Court quashes couple’s prison term for exploiting migrants
The High Court found that the workers were paid overtime at a soy factory
A couple have successfully appealed against their convictions for allegedly exploiting three migrant workers over a period of more than 14 years at a renowned soy product factory in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, after the High Court reviewed testimony by other workers.
In December Ciaotou District Court sentenced the couple, with the surname Cheng, to seven months in jail for violating the Human Trafficking Prevention Act, The Liberty Times reported. The workers had claimed they were not paid any overtime during their employment and had been prevented from leaving the factory.
However, the High Court overturned the decision on Thursday after having considered testimonies by four other migrant workers and local employees, and checking company payroll records.
It found the three complainants had been paid average salaries of NT$21,000 (US$700), NT$23,000 (US$767) and NT$26,000 (US$867) respectively, which were all in line with the country’s minimum wage requirement.
They worked for six to nine hours from Monday to Saturday, and in one case 11 hours, which did not violate the law. The High Court could not substantiate the allegation that the workers were required to work overtime without compensation.
A court investigation also found that each of the complainants owned a mobile phone, which meant the factory owners had not infringed on their rights or prevented them from seeking help if they believed they were the victims of abuse.
The couple were declared innocent and the charges were dropped.