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The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                            

Republic of the Fiji Islands

Fiji, endowed with forest, mineral, and fish resources, is one of the most developed of the Pacific island economies though still with a large subsistence sector. Sugar exports, remittances from Fijians working abroad, and a growing tourist industry - with 400,000 to 500,000 tourists annually - are the major sources of foreign exchange.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Fiji

CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Fiji.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated, misleading or even false.   No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of child prostitution are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring how children got started, how they survive, and how some succeed in leaving.  Perhaps your paper could focus on runaways and the abuse that led to their leaving.  Other factors of interest might be poverty, rejection, drug dependence, coercion, violence, addiction, hunger, neglect, etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the manipulative and dangerous adults who control this activity.  There is a lot to the subject of Child Prostitution.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.


The Commercial Sexual Exploitation And Sexual Abuse Of Children In FIJI: A SITUATIONAL ANALYSIS [PDF]

A Project of Save the Children - Fiji

[accessed 4 October 2012]

[3.1.1] TYPES OF COMMERCIAL SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN - There is a general consensus across communities and amongst NGOs working on these issues, that the general age of those involved in prostitution is decreasing. The observations of the research team on the streets and in the nightclubs of Suva and Savusavu, and from media reports and anecdotal evidence support this view. There is also a general consensus that while girls are the predominant group involved in prostitution an increasing number of boys are becoming involved too. A local Magistrate when interviewed stated that in the last two years there has been a gradual increase in the number of cases involving young boys working as prostitutes come through the courts.


*** ARCHIVES ***

ECPAT Country Overview [PDF]

Rosalind Fennell, ECPAT International, June 2019

[accessed 28 August 2020]

Desk review of existing information on the sexual exploitation of children (SEC) in Fiji, Pacific. The overview gathers existing publicly available information on sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism (SECTT), online child sexual exploitation (OCSE), trafficking of children for sexual purposes, sexual exploitation of children through prostitution, child early and forced marriage (CEFM) and identifies gaps, research needs, and recommendations

Human Rights Reports » 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 10, 2020

[accessed 28 August 2020]

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN - Commercial sexual exploitation of children continued. It is an offense for any person to buy or hire a child younger than age 18 for sex, exploitation in prostitution, or other unlawful purpose; the offense is punishable by a maximum 12 years’ imprisonment. No prosecutions or convictions for trafficking of children occurred during the year.

It is an offense for a householder or innkeeper to allow commercial sexual exploitation of children in his or her premises. There were no known prosecutions or convictions for such offenses during the year.

Some high-school-age children and homeless and jobless youth were trafficked for commercial sex during the year, and there were reports of child sex tourism in tourist centers, such as Nadi and Savusavu. Commercial sexual exploitation of children was perpetuated by family members, taxi drivers, foreign tourists, businessmen, and crew members on foreign fishing vessels. The NGO Pacific Dialogue and the International Labor Organization claimed to have received reports of children engaging in organized prostitution, including being advertised online.

The minimum age for consensual sex is 16. The court of appeals has ruled that 10 years is the minimum appropriate sentence for child rape, but police often charged defendants with “defilement” rather than rape because defilement was easier to prove in court. Defilement or unlawful carnal knowledge of a child younger than age 13 has a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, while the maximum penalty for defilement of a child ages 13 to 15, or of a person with intellectual disabilities, is 10 years’ imprisonment.

Child pornography is illegal. The maximum penalty is 14 years in prison, a fine of FJD 25,000 ($11,400), or both for a first offense; and life imprisonment, a maximum fine of FJD 50,000 ($22,900), or both for a repeat offense, and the confiscation of any equipment used in the commission of the crime.

The law requires mandatory reporting to police by teachers and health and social-welfare workers of any incident of child abuse.

