Human Trafficking Reportedly ‘High’ In PNG

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Girls found more vulnerable to trafficking than boys

By Armstrong Saiyama

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, March 25, 2013) – The domestic and transnational trafficking of adults and children is occurring at a high rate in Papua New Guinea for forced labor, sexual exploitation and domestic servitude, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

IOM chief of mission Giuseppe Crocetti said this last Friday in Port Moresby during the launch of the country’s first report of human trafficking.

Titled "Trafficking in Persons and People Smuggling Baseline Data Assessment Report," it establishes a baseline assessment of current trafficking statistics in the National Capital District, the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, West Sepik and Western.

The report’s research was a partnership between the IOM, the Department of Justice and Attorney General and was funded by the United States government to combat human trafficking in PNG.

Crocetti said the report showed that irregular migrants entered PNG assisted by organized crime rings whereas the organizer provided onward travel, employment and accommodation to smuggle persons in PNG.

"Therefore, the report analysis data collected on issues associated with both trafficking in persons and people smuggling, two very distinctive crimes, due to the high susceptibility of people smuggling leading to trafficking in persons as a result of the exploitation of the position of vulnerability in which irregular migrants are often found," Crocetti said.

He added that the logging industry received the highest results by survey respondents as a business sector that exposes persons to risks of trafficking.

"Persons who work in and around market places, bars, restaurants and gaming clubs, were also indicated as being at heightened risk of exposure to trafficking," Crocetti said.

He said that female children were indicated as being over twice more vulnerable to becoming victims to trafficking than male children.

"Survey results also indicate that children who do not attend school are at greater risk to be targeted for child trafficking," Crocetti said.

He said persons engaging in prostitution were arrested and were not assessed to determine whether they were victims of domestic trafficking and sexual exploitation.

U.S. embassy deputy chief of mission Bryan Hunt added that the U.S. government had a particular interest in combating human trafficking.

"Human trafficking is essentially another term for human exploitation, and it can occur domestically or internationally, and it occurs any time a person is coerced or forced or deceived into involuntary servitude.

"Trafficking victimizes perhaps as many as 27 million men, women, and children worldwide, persons essentially enslaved and exploited for sex or labor," he said.

Hunt added that human trafficking was facilitated by porous borders, the absence of the rule of law, the failure to prosecute traffickers and the complicity of corrupt officials.

Hunt said that the U.S. government would work with the PNG government to combat trafficking and corruption and increase transparency and improve governance in extractive industries.

"Trafficking in persons can impede efforts to improve health, impede efforts to increase economic growth, impede the efforts to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment, and trafficking can pose a threat to lifetime prospects for youth. It is in all of our interests to end trafficking," he said.

Deputy Secretary for Justice Jack Kariko agreed that human trafficking was a major problem for PNG. He added the department was confident that parliament would legislate to criminalize human trafficking.

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