GROUP WARNS OF CHILD SEX TOURISM, NAMES FIJI, SOLOMONS, SAMOA

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (August 21, 2000 - The Fiji Times/PINA Nius Online)---A leading international group set up to battle child prostitution says child sex tourism is growing in Fiji, the Solomon Islands and Samoa.

In the build up to an Asian tourism meeting this week in Thailand, the three Pacific countries were mentioned as areas being frequented by pedophiles.

"Men are heading east to the Pacific Islands," said Muireen O'Briain, spokesperson for End Child Prostitution, Pornography and Trafficking, one of the conference sponsors.

"Child sex tourism is growing in that region, in the Solomon Islands, Fiji and Samoa."

The meeting in Thailand will devise strategies to combat child sex tourism.

Participants will be taught how to deal with situations that may arise as pedophiles arrive in their cities and resort towns.

O'Briain said: "Unless they already have a contact in these places, most child sex tourists are going to have to go out and find children.

"They are going to go into bars and ask the barman, or speak to the taxi driver or tour guide.

"People have to know how to respond to those inquiries.

"They will also have to persuade hotel owners that if they see men taking children to their rooms they should call the police, that they shouldn’t tolerate that kind of tourism."

The Director of the Criminal Investigations Department, Superintendent Emosi Vunisa, said legislation for these crimes is with the Director of Public Prosecutions' office.

"We are working with the DPP in regards to laws that would be put into place to stop pedophilia and child sex tourism."

Women's rights activist Shamima Ali said the possibility of a child sex industry in Fiji was high given the number of street kids.

For additional reports from the Fiji Times, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Fiji Times.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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