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Teenagers on Lihir Island offered money for sex

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, April 22, 2009) – A frightening trend in sexual offences and crimes against children is reported to be threatening the once closely knit society on Lihir Island.

Vulnerable to the offences and crimes are children between the ages of 12 and 16 years who are lured into such acts by adults between the ages of 40 and 50 years who are flashing money to lure their victims.

Twenty-three such cases were committed by the Lihir Sub District Court to the National Court last year and the court recorded another 13 cases in the first six weeks of 2009.

If such cases are allowed to go unchecked for 12 months, they could amount to about 200 by the end of the year. This is the frightening news from the former Resident Magistrate for the Lihir Sub District Court, Samuel Lavutul.

Speaking in a radio interview on the eve of his departure for a new posting, Mr. Lavutul said these cases include sexual touching, sexual penetration and rape.

Lavutul questioned that if male adults in the ages of 40 and 50 years are dealing with minors between the ages of 12 and 16 years, what guarantee is there that our children are safe in our society?

According to Lavutul a majority of the offenders in these cases are locals.

He said he believes a major contributing factor to the increase in such crimes on the island is the circulation of pornographic material through compact discs, video players and recorders.

Lavutul said it is high time the local level government, the women’s association, the courts and police and leaders from all levels of the community work together to tell people of the increase in such crimes and the people’s rights under the law.

He said he believes there are many similar cases happening on the island which are being sorted out according to custom thus suppressing the people’s right to report them to the police and the courts.

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