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June 15, 2021
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More needs to be done to address instances of People Trafficking

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By Meriba Tulo – EMTV News, Port Moresby


On December 12th, Papua New Guinea commemorated the National Anti-Trafficking-In-Persons Day.

Whilst the issue of people-trafficking is not something that is openly talked about in Papua New Guinea, it is increasingly becoming a cause for concern.

On the occasion of National Anti-Trafficking-In-Persons Day, EMTV News spoke to several stakeholders, who have been working to address the issue of people trafficking within PNG.

It is an issue that has unfortunately increased over the years due to a lack of surveillance capacity by various agencies. The International Organization for Migration, IOM, has been working with relevant government agencies through a program initiated in 2010.

Spearheaded by the Department of Justice & Attorney General, efforts have been made to try to build the capacity of reporting agencies.

With people-trafficking an issue that crosses political borders, the US Embassy has also assisted efforts in PNG.

Drawing from its experience in other countries, it says PNG has good legislation; however, the challenge is in its implementation and enforcement.

“Up to now Papua New Guinea has done a very good job with the legal side and currently we’re now looking at sort of the next step, which is to see how those laws are implemented and how the government not necessarily, the NGO’s but the government agencies apply these laws. We’re looking out to see and hopefully an increase in identification of victims and the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators,” US Embassy Consular Chief, Micahel Mitchell said.

As PNG’s population continues to increase, there must also be an increase in efforts by relevant agencies to tackle people smuggling within the country.

According to the IOM, this is more so within certain industries, especially within the extractive resource sector.

“It’s not to say that Papua New Guinea and Papua New Guineans themselves are any more vulnerable than any other country in the world but we know from experience, globally, that whether it’s in the industries of the mining industries or the logging industries Cocoa etc. that these are industries globally where trafficking often exists. The exploitation of an individual for labor, for example, where there’s countries where there’s domestic servitude that’s also an area where we find a lot of trafficking globally,” IOM Chief of Mission, Lance Bonneau said.

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