By Mickey Kavera – EM TV News, Port Moresby
The impounded ship Blissful Reefer remains docked at sea off the coast of Papua New Guinea, after being detained by the PNG Defence Force Navy near Daru last week.
The boat is believed to be involved in a human trafficking ring which saw eight people and 19 crew members held on the ship in slave-like conditions.
Iinternational Organisation for Migration, Customs and PNG immigration officials will interview and process the crew members shortly.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill voiced concern at the operation of human trafficking in the waters of PNG, describing the practice as “disgusting.”
He says PNG will engage with other regional partners to crackdown on these illegal activities in the region.
The International Organisation for Migration has commended the efforts of those involved in capturing the vessel, and will continue to monitor the region for subsequent vessels which may be a part of similar activities.
Papua New Guinea has upgraded from Tier 3 to Tier 2 in the 2015 US Trafficking in Persons Report, released last month, a result of increased efforts in eliminating human trafficking which also includes sex trafficking and forced labour.
During the human trafficking awareness session to commemorate the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, it was established that trafficking begins with the community and that educating everyone, from the bottom up, on understanding human trafficking and reporting on incidents is a fundamental step forward in order to make such actions cease.