PAPUA NEW GUINEA (Tier 3) [Extracted from U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June 2009]
Papua New Guinea is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Women and children are trafficked within the country for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and domestic servitude; men are trafficked to logging and mining camps for the purpose of forced labor. Women and children from Malaysia, Thailand, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and the Philippines are trafficked to Papua New Guinea for forced prostitution and PRC men are trafficked to the country for forced labor. Chinese organized crime groups still may traffic some Asian women and girls through Papua New Guinea to Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand, and other countries for forced prostitution and forced labor, though less frequently than in the past. Unique and enduring cultural practices in Papua New Guinea reinforce the perception of females and children as commodities - families often sell minor girls into marriages to settle their debts; tribes trade females for guns and political advantage; men compensate the relatives of a girl they have raped with a payment of pigs. Young girls sold into marriage are often also forced into domestic servitude for the husband’s extended family. The majority of foreign victims voluntarily migrate to Papua New Guinea with valid passports and visas, lured by Chinese organized crime units, foreign logging companies, and Papuan businessmen with false offers to work as engineers, secretaries, cooks, and guards. After arrival in Papua New Guinea, most of the female victims are coerced into prostitution and domestic servitude at logging and mining camps. Foreign and Papuan men are more often exploited for labor at the camps. They work excessive hours in dangerous conditions, frequently with little or no safety gear. Many of these men are also compelled to continue working for the company indefinitely through induced debt bondage. Employers escalate the victims’ indebtedness to the company by cutting workers’ agreed-upon wages, taking unjustifiable payroll deductions and artificially inflating prices at the only place in the region employees can buy food, the company store. Government officials facilitate trafficking by accepting bribes to allow illegal migrants to enter the country or to ignore victims forced into prostitution or labor, by receiving female trafficking victims in return for political favors, and by providing female victims in return for votes.
The Government of Papua New Guinea does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. The government acknowledges the existence of forced labor in PNG, but denies the widespread sex trafficking of women and children. Some corrupt government and law enforcement officials accept bribes to ignore trafficking-related activity. Despite evidence of a trafficking problem, to date no suspected trafficking offender has been arrested, prosecuted, or convicted of a human trafficking offense. The government lacks a systematic procedure to identify victims of trafficking in vulnerable populations, such as foreign women or children in prostitution, and has done little to prevent trafficking in Papua New Guinea.
Recommendations for Papua New Guinea: Continue the process of drafting and enacting legislation that prohibits and punishes all forms of trafficking; increase collaboration with civil society, religious, and tribal leaders to raise awareness about trafficking, including the need to reduce demand for forced labor and commercial sex acts; investigate, prosecute and punish officials who facilitate or benefit from trafficking; develop and institute a formal procedure to identify victims of trafficking among vulnerable groups; ensure victims of trafficking are not arrested, deported, or otherwise punished for acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked; and train law enforcement officers on victim identification and protection.