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May 9, 2021

IOM and PNG Justice Department Seek Community Support in Eradication of Human Trafficking

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The Department for Justice and Attorney General (DJAG) with assistance from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) have vowed to eradicate trafficking of persons and called for social and community support to root out this heinous crime from Papua New Guinea.

“Despite many challenges, the government has made good headway in combating trafficking and it’s vital we continue to support law enforcement and judiciary in this process. IOM is committed to providing all-out support that PNG authorities require to eradicate this modern day slavery,” said George Gigauri, Chief of Mission for IOM PNG.

He further noted, “The biggest IOM-DJAG joint achievement so far is the official recognition of human trafficking and people smuggling as a crime in PNG. On 30 June 2014, DJAG, with support from IOM, worked together with the National Human Trafficking Committee (NHTC) and other stakeholders to get the relevant law passed. We will continue providing vital assistance to the DJAG and other stakeholders.”

Since 2010 IOM has worked in partnership with DJAG on various counter-trafficking initiatives such as the rescue and repatriation of victims of trafficking. Over the past five years, a total of 431 officers from both law enforcement agencies and NGOs have been trained on various aspects of counter-trafficking with 68 community awareness and 16 counter trafficking sessions conducted in various parts of PNG.

“Trafficking in persons is an extreme violation of human rights across the globe. It is a crime that targets women and men, girls and boys, and exploits them for abhorrent forms such as forced labour and forced criminality. It affects us all”, said DJAG Secretary Dr. Lawrence Kalinoe.

In response to the 2016 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Susan Coppedge, said that there is still much to be done in anti-trafficking.

“We are encouraged by governments and organizations using creative and collaborative methods to prevent human trafficking, yet much work remains. Among the areas for improvement highlighted in the narratives are the need to increase protection for domestic workers, to root out corrupt and complicit officials who are themselves either engaged in or benefiting from trafficking, to not penalise victims for crimes committed as a direct result of being trafficked, and to increase support services available to victims,” said Coppedge.

IOM and DJAG over the last few months have conducted a series of trainings on victim identification. A total of 96 frontline officers from law enforcement agencies and NGOs now have a greater understanding of victim identification and addressing their specific needs. More so, these officers can now provide a required level of protection to victims of trafficking.

IOM’s work on TIP has definitely not gone unnoticed with peacekeepers currently being trained on counter trafficking. This is seen as a very strategic partnership and will further shed light on countering trafficking in PNG and across the globe.

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