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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (January 20, 1999 - PACNEWS/SIBC)---Children as young as eleven are involved in prostitution in the Solomon Islands capital.

The Sisters of the Anglican Church in Honiara issued a report on the matter yesterday during a national conference on child protection now under way in the capital.

One of the conference participants, Sister Lillian, told those assembled about the hunger and suffering of children who are being driven onto the streets as a result of problems in their homes. She said the Sisters have worked with a lot of girls under the age of 15 who have turned to prostitution for survival.

In opening the workshop yesterday, the Minister responsible for the Department of Youth and Women said child abuse is a national concern that everyone needs to address.

The Manager of the Family Support Center in Honiara, Maragaret Tadokata, said the problem is a major one that needs urgent attention. She called for the setting up of a child protection center.

Police Commissioner Frank Short highlighted the need for police officers to be educated about how to deal with child abuse and domestic violence cases.

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