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Although actively engaged with charity work through his Catholic diocese as a missionary since 1988, Reverend Peter Nguyen Van Hung became involved with anti-trafficking work after 1999. In that year, Taiwan signed a treaty with Vietnam. This formalized a flow of Vietnamese workers, and brides, from Vietnam into Taiwan. By 2005, there were approximately 200,000 Vietnamese living in Taiwan. These immigrants had little to no protection. Hung became involved with anti-trafficking work as early as 2001, when various clergy members led several demonstrations about the issue, but did not found the Vietnamese Migrant Workers and Brides Office (VMWBO) until 2004. The center has several shelters where they house migrant workers fleeing abuse, or brides who are similarly fleeing abuse, and provide classes in Mandarin and other topics, as well as receive counseling. In Taiwan, the practice of importing brides from Vietnam fosters sex trafficking, since the brides are bought by Taiwanese men, and often suffer horribly by being confined, beaten, or sexually abused.
From 2004 to 2006, Reverend Hung helped over 2,000 people escape from conditions of modern-day slavery. He built partnerships with various NGOs, vigorously pursued prosecution of traffickers, and helped negotiate financial settlements in some cases. In 2006, Reverend Hung was given a Trafficking in Persons Report Hero Award in recognition of his efforts to combat human trafficking. In that year, Taiwan was listed in the TIP Report as being on the Tier 2 Watch List. Due to Reverend Hung and others’ efforts, Taiwan was listed in the 2014 TIP Report as a Tier 1 country. However, there is much to be done. There are still about 500,000 migrant workers, from all over Southeast Asia, in Taiwan, and the practice of buying brides is not yet extinct. Reverend Hung continues his work with the VMWBO in Taiwan today.
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