Last Updated: Jun 5, 2008 - 5:25:52 PM

Fiji, PNG added to people trafficking list
Jun 5, 2008 - 5:24:34 PM

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Fiji and Papua New Guinea have been added to a United States blacklist of countries trafficking in people.

The Tier Three blacklist is contained in the US State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons report.

The report analyses efforts in 170 countries to combat trafficking for forced labour, prostitution, military service and other purposes.

Our Pacific correspondent, Campbell Cooney, says the report claims Fiji is a source country for children trafficked for sexual exploitation, and a destination for women from China and India for forced labour and exploitation.

It also claims Papua New Guinea is the destination for women and children from Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and China for sexual exploitation in cities, towns and isolated logging and mining camps.

Remaining on the Tier Three list are Sudan, Syria, Algeria, Iran, Burma and Cuba, while Malaysia and Bahrain have been removed.

In introducing the report, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said human trafficking deprives people of their human rights and dignity, and "bankrolls the growth of organised crime".

"The petty tyrants who exploit their labourers rarely recieve serious punishment," she said.

"We and our allies must remember that a robust law enforcement response is essential."

Meanwhile, the Netherlands has allocated $US2.5 million for the elimination of child labour in Papua New Guinea.

The National newspaper reports the funding is part of a 36-month program that also covers Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

PNG acting deputy secretary for Labour and Industrial Relations, Martin Kase, says the program will help determine the extent of child labour in the country.

He says current data is inadequate.

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