By Gynnie Kero
A United States report into human trafficking in PNG does not reflect progress being made over the recent years, according to International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
The State Department said foreign and local women in PNG were subjected to sex trafficking, domestic servitude and forced begging, while men were subjected to forced labour in logging and mining camps.
Chief of mission George Gigauri said IOM felt that the US report was a reflection of the insufficient speed in progress in counter-trafficking in the country.
According to the annual human trafficking report, PNG’s ranking declined from the Tier 2 watch list last year to Tier 3 this year.
The report outlined numerous trafficking issues in PNG, saying the country “is a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour.”
“Foreign and local women and children are subjected to sex trafficking, domestic servitude and forced begging or street vending,” the report said.
“Foreign and local men are subjected to forced labour in logging and mining camps as well as on fishing vessels operating in Papua New Guinea’s exclusive economic zone.”
The report estimated that 19 per cent of the country’s labour market comprised child workers, “some of whom are subjected to forced labour or prostitution.”
Furthermore, government officials reportedly facilitate trafficking by accepting bribes to allow undocumented migrants to enter the country or ignore trafficking situations.
Gigauri said: “There is progress to combat human trafficking and we’re confident that if efforts continue next year, PNG will be upgraded again.”
He said the government was starting to implement anti-human trafficking laws introduced in 2013 and government departments were working out how to crack down on illegal practices.
“The main coordinating agency is the Department of Justice, others are the police and Customs, Immigration and Fisheries,” Gigauri said.
By Gynnie Kero