PAPUA New Guinea has become the destination for human traffickers who smuggle in women and young girls for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labour in various industries, according to Soroptimist International (SI).
As part of the observation on the 20days Human Rights Activism to stop violence against women and children for this year, SI held a mini forum at the Anglicare StopAIDS centre yesterday on human trafficking.
The forum was told that young girls and women were brought to PNG from countries like Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and China to be sex slaves.
It was revealed that “domestic” trafficking was happening in PNG where young girls were being sold by their own families to work in night clubs and illegal brothels.
The presenters shared some stories of domestic trafficking which shocked the audience.
In one of the stories; some men from Gulf province sold young girls in their own village to Highlands men who used these girls as sex slaves for expatriate men.
Another similar story; families of young girls in the Cape Rodney area of Central province, sold girls to some Highlands and Asian men for the same purpose.
It was said that traffickers who pay for women and young girls, promised their victims and their families of a brighter future in education, employment and money but that was not always the case.
In the end, the victims are neglected by their perpetrators and find it hard to return to their families.
Unfortunately for PNG, there is no proper legislation in place to prosecute human traffickers.
Florence Bunari of SI, said offenders could be prosecuted under the Slavery Act in PNG but the problem was that people were not aware of their basic human rights.
In order for a proper legislation to be in place, there needs to be hard evidence such as the compilation of data and analysis of human trafficking victims and survivors in the country.
Currently that is lacking and so young girls and women are still being abused.
“We, as partners, can network with each other, track and rescue victims from the source, transit and destination countries.
“Even domestic trafficking from one village to another,” Ms Bunari said.