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Street Children

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                          

Republic of Kiribati

A remote country of 33 scattered coral atolls, Kiribati has few natural resources and is one of the least developed Pacific Islands. Commercially viable phosphate deposits were exhausted at the time of independence from the UK in 1979. Copra and fish now represent the bulk of production and exports. The economy has fluctuated widely in recent years. Economic development is constrained by a shortage of skilled workers, weak infrastructure, and remoteness from international markets. Tourism provides more than one-fifth of GDP.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Kiribati

Scope and Magnitude [June 2008] During the last year, international organizations and NGOs expressed concerns that internal trafficking of underage girls for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation by crews of foreign and local fishing vessels takes place occasionally in Kiribati. It is reported that approximately 17 girls were involved in commercial sexual exploitation in South Tarawa and Christmas Island. There is anecdotal evidence that a few third parties, sometimes including family members, facilitated commercial sexual exploitation of minors. Crews from Taiwanese and South Korean fishing vessels reportedly exploited underage girls on board for commercial sexual exploitation. - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2008 [full country report] … Also, check out this country report, located in the more recent edition TIP Report


CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Kiribati.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated 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 Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  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.

*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Kiribati

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 13 June 2021]


The constitution and laws prohibit most forms of forced or compulsory labor, with some exceptions regarding times of emergency or “calamity.” The law prescribes penalties of fines and imprisonment that are commensurate with those for similar serious crimes. The government enforced the law, and there were no reports of forced labor.


Child labor existed primarily in the informal economy. There were allegations of minors involved in sexual activity with foreign fishing crews, receiving cash, alcohol, food, or goods (see section 6, Children).

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 23 July 2020]


There are few economic opportunities in Kiribati, with most citizens engaged in subsistence agriculture. Although forced labor and other exploitative working conditions are uncommon, local women and girls are vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation, often involving the crews of visiting ships.

In 2015, Kiribati adopted the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which restricted children and adolescents from a list of professions considered dangerous. That same year, it adopted the Employment and Industrial Relations Act, which set the minimum employment age for most work at 14 years and the minimum age for “hazardous” work at 18.

2017 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, 2018

[accessed 18 April 2019]

[accessed 30 April 2020]

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

[page 576]

In 2017, Kiribati made a minimal advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The government established a mechanism for receiving labor complaints, including child labor complaints. However, although research is limited, there is evidence that children in Kiribati perform dangerous tasks in construction and street vending. Existing laws do not identify hazardous occupations and activities prohibited for children, and the government has not adopted a national policy to combat the worst forms of child labor.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 29 September 2006

[accessed 12 October 2012]

[42] ADOPTION - The Committee notes the practice of “informal adoption,” but is concerned that in some cases, the best interests of the child are not fully respected. The Committee is also concerned that the absence of monitoring and regulations may result in illegal domestic or intercountry adoption.

The Protection Project - Kiribati [DOC]

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

[accessed 2009]

TRAFFICKING ROUTESDespite a lack of specific evidence on trafficking, Kiribati is believed to be a transit country for trafficking in persons from China en route to the Marshall Islands, Australia, Canada, and the United States.


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 9 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – The law does not prohibit trafficking in persons, but there were no reports that persons were trafficked to, from, or within the country.

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 28 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 - Part IX, Section 84 of the Employment Ordinance, Employment of Children and Other Young Persons, sets the minimum age for employment at 14 years, and children under 16 years are prohibited from industrial employment or jobs aboard ships. Although there is no law specifically prohibiting the worst forms of child labor in Kiribati, there are statutes under which the worst forms can be prosecuted. The Constitution prohibits forced labor.

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