Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation (TWRF) was formally registered in September of 1987 to provide legal consultation and counseling to girls and women in the sex trade, and to help them return to their families and society.
The foundation has been a pioneer in the effort to eliminate the trafficking of women in Taiwan and was established with a mission to eradicate child prostitution, which as recently as 1987 was a serious problem, most notably with economically disadvantaged parents selling their daughters into prostitution.
In 1991, the TWRF, together with Awakening Foundation and Rainbow Project, initiated the “Save Child Prostitutes” campaign, which was a landmark in creating awareness of the problems associated with prostitution. With the help of significant media coverage, this campaign brought much attention to the women’s movement, which had not hitherto been in the public spotlight.
Since 1992, the foundation has maintained a toll-free hotline to reach out to sex workers seeking assistance. Furthermore, through cooperation with the police, the foundation has helped sex workers to file lawsuits, and provides services such as settlement, medical aid, education, and career counseling.
On the lobbying front, the TWRF has cooperated with legislators and other organizations to help bring modern legislation to Taiwan, including the “Children’s Welfare Act” (1989) and the “Youth Sexual Transaction Prevention Act” (1995).
The foundation has been a standard bearer for the plight of aging women who served as sex slaves (so-called “comfort women”) to Japanese soldiers during World War II. Since 1992, TWRF has provided legal counsel and psychological support for these victims. We have championed their cause by petitioning governments and courts both in Taiwan and in Japan.
More recently, the plight of female victims of domestic violence has gained much-needed attention, and the TWRF’s resources have been extended to battered wives. For victims of domestic violence, we provide legal assistance, counseling, court accompaniment and shelter.
Teen prostitution in Taiwan has for the most part given way to the smuggling of women from across the Taiwan Strait in China to serve as sex workers. Hence the foundation’s focus has to a certain extent shifted to providing help to these victims and to coordinating with police and prosecutors to find solutions to the current problem.
TWRF has diversified its mission over its short existence to address the rapid changes that have occurred in Taiwanese society. The foundation’s core values, however, have not changed; where there are women in trouble, the TWRF seeks to provide individual assistance and to spur on reform in society as a whole.
The foundation’s organization is defined by the three groups to which it provides assistance: sex slaves (comfort women), victims (women and children) of domestic violence and human trafficking (women smuggled to Taiwan to work in the sex industry).