TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan and the United States on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on exchanging information related to efforts to counter human trafficking, the first of its kind signed by Washington with a country in the Asia Pacific region.
The signing of the MOU shows that Washington has recognized Taiwan's ongoing efforts in fighting international human trafficking despite the lack of official diplomatic ties, Taiwan's representative to the United States said.
This latest achievement is another milestone for substantive cooperation between the two countries in the future on the issue of anti-human trafficking, he added.
The U.S. has signed similar memorandums with Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France and the European Union. Taiwan is the first Asia Pacific country to have signed a similar deal with the U.S.
The document was officially titled “Memorandum of Understanding between the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States and the American Institute in Taiwan on the Dissemination and Exchange of Information relating to Human Smuggling and Trafficking.”
It was signed by Deputy Representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the United States (TECRO) Leo Lee (李澄然) and Managing Director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Joseph R. Donovan Jr. on behalf of Taiwan's National Immigration Agency (NIA, 移民署) and the U.S. Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center.
Commenting on the MOU, NIA Director-General Mo Tien-Hu (莫天虎) said human smuggling and trafficking has become a cross-border issue that is difficult for any single country to effectively eliminate on its own.
Therefore, different countries must work together by forming partnerships in a joint effort to prevent human smuggling and trafficking, he noted.
According to the NIA, Taiwan has been pushing for such joint efforts to combat cross-border human trafficking.
In recent years, Taiwan has signed similar MOUs with Mongolia, Indonesia, Honduras, Vietnam, and Paraguay.
It has been a long-term goal for Taiwan to sign such deal with the U.S..
Thursday's signing is a major milestone in Taiwan's international cooperation efforts to combat human smuggling and trafficking, the NIA noted.