NGO – The Only Humane Response to Victim

By Eunice Park


Throughout my year with TWRF, I have attended numerous international conferences and trainings on counter-trafficking.  In every instance, experts in the field stress the importance of a multi-disciplinary task force that involves collaboration between government agencies, law enforcement, as well as NGOs.  Although the role of policemen and prosecutors is rather obvious to the public when dealing with the rescue and prosecution of trafficking criminals, the central role of NGOs is often overlooked or undervalued. 


In January, I was fortunate enough to be involved in the case of a victim who was forced into commercial sex work in Taoyuan County.  The victim was not able to take the fly by herself due to her physical condition, so TWRF decided to accompany her back to Jakarta, and at the same time, to develop important relationships with local NGOs.  Although my primary role in this case was to coordinate TWRF’s relationship with its Indonesian partners, I did have the chance to observe my supervisor’s interactions with the victim, from our very first encounter until the day the victim was reunified with her family in Jakarta . 


To understand the crucial role of NGOs in the rescue and repatriation of victims, one must take into account the psychological and physical state of the victim.  We first encountered this particular victim in the hospital.  She was recovering from a brain infection that was due to her HIV status, a likely result of commercial sex work.  She spoke no Mandarin, and her surroundings and the people around her were completely unfamiliar.  This young woman suffered from a life-threatening illness after being forced into prostitution in a foreign country for a few years.  In short, the fear and confusion felt by this woman are beyond the imagination of most people.     


The logistical challenges that ensued following her discharge from the hospital were no less complex.  A victim who would like to return to her country of origin must negotiate a myriad of government agencies in a foreign language, including law enforcement, the judicial system, and immigration.  In many instances, victims must wait for indefinite periods of time in inadequate accommodations while the necessary steps are being processed.  Throughout this process, the victim has very little control over her existence.  In this particular case, all forms of personal identification had been confiscated from the victim by the traffickers, causing further complications.  The victim was admitted to a home for HIV patients in Taiwan while she waited for her case to be processed.  In the time preceding her return to Jakarta , the victim’s sole consistent human connection was provided by TWRF.    


The various government agencies that the victim encounters don’t have the time to build relationships with rescued victims and therefore give traumatized victims very few reasons to trust them.  Their role in helping victims stands in stark contrast to NGOs like TWRF, who are able to devote personal attention and advocacy to individual cases.  With the help of an Indonesian interpreter, my supervisor was able to demonstrate a consistency and tenderness that ultimately earned the trust of this victim, despite the repeated betrayals and abuse that she had endured over the past few years.  This was a victim that had been sold repeatedly all over Taiwan to various brothels.  Through this human connection, my supervisor was able to guide the victim during the frightening transition from the hospital to the HIV shelter, and ultimately from Taiwan back to Jakarta .  I watched as my supervisor purchase warm clothing for the victim, who did not have proper attire for Taiwan ’s cold winter nights.  The victim finally began to recover from her trauma because TWRF was able to show her that she was being cared for. 


I have learned much from my brief stint with this trafficking organization.  However, one of the clearest lessons learned throughout this experience is the necessary role played by NGOs such as TWRF.  The only humane response to victims of trafficking is to provide individual case work so that the victim has a personal advocate and support system in the midst of a terrifying and confusing experience.  I applaud TWRF for the care they have provided to victims thus far and am very grateful for the opportunity to learn from their example. 



翻譯/救援組督導 王鴻英




在一月份,我有幸參與了一個救援案件,被害人被迫在桃園地區從事性交易工作。 由於被害人的身體狀況無法單獨搭機回原生國,因此婦援會決定陪伴個案返回印尼雅加達,也可藉此跟當地的民間組織建立合作關係。雖然我主要是負責與婦援會與印尼團體的的聯繫協調,但我也因此有機會進距離觀察,由第一次接觸到最後返回與雅加達的家人團聚時,我的督導與被害人之間的互動。















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