PAPUA NEW GUINEA: TIER 3

PAPUA NEW GUINEA: TIER 3 

The Government of Papua New Guinea does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; therefore Papua New Guinea was downgraded to Tier 3. Despite the lack of significant efforts, the government took some steps to address trafficking, including initiating the first investigation of a government official under the country’s anti-trafficking law. However, an acute lack of financial and human resources dedicated to trafficking, as well as very low awareness among government officials and the public, hindered progress. The government did not provide or fund protective services for victims, did not systematically implement its victim identification procedures, and did not identify any trafficking victims in 2017. It also did not initiate any prosecutions and did not achieve a single trafficking conviction for the fifth consecutive year.

Read the full 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report here: https://www.state.gov/reports/2018-trafficking-in-persons-report/

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Disseminate, implement, and widely train police, immigration, and customs enforcement officers on the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for victim identification, referral, and protection; investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses and convict and apply strong sentences to traffickers, including family members and officials who facilitate or directly benefit from trafficking; in collaboration with civil society, screen for indicators of trafficking among fishermen apprehended for illegal fishing or immigration crimes; work with NGOs and international organizations to increase protective services for victims of trafficking; to protect victims from arrest, deportation, or other punishment for acts committed as a direct result of being subjected to trafficking, clarify who has the authority to designate an individual as a trafficking victim and simplify the process for doing so; allocate resources, including dedicated staff, to government agencies to implement the national action plan and SOPs; increase collaboration with civil society, private sector, religious, and community leaders to raise awareness of and reduce demand for forced labor and commercial sex acts, especially of children; strengthen the national trafficking committee by designating senior officials to represent their agencies; and accede to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.

PROSECUTION

The government decreased law enforcement efforts in 2017. The Criminal Code Amendment of 2013 criminalized sex and labor trafficking and prescribed penalties of up to 20 years imprisonment. These penalties were sufficiently stringent and, with respect to sex trafficking, commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. The police initiated investigations into one individual suspected of trafficking in 2017, compared with three in 2016. The police investigated a police commander for allegedly subjecting eight women to sex and labor trafficking; this was the first trafficking case involving a complicit official under the anti-trafficking law. Authorities did not initiate prosecutions of any suspects in 344 PARAGUAY2017, compared with three in 2016. One prosecution initiated in 2016 was still ongoing and awaiting trial. Similar to past years, the government did not achieve any trafficking convictions. An international organization partnered with the government to conduct trainings for government officials. The government provided the venue and logistical support and co-facilitated some training sessions. The national action plan outlined future government-led trainings with the goal of implementing government agencies institutionalizing and delivering the training package. Provincial officials’ limited understanding of trafficking hindered effective law enforcement activity. Enforcement agencies and most government offices remained weak as a result of underfunding, corruption, cronyism, a lack of accountability, and a promotion system based on patronage.

PROTECTION

The government decreased efforts to protect victims. Authorities and civil society organizations did not identify any new victims, compared with six victims identified in 2016 and 31 in 2015. Although officials seized three foreign vessels for illegal fishing and trafficking in 2016, they did not apprehend any vessels in 2017. Logging and mining sites primarily operated in remote regions with negligible government oversight, and authorities did not make efforts to identify sex or labor trafficking victims at these sites. The government maintained their SOPs for victim identification; however, authorities lacked a written guide as recommended in the national action plan. The government provided law enforcement agencies rapid screening forms and related victim identification training; however, police continued to rely upon foreign expert assistance to identify victims. Civil society organizations provided medical and short-term shelter services to victims without financial or in-kind support from the government. Male victims could receive ad hoc services and female victims could receive services through NGO-run genderbased violence programs; there were no services specifically tailored to the needs of trafficking victims. The victim identification procedures included guidance for protecting foreign victims from punishment for immigration crimes committed as a result of trafficking. However, authorities punished some victims for such crimes due to challenges in interagency coordination and a lack of clarity over who had the authority to verify an individual as a victim of trafficking. Authorities arrested and prosecuted children who were forced to pan for gold in areas where this activity was illegal; the national trafficking committee was working to have these children recognized as trafficking victims at the close of the reporting period. The law provided legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they may face hardship or retribution, but the government did not report offering this protection to any victim in 2017. The government allowed “ongoing stay” for trafficking victims but lacked provisions for victims to seek compensation through civil suits.