2018 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, US Dept of Labor, 2019

[accessed 28 August 2020]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

[page 510]

During the reporting period, the NGO Pacific Dialogue and ILO claimed to have received reports of children engaging in organized prostitution, including being advertised online.(7) Commercial sexual exploitation of children continued to occur in Fiji, particularly by family members, taxi drivers, foreign tourists, businessmen, and crew on foreign fishing vessels. (1,3,11-13,17) Parents sometimes send their children to live with families in cities or near schools to facilitate their continuing education and to perform light household work. Research found that some of these children are vulnerable to involuntary domestic work or are forced to engage in sexual activity in exchange for food, clothing, or shelter.(3,17-19)

Children as young as 13 involved in sex trade

Geraldine Coutts, Australian Broadcasting Corporation ABC Radio Australia, Oct 20, 2008

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 14 May 2011]

LEE: The Fiji Womens Crisis Centre says vulnerable children are increasingly finding themselves hanging around ports, attracted to the sex trade that often occurs off shore.  It's also claimed that children are being employed as prostitutes by pimps who also double as taxi drivers, as well as attracting paedophiles on the streets.  The Center's co-ordinator, Shamima Ali, says they're investigating yatchties who allegedly lure young children to swim out to sea and hop on board to perform sex acts in exchange for less than twenty dollars.  ALI: We're expressing concern that maybe these children are being taken around and being passed on to other people and so on. They are very vulnerable children, particularly given the poverty sitution of the economy in Fiji at the moment.

When child labour is not legal

The Fiji Times

[Last access date unavailable]

Some of the worst forms of child labour globally are drug trafficking, pornography and child prostitution.  Fiji is one of the countries where child labour has existed and one of the worst forms of child labour here is child prostitution, which is not to a great extent, but it does exist.

Labour rights and wrongs

The Fiji Times

[Last access date unavailable]

Until such time, we do not have concrete statistics but some of the worst forms of child labour exists here like child prostitution.  In the child committee meeting, even the police force also recognised that there are some child prostitutes and sometimes children are seen to be carrying drugs.  It has also been reported that children are used for pornographic purposes, so these are the worst forms of child labour and sometimes you hear of reports that these sort of things exist. There are some cases in Fiji.

Pacific Island children risk sex abuse

Pacific Island News Association (Fiji) Pacnews, Wellington, 15 December 2006

[accessed 14 May 2011]

Children in Pacific Island countries are at high risk of being traded for sex by family members and friends, a United Nations study has found, Stuff NZ reports.  The report from studies in five Pacific Island countries found an alarming degree of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and that "children are most at risk in their homes and communities and with people they know and trust".

The report, by the UN Children's Fund Pacific, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and End Child Prostitution, and Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes, is based on studies in 2004 and 2005 in Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

The report in its summary said the five studies confirmed that in each country children were sexually abused by family members and neighbours, and that child prostitution, child pornography, early marriage, child sex tourism and trafficking occurred.

The Protection Project - Fiji [DOC]

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins University

[accessed 2009]

FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO THE TRAFFICKING INFRASTRUCTUREPacific Island children may be particularly vulnerable targets for child sex tourists. As the South Pacific emerges as a huge tourist destination, and as police crack down on sex tourists, both in their home countries (such as Australia) and in the more popular destination countries in Asia, there is growing concern that child sex tourism and associated activities are on the increase in the region.

FORMS OF TRAFFICKING - As recently as late December 2003, Fiji police expressed concern over the increasing number of girls who were “choosing prostitution as a career.” Girls ranging in age from 13 to their mid-20s can be seen working on the streets

Five Years After Stockholm [PDF]

ECPAT: Fifth Report on implementation of the Agenda for Action

ECPAT International, November 2001

[accessed 13 September 2011]

[B] COUNTRY UPDATES – FIJIFiji has not developed a national plan of action due to the political crisis and a lack of funds. A committee has been set up to coordinate actions dealing with childcare policy. The Fiji Council of Social Services has done work in the areas of prevention and child participation; however, it is not known whether this is CSEC specific.

Another Aspect of the Sodomy Case

Shobhna Decloitre, Media/Promotions Officer, Fiji Human Rights Commission, September 1, 2005

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 15 May 2011]

The Fiji Human Rights Commission believes that a clear signal should be given to foreign visitors and local people that authorities, including courts in Fiji , do not take kindly to sexual exploitation of Fiji citizens.

