New Taipei District Court, Taiwan. Photo: Google Maps

A 58-year-old Taiwanese man was sentenced to a year and two months in jail after being found guilty of confining and exploiting more than a dozen foreign domestic workers in New Taipei City and giving some of them drugs in order to keep them from escaping from his maid agency.

The man surnamed Chen started a maid agency in Shulin district in southwestern New Taipei City in 2014, recruiting only “runaway” female migrant workers who had no valid work visas and hardly spoke any local languages. He used these women’s disadvantages in order to exploit them, as they needed work but were afraid of getting caught by the authorities, the Liberty Times reported.

Chen referred these women as legal domestic workers to employers, charging NT$1,800 (US$60) for whole-day service or NT$1,300 for half-day service. Those hiring them as caregivers would be charged NT$1,400 a day. He would deduct NT$300 to NT$600 from the maids’ salaries as commission.

At least 16 foreign women were victimized by Chen, who extorted a total of NT$287,200 in commissions from them. Four victims told the police that they had been given amphetamines.

Chen pleaded not guilty at New Taipei District Court, arguing that the maids were lying. However, witness reports from the victims were consistent, and Chen himself had informed the police that a few foreign women were taking drugs during the raid.

Chen was sentenced to a jail term of one year and two months for violating the Employment Services Act and Article 83 of the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act. He was given the option to pay a fine of NT$3,000 per day in lieu of imprisonment.