PREVENTION

The government maintained minimal efforts to prevent trafficking. The national trafficking committee met quarterly in 2017. Committee members participated in monitoring visits to gather information from a variety of stakeholders on their awareness of trafficking. The government did not demonstrate measurable progress in the implementation of its national plan of action, or the government-led training or referral processes. The government did not conduct any awareness-raising campaigns or community outreach to educate the public about trafficking indicators. The government did not make efforts to decrease the demand for forced labor or commercial sex acts. The government did not have effective policies to regulate foreign labor recruiters or hold recruiters liable for fraudulent recruiting. Papua New Guinea is not a party to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol. The government did not provide anti-trafficking training to its diplomatic personnel.

TRAFFICKING PROFILE

As reported over the past five years, Papua New Guinea is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Foreign and local women and children are subjected to sex trafficking, domestic servitude, forced labor in the tourism sector, and forced begging and street vending. An international NGO conducted research with sex trafficking victims and concluded approximately 30 percent were children under the age of 18 and some were as young as 10 years old. Children are reportedly subjected to sex trafficking or forced labor by members of their immediate family or tribe. Parents force children to beg or sell goods on the street and sell or force their daughters into marriages or child sex trafficking to settle debts or to support their families. Marriages in Papua New Guinea commonly involve a “bride price” of money or chattel paid to the wife’s family by the husband’s family; this is sometimes used as a debt to compel women to remain in abusive or servile marriages. Young girls sold into polygamous marriages may be forced into domestic service for their husbands’ extended families or exploited in sex trafficking. Within the country, children and women may be exploited with promises of legitimate work or education to travel to different provinces where they are subjected to sex trafficking or domestic servitude. Tribal leaders reportedly trade with each other the exploitative labor and service of girls and women for guns and to forge political alliances. Malaysian and Chinese logging companies arrange for some foreign women to enter the country voluntarily with fraudulently issued tourist or business visas. After their arrival, many of these women—from countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, China, and the Philippines—are turned over to traffickers who transport them to logging and mining camps, fisheries, and entertainment sites, and exploit them in forced prostitution and domestic servitude. Chinese, Malaysian, and local men are subjected to forced labor at commercial mines and logging camps, as well as on fishing vessels operating in Papua New Guinea’s exclusive economic zone, where some receive little pay and are compelled to continue working for the company indefinitely through debt bondage. Vietnamese, Burmese, Cambodian, and local men and boys are subjected to forced labor on fishing vessels; they face little to no pay, harsh working conditions, and debt bondage, and many are compelled to fish illegally, making them vulnerable to arrest. Government officials reportedly facilitate trafficking by accepting bribes to allow undocumented migrants to enter the country or ignore trafficking situations, and some may exploit sex trafficking victims or procure victims for other individuals in return for political favors or votes.

 

SOLOMON ISLANDS: TIER 2

The Government of the Solomon Islands does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government demonstrated increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period; therefore the Solomon Islands remained on Tier 2. The government demonstrated increasing efforts by initiating its first two prosecutions of suspected traffickers and investigating the parents of two child victims, further amending its legal framework to provide additional protections for children against all forms of trafficking, and implementing victim identification procedures. However, the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas. Victim protection was severely lacking as the government did not provide resources such as shelter and psycho-social support for all victims. Low awareness among government officials and the public hindered progress, yet the government did not conduct any anti-trafficking training.

Read the full 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report here: https://www.state.gov/reports/2018-trafficking-in-persons-report/

 

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE SOLOMON ISLANDS

Investigate and prosecute both sex and labor trafficking offenses and convict and punish traffickers with dissuasive prison sentences; amend anti-trafficking laws to ensure that the penalties for sex trafficking offenses occurring outside Solomon Islands are commensurate with the penalties for other grave crimes, such as rape; increase efforts to identify sex and labor trafficking victims, including in the fishing, logging, and mining industries; provide training on human trafficking laws and victim identification procedures to immigration officials, law enforcement officers, and social service providers, including at the provincial level; increase government support for victim services, including through the allocation of funding; institute a campaign to raise public awareness of human trafficking; allocate funding to relevant ministries to implement the national action plan for combating trafficking in persons; and accede to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.