Some years ago, a case of sexual exploitation of children in Fiji was in the limelight. The infamous Mark Mutch case involved an expatriate in Fiji who sexually exploited vulnerable children by producing pornographic materials. Mutch was charged with rape and indecent assault on children of a young age. He first assisted them by paying their school fees and also supporting their families financially, thus gaining their trust and confidence.

In the trial during the Mark Mutch case, the judge said "let the message be very clear to people like Mutch that any kind of sexual exploitation of children will not be tolerated in the Republic of the Fiji Islands ." A similar disapproval should attach to commercial sex trafficking generally.

What Makes Children Vulnerable to Sexual Exploitation?

ECPAT International

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 15 May 2011]

CONSUMERISM - In many developed countries young people are being pushed into prostitution, not as members of the underclass trying to escape grinding poverty but as members of the middle class who desire greater disposable income. They enter the sex trade because they are overwhelmed by the prospect of earning a lot of money quickly. They are enticed by peer pressure or powerful advertising, as well as the value that society places on expensive brand name products or luxury goods and services.

In Fiji, for example, there are reports of increased numbers of children prostituting themselves around Christmas to earn money for gifts.

Worst Forms of Child Labour Report 2005 - Fiji

Global March Against Child Labour, 2005

accessed 13 September 2012]

CHILD PROSTITUTION AND PORNOGRAPHY - There are reports of parents offering the sexual services of their own children for money to sailors from Korea and Taiwan who come to Fiji for refuelling. (UN Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, Report on Fiji, 27 December 1999)

Boys and girls in Fiji become involved in prostitution because of poverty, boredom, desire to earn money for extra spending, demand by tourists and lack of enforcement of education. (UN Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, Report on Fiji, 27 December 1999)

Child prostitution is happening in urban centres, says Adi Vulase of Safetynet Care Fiji, a non-profit organisation that looks into the welfare of homeless children. ("Fiji Kids in Sex Trade", Fiji Times, 29 October 1999, reprinted in Pacific Islands Report)

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, Ms. Ofelia Calcetas-Santos - Addendum

UN Economic and Social Council, Commission On Human Rights, Fifty-sixth session, 27 December 1999

[accessed 13 May 2011]


104. The Special Rapporteur is disturbed that the contagion of commercial exploitation of children does not seem to have spared even a relatively isolated country like Fiji. Reports received from both governmental and non-governmental sources indicate that children in Fiji are subject to exploitation through both prostitution and pornography. In her dialogues in Suva, the Special Rapporteur expressed her belief that even in the absence of hard data and statistics there are strong indicators pointing to the existence of these nefarious practices against children in the country. These indicators are inter alia: (a) the escalating number of street children, (b) drug, alcohol and substance abuse by children, (c) sexual violence, including incest, suffered by children and (d) a dependency upon tourism, the negative effects of which do not appear to have been taken into consideration by the Government.

Violation of Children’s and Women’s Rights: The Case of Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation [PDF]

Ms. Mehr Khan, UNICEF Regional Director, East Asia and Pacific Region, 12/6/2003 -- Paper Presentation

[accessed 16 April 2011]

[PAGE 40]  THE SCOPE AND NATURE OF THE PROBLEM IN THE EAP REGION - Although smaller in scale, the commercial sexual exploitation of children also appears to be escalating in the Pacific Islands, in particular in Fiji and the Solomon Islands, which are becoming major destinations for child sex tourism, especially for Australians.




The Department of Labor’s 2005 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor [PDF]

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2006

[accessed 10 November 2010]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

CHILD LABOR LAWS AND ENFORCEMENT – The Constitution prohibits forced labor, and the Penal Code prohibits the sale or hiring of minors less than 16 years of age for prostitution.

Human Rights Reports » 2006 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 6, 2007

[accessed 8 February 2020]

CHILDREN - Multiple reports suggested that child prostitution increased during the year. Child prostitution was evident in poverty-stricken urban areas and among homeless urban youth. Urban migration and the subsequent breakdown of community structures, children from outer islands living with relatives while attending high school, and homelessness all appeared to be factors that increased a child's chance of being exploited for commercial sex.

Increasing urbanization led to more children working as casual laborers, often with no safeguards against abuse or injury.


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