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Opinion

Jointly combating new forms of transnational crime

POINT OF VIEW - Chou Yew-Woei - The Philippine Star

Acknowledging Taiwan’s consistent efforts, for 14 consecutive years the US Department of State has ranked Taiwan as a Tier 1 country for combating human trafficking among over 180 countries and regions worldwide. The US government has also stated that despite the impact of the pandemic, Taiwan has continued to work hand-in-hand with the private sector to combat human trafficking and overcome various challenges.

However, Taiwan is not resting on its laurels. Given the escalating risks caused by new types of transnational crime, Taiwan is continuing to surmount its own outstanding track record of public security. By participating in Interpol and working in collaboration with global police authorities, we can all fight transnational crime together.

Without Taiwan, Interpol is incomplete and insecure.

International organizations serve as important platforms for global governance. Participating in these organizations allows Taiwan to connect with the world, providing a way to utilize its soft power and give back to the global community. However, for political reasons, Taiwan has been unable to participate in Interpol for over 39 years. Yet at the same time, as transnational crime flourishes in this era of globalization, Taiwanese passports, which enjoy visa-free access to 145 countries and territories, have become prime targets for transnational criminals. This is a threat that should not be underestimated.

Taiwan’s capacity to carry out border security checks and combat transnational crimes such as terrorism and human trafficking is severely hampered by its lack of access to real-time criminal intelligence shared through Interpol’s I-24/7 system and its stolen and lost travel documents database. Taiwan’s long-standing exclusion from Interpol means that vital exchanges of intelligence are often out of date and incorrect. And Taiwan’s inability to participate in associated Interpol meetings, activities and training has created a significant gap in the global security and antiterrorism network.

Taiwan’s experiences can serve as valuable reference, and Taiwan is willing to actively engage with Interpol.

In 2022, Taiwan’s police authorities uncovered a shocking new type of human trafficking occurring in Cambodia and Myanmar. Operating under highly organized corporate models, crime syndicates had used online platforms to recruit people from all over the world, promising overseas job opportunities as bait. In reality, victims were held captive, forced to work in scam call centers and subjected to such inhumane treatment as electric shocks, beating, drugging and sexual violence in order to coerce them into aiding the syndicates’ many illegal activities, including transnational fraud, the laundering of cryptocurrencies and drug and human trafficking.

To be continued

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