Global alliance of overseas Filipinos and families Migrante International hailed yet another groundbreaking victory as a Taiwanese diplomat was found guilty of human trafficking of her two Filipina maids in a Kansas City federal court this month.
Hsien-hsien Liu, Director General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Kansas City, admitted to trafficking her most recent housekeeper from the Philippines, taking her passport, grossly underpaying her, making her work 16 to 18 hours a day and threatening her with deportation should she tell authorities. The Filipina maid was also kept in virtual isolation in Liu’s home.
Liu also said under oath that her actions were not related to her official government position, thus disqualifying her for some diplomatic immunity with regard the case.
Liu, 64, was made to pay $80,044.62 in restitution to her recent housekeeper and a former housekeeper, who she also admitted underpaying. She is awaiting deportation as a result of the case lodged against her.
According to federal officials, both housekeepers have been certified as victims of human trafficking and would be eligible for visas that would allow them to remain and work in the United States legally.
Liu and her domestic worker agreed on a monthly salary of US$1,240 per month, 40 hours working time per week and overtime pay. But the diplomat violated the contract; she only paid her domestic worker between $400-450 per month and monitored her with surveillance cameras installed all over her house.
Migrante International Garry Martinez said that Liu’s case should serve as “an example and a warning” to human traffickers and perpetrators of labor fraud.
“This is yet another victory against human trafficking. More and more OFWs are speaking out against injustice and modern day slavery. This recent development proves that not even diplomats or government officials are immune to justice for as long as we know our rights and resist violations. They are not above the law,” he said. ###