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PORT VILA, Vanuatu (July 12, 1999 - PACNEWS)---Law enforcement officials in Vanuatu are currently investigating allegations of an organized prostitution racket in the country, involving prominent expatriates living in Port Vila.

Police spokesman Major Arthur Caulton said research has so far revealed that many vulnerable and jobless young men and women are involved in prostitution activities.

Major Caulton said prostitution is illegal in Vanuatu and authorities will do everything possible to stamp it out.

"The Vanuatu Police Forces started investigations earlier this year. So far the investigations have revealed that some prominent people, especially expatriates, are involved in this organized activity.

" Some of the young people believed to be involved are taken from schools. We decided to look into the matter when we saw many young students, boys and girls, roaming around in the city". Major Caulton said.

Vanuatu police are close to submitting charges on those involved.


PORT VILA, Vanuatu (July 12, 1999 - Radio Australia)---A survey by Vanuatu police reveals that prostitution is on the increase in the capital, Port Vila.

A Vanuatu police spokesperson, Major Arthur Caulton, said that between twenty and forty women are believed to be involved in the business, operating in two or three separate gangs.

Police believe the gangs are operating from private houses, with clients recruited by word of mouth.

Police have been investigating prostitution in Port Vila and Luganville on the island of Espiritu Santo for the past few years, but to date no one has been arrested.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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