THERE are reports that young girls and women are involved in sex in exchange for fish and flex cards in Madang province.
The trade is believed to be with foreigners.
According to reliable sources, women from the village (named) had been involved in the sex trade in which they would give sexual favours to the foreigners for fish.
However, the source said that sex for fish trade had now developed into what is known as sex for flex card, where women from the area were given flex cards by the foreigners for sex.
The source said it was a great concern for the villagers who had most of their land taken away by foreigners allegedly through getting the women and girls into such illegal activities.
The Madang provincial AIDS council’s Tingim Laip project coordinator Joe Mocke, in an interview, confirmed the activities but declined to elaborate further.
He said there were underlying factors that had forced the women and girls into the illegal trade.
He said money and land were two factors pushing the villagers into the trade as most of their land had been taken away by foreigners.
The Madang provincial AIDS committee headed by provincial health adviser Marcus Katchau, HIV/AIDS response coordinator Matricia Mari, care and counselling coordinator Conrad Wadunah and Mr Mocke in a media conference said there was also evidence of the increase in prostitution in the province.
They said that although there were sex workers in the province, there was a need to do a survey or research to confirm the increase in the number sex workers in the province.
However, they said that sex trade was a huge industry throughout PNG and was not a problem in Madang only.
They said people turned into such activities for survival and the problem had become an issue which leaders needed to address in partnership with organisation like the Tingim Laip project.
They said that some people were forced into prostitution to sustain their lives because they see it as the easy way of making money.
They said sex workers were not only the “loose” women on the street but there were also males, school girls, working class women and high profiled people involve in the sex trade industry.
Mr Mocke said among the sex workers were highly educated men and women.
“When there is development, we are likely to experience social problems and the alleged report of the rise in sex workers in Madang is part of the change and such activities needs the attention of the authorities to fund and empower the people economically so they look at better ways of making money to sustain lives than by selling themselves,” he said.
He said there were sex workers at different levels and among them were highly educated and high profile people, working class women and young school girls end up in the industry to make extra money.