‘Unwanted’ PNG Children Reportedly Being Sold, Killed

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‘Unwanted’ PNG Children Reportedly Being Sold, Killed Advocate: lack of social protection policies pressuring mothers

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, May 21, 2013) – Unwanted children in Papua New Guinea are being sold, given away or even killed, according to the country's social workers.

Ume Wainetti, Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee program coordinator, has told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat it is mostly young girls having unwanted babies.

She says the young girls are often victims of rape or incest and face enormous shame from their families when they become pregnant.

"We're doing a lot of work with women, informing them that it is illegal to sell children," she said. "If they want they should do proper legal adoptions... so we know where the children are."

Ms. Wainetti says mothers also feel pressure to get rid of unwanted children because PNG doesn't have "social protection policies" enabling a single mother to take care of her own child.

"It is a very big concern but we do not have data to show how bad the situation is," she said.

"We know that many children are also killed by mothers because of the shame attached to having illegitimate children."

Ms. Wainetti says people buying the children are usually Papua New Guinean couples who can't have children themselves.

"People are willing to buy them," she said. "The thing is... we have no idea what is happening to these children."

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