers paid the additional fees, she said.

With COVID-19-related restrictions since May barring prospective workers from entering Taiwan, such practices might have gotten worse, Lin said.

The ministry must crack down on the practices, which some international organizations call slave labor or slave trade, she said.

There are no statistics about their prevalence in Taiwan, which prevents effective prosecution, Lin added.

DPP Legislator Hung Sun-han (洪申翰) said that some agents are emboldened to extort migrant workers whose access to documents is impeded.

The agents usually hide the practice from potential employers, Hung added.

Migrant workers should be given access to the needed forms — including employment licenses and documents to prove that they are not working anymore for their previous employers, he said.

The forms should be available for download, or workers should be able to apply for them online, Hung added.

The ministry should step up measures to investigate brokers engaged in illegal practices and shut them down, he said.



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