Fiji Sun

SUVA, Fiji (Feb. 1) – The presence of sex workers on the streets of our towns and cities has long been a source of comment and complaint. However, there is little evidence to show that it is any way organized by some master crime gang. But the presence of Asian prostitutes in establishments frequented by almost exclusively Asian patronage has been said to point to organized crime from that region becoming active in Fiji.

The military has raided a number of premises and deported, so far, three women. This isn't even the tip of the iceberg. The police have known of such people and such establishments for some time but seem to have been unable to do much about them. It is to say the least interesting then that the army can remove some of them so quickly. It is more than of passing interest also that at least some of these women would have passed through the processes of the Department of Immigration.

In fact legitimate businesses have watched in dismay as these people arrive in the country with apparent ease while they are made to go through elaborate procedures that can take up to six months in order to employ expatriate personnel.

Of course there need to be processes in place to hire people from overseas. Checks need to be made, qualifications checked. But one wonders how many of the Asian sex workers went through such a process.

As part of its clean-up campaign, the Republic of Fiji Military Forces might care to look into allegations of double standards (to say the least) within that department. It might care, for example, to establish how it came about that a comparatively lowly staff member signed the letter expelling the former Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions. It might also be interested to find out to whom that person was closely related. Certainly there is genuine difficulty for Fiji in policing who comes into the country and who leaves it (note the Peter Foster scandal).

People can arrive in various informal ways such as on yachts or foreign fishing vessels, for instance. But the least we can do is secure the official entry processes and entry points. That clearly has not been done.

The military should pursue this investigation to its final conclusion: How do these people arrive here? Why was nothing done about them in the past? And why has it been so easy for them to enter Fiji?

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