Friends of Utah: Lin Ai Ling

Ms. Ling and other IVLP participants meet with Mr. Andrew Choate at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Salt Lake City. Ms. Ling and other IVLP participants meet with Mr. Andrew Choate at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Salt Lake City.

In August 2017, Ms. Lin Ai Ling visited Utah as part of the Combating Trafficking in Persons program. She currently serves as a precinct-level Foreign Affairs Section Chief in the Taipei City Police Department. By participating in the IVLP, Ms. Lin hoped to broaden her perspective on U.S. law enforcement and criminal justice systems as well as learn about advanced criminal investigative techniques, community engagement strategies, and other best practices.

Andrew Choate US Attorney Office Trafficking August 2017 photo by AZ

Fortunately, some of these learning goals were realized in Utah. Ms. Lin informs Utah Global Diplomacy that she was greatly aided by the knowledge that she gained meeting with the state’s professional resources. One of the most useful tidbits of knowledge Ms. Lin gained was realizing how vital it is to understand the background of victims and perpetrators in the process of combating human trafficking.

Trafficking August 2017 photo by Leo Wollemborg 1Meeting with the Utah Trafficking in Persons Task Force. 

In researching the background of those involved in the sex trade in Taipei, Ms. Ling and her colleagues discovered that the teenage girls involved in the trade are mostly middle school students, come from single-parent families, or are intergenerational dependents, meaning they are obligated to find the means to care for their parents. Ms. Lin and her team not only investigated demographics and the social status of those who are trafficked for sex, but also looked into how minor girls engaged in the sex trade are controlled and exploited by gangs. Ms. Lin says that while these young women “voluntarily” engage as sex workers due to the scarcity of economic opportunities available to them, they are abused by their handlers due to their lack of power. To help the women involved in sex trafficking, Ms. Lin has advised social welfare united to actively assist victims to rebuild their lives and competence.

Ed Smart Elizabeth Smart Foundation Trafficking August 2017 photo by RD 3Meeting with Mr. Ed Smart at the Elizabeth Smart Foundation.

She expresses her thanks to the friends she met in Utah and conveys that her newfound knowledge has greatly helped her fulfill her mission in combating human trafficking.