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January 21, 2021
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US Ambassador Talks on Human Trafficking

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The United States of America’s Embassy in PNG has urged the national government and its stakeholders, to seriously combat human trafficking in the country.

US Ambassador to PNG, Walter North, said unfortunately, the Criminal Code Amendment Act 2012, passed in Parliament six months ago, is not yet in force in Papua New Guinea.

 

Ambassador North said this following an allegation that two young girls were given away, against their will, as compensation.  

 

The US Embassy reported that human trafficking estimates vary widely, but it is likely that somewhere between 12 million and 27 million human beings are suffering in bondage around the world.

 

For PNG, there are no clear statistics on how many trafficking victims are in the country, however, through media reports and public outcry, the US embassy responded.

 

Mr. North, said defined human trafficking as a form of modern day slavery. 

 

Mr. North said trafficking takes many forms, but in each case the victim gives up freedom through force, fraud, or peer or social pressure.

 

In each case, the victim is exploited and subjected to involuntary servitude.

He was responding to media reports of 2 girls given away in the Jiwaka Province against their will as compensation.

 

He expressed concern that the Criminal Code (Amendment) Act 2012, passed in Parliament six months ago, was commendable; however, it is yet to be enforced in the country.

 

The bill, if and when affected, would give Papua New Guinean law enforcement and prosecutors the necessary tools to address trafficking crimes as such.

 

The embassy has urged swift certification and gazettal of this legislation.

The Department of the State’s Office to Combat and Monitor Trafficking in Persons is funding a project to combat trafficking in human beings in Papua New Guinea through the International Organization for Migration. 

 

The project aims to strengthen the capacity of the Papua New Guinean government to prevent human trafficking, prosecute traffickers, and protect victims of trafficking.

 

The United States has vowed to work actively with the government and people to combat trafficking and help implement programs to combat corruption; increase transparency and improve governance in extractive industries; and improve the rule of law.

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