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By Issac Nicholas

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Feb. 23) – Papua New Guinea officials say legislation will be introduced to punish parents selling their children to the thriving sex industry in the country.

Minister for Community Development Dame Carol Kidu said yesterday that there has been an increase in child prostitution and homosexuality in nightclubs in Port Moresby, and some parents are forcing their children into prostitution.

Minister Kidu said a concerted effort is required by everyone including parents to deal with the problem, and try to protect children.

"Child prostitution is occurring. Legislation will be passed in Parliament to ensure that clients and middle persons involved in such activities are charged and not the child," Dame Kidu told Parliament during question time.

She was responding to questions from Moresby Northeast MP Caspar Wollom who claimed that nightclubs in Port Moresby, especially in his electorate, were promoting immoral behavior.

Mr Wollom said through his investigation and complaints from parents indicate widespread abuse at these nightclubs.

"These girls perform strip shows, for example, in the popular shower girl contests. They are intoxicated with drugs and beer. These nightclubs are promoting sex, which leads to the spread of the AIDS virus," Mr Wollom said.

The Member of Parliament for Moresby Northeast claimed that the nightclubs are causing many social problems including deaths, rapes, fights, and family disunity.

"The nightclubs are the cause of other immoral acts which a Christian nation does not tolerate," Mr Wollom said.

He said one fact was that a girl who normally goes to nightclubs becomes a prostitute and will never get a proper husband and raise a family.

Mr Wollom asked what the minister was doing about these nightclubs and their foreign owners.

Dame Carol said her ministry was not responsible for the nightclubs, however legislations would be considered to protect children from prostitution.

"Child pornography is also covered in that legislation, and that legislation is not under my ministry but under the Criminal Code," she said.

Dame Kidu said there was a study conducted and funded by Save the Children, and that study had found that the situation was worse that what the member has portrayed.

"It is going to take a concerted effort by everybody and not one minister to deal with these issues," she said.

February 24, 2005

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