PROSECUTION

The government increased law enforcement efforts. The penal code, together with provisions in the Immigration Act, criminalized sex and labor trafficking. Article 143 of the penal code criminalized child sex trafficking and prescribed penalties of up to 15 or 20 years imprisonment, based on the child’s age. Article 145 of the penal code criminalized sex and labor trafficking when the offense occurred within the country and prescribed penalties of up to 15 years imprisonment. These penalties were sufficiently stringent and, with respect to sex trafficking, commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. The Immigration Act criminalized other forms of trafficking, including crimes in which the recruitment, transportation, harboring, or receipt of the trafficking victim occurred outside the Solomon Islands. The Immigration Act prescribed penalties of up to five years imprisonment, a fine of up to 45,000 Solomon Island dollars ($6,010), or both for the trafficking of adults; it prescribed a penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment, a fine of up to 90,000 Solomon Island dollars ($12,010), or both for the trafficking of children. These penalties were sufficiently stringent, but with respect to sex trafficking, not commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious offenses. The government prosecuted its first two alleged sex traffickers 387 (no prosecutions or convictions recorded in previous reporting SOUTH AFRICA periods). Authorities prosecuted two suspected sex traffickers accused of exploiting two child victims from the Solomon Islands at logging camps. In each case, law enforcement was also investigating the victims’ parents for engaging in and benefiting from child sex trafficking. Due to inadequate funding at enforcement agencies, authorities were slow to respond to reports of trafficking. Law enforcement lacked logistical resources and technical expertise to pursue investigations. The government did not initiate or conduct any training programs. A foreign government conducted training for law enforcement officials on human trafficking investigations with logistical support from the government. Many officials remained unaware of anti-trafficking legislation and an overall lack of awareness of trafficking hindered effective law enforcement activity. The government did not conduct any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government officials complicit in trafficking offenses.

PROTECTION

The government maintained efforts to protect trafficking victims. It continued implementing victim identification guidelines and a screening tool to assess potential cases. The government conducted multi-agency monitoring and inspection operations at logging, mining, and fishing operation sites. The government reported identifying two victims. In comparison, authorities identified 11 trafficking victims in 2016 and 15 victims in 2015. No trafficking-specific services existed in the country; however, one local organization operated a shelter in Honiara for domestic violence victims that could provide shelter to female sex trafficking victims. Police referred one sex trafficking victim to the shelter and trauma counseling through an international NGO. The government provided a total of 700,000 Solomon Islands dollars ($93,450) to fund the shelter and provide victim services. A lack of long-term protective services left victims vulnerable to re-trafficking after being returned to their home communities. No shelter services existed for victims of labor trafficking. The Immigration Act granted the government authority to provide temporary residence permits to allow foreign victims to assist police with investigations and provided victims protection from prosecution for immigration-related crimes committed as a result of being subjected to trafficking. The government did not report whether these protections would be extended to victims whose cases were investigated under the penal code. Authorities may have arrested and prosecuted sex trafficking victims for prostitution violations without screening to determine whether they were trafficking victims. Due to lengthy legal processes, fear of retaliation by traffickers or prosecution by police, and a lack of incentives to remain and participate in cases, foreign victims typically opted to return to their home countries, which hindered prosecutions. The government reported trafficking victims were able to seek compensation from their employers through civil suits, although no trafficking victims had filed such suits.

PREVENTION

The government maintained limited efforts to prevent trafficking. The Anti-Human Trafficking Advisory Committee (AHTAC), which included members of the government and civil society, met on a quarterly basis. The AHTAC continued implementation of the 2015-2020 national action plan. The government promulgated the Child and Welfare Act in 2017 to strengthen the Solomon Islands penal code, providing protection for children against sexual and trafficking crimes. As a result of increased monitoring by the authorities, logging companies reportedly changed their recruitment policy to increase compliance with foreign employment recruitment laws. The government targeted specific communities for public awareness last year. The government investigated a report of child sex trafficking at one of the logging camps in Temotu Province and met with the local community in the province to conduct public awareness sessions on sex trafficking. The government did not report taking action to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts or forced labor. The government did not provide anti-trafficking training for its diplomatic personnel. The Solomon Islands was not a party to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.

TRAFFICKING PROFILE

As reported over the past five years, the Solomon Islands is a source, transit, and destination country for local and Southeast Asian men and women subjected to forced labor and forced prostitution, and local children subjected to sex and labor trafficking. Women from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines pay large recruitment fees for jobs and upon arrival are forced into prostitution. Men from Indonesia and Malaysia, recruited to work in logging and mining industries, are subjected to forced labor. Fishermen from Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and Fiji have reported situations indicative of labor trafficking, including non-payment of wages, severe living conditions, violence, and limited food supply on Taiwan-flagged fishing vessels in the Solomon Islands’ territorial waters and ports. Traffickers subject Solomon Island children to sex trafficking and forced labor within the country, sometimes in exchange for money or goods, particularly near foreign logging camps, on foreign and local commercial fishing vessels, and at hotels and entertainment establishments. Girls and young women are recruited for domestic work and some are subsequently exploited in prostitution at the logging camps. Some parents receive payments for sending young women and girls into forced marriages with foreign workers at logging and mining companies; many of them are exploited in domestic servitude or prostitution. To pay off debts, families may offer their children for “informal adoption,” and the adopted family or guardians subject them to forced labor or sexual servitude. Traffickers at logging camps force young males to work as domestic servants and cooks.