NEWS

Konrote: Fiji Not Consulted By Americans Over Trafficking Report

Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations Jioji Konrote says he is not aware or was consulted over a human trafficking report. The report, highlighted by United States Secretary of
01 Aug 2015 10:02
Konrote: Fiji Not Consulted By Americans Over Trafficking Report
Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations Jioji Konrote

Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations Jioji Konrote says he is not aware or was consulted over a human trafficking report.

The report, highlighted by United States Secretary of State John Kerry, claims Fiji is a source country for women and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour.

Fiji is also described as a transit and destination country for Asian men and women subjected to forced labor and forced prostitution.

Mr Konrote asked last night: “Where did they get their data from? Who did they speak to here?”

He suspected those responsible for the report might have got their information from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) which also has an office in Suva.

Mr Konrote made it clear that at no time was he contacted to verify the report. He was concerned with the content because it “affected the integrity of our sovereignty.”

The report claims Fijian women and children are subjected to trafficking abroad or in cities for sexual exploitation or as domestic workers.

“Women from China, Thailand, Malaysia, and other East Asian countries are deceptively recruited in their home countries or while visiting Fiji, sometimes by Chinese criminal organisations,” the report says.

“These women reportedly are exploited in illegal brothels (posing as massage parlors and spas), local hotels, private homes, small and informal farms and factories, and other rural and urban locations.

“Fiji’s liberal visa requirements—which allow nationals of 132 nations to enter the country without acquiring a visa—coupled with Fiji’s role as a regional transportation hub, may contribute to Fiji being a transit area for human trafficking.

Workers from Cambodia, the Philippines, Burma, Indonesia, North Korea, China, Singapore, and other Asian countries are deceptively recruited in their home countries and transit through Fiji or board fishing vessels from Fiji ports and waters.

They live in poor living conditions, accrue debt larger than promised wages, and work for little or no compensation on foreign fishing vessels, mainly Chinese and Taiwanese, in Pacific waters.

“Family members, taxi drivers, foreign tourists, businessmen, and crew on foreign fishing vessels have been alleged to participate in the prostitution of Fijian children.

“Some Fijian children are at risk of human trafficking as families follow a traditional practice of sending them to live with relatives or families in larger cities; these children may be subjected to domestic servitude or coerced to engage in sexual activity in exchange for food, clothing, shelter, or school fees.

“Fijian children may also be subjected to forced labor in agriculture, begging, and industrial sectors.

“The Government of Fiji does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so.

“During the reporting period, the Fijian Government convicted two men in the country’s first domestic trafficking case.”

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

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