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Human Trafficking

Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

In the first decade of the 21st Century                                                       

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]


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 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 aspect(s) of street life are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring how children got there, how they survive, and how some manage to leave the street.  Perhaps your paper could focus on how some street children abuse the public and how they are abused by the public … and how they abuse each other.  Would you like to write about market children? homeless children?  Sexual and labor exploitation? begging? violence? addiction? hunger? neglect? etc.  There is a lot to the subject of Street Children.  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.


Homes for street people

Verenaisi Raicola, The Fiji Times OnLine, October 25, 2007

[accessed 17 January 2017]

In Fiji some street kids are based at home, some live in groups, some sleep on benches, in parks, abandoned buildings or church verandahs.  Most times these kids or adults could be exploited because of their vulnerability.  Some people could also gain from the street people's situation by posing to help them or be "Good Samaritans".

He said those who wanted to establish missions for street people should promote the strengthening and development of families as a proactive solution.

Mr Khan said the increase in the number of street children indicated the failure of Fiji's education and economic systems and the lack of social planning in developing a safety net for them.  Another looming issue was the care and protection of older street persons.  Psychotherapist Selina Kuruleca, who echoed similar sentiments, said there was an urgent need to monitor those that operated homes for street kids.  She said professional counselling was needed for the street people.

Nadi wants street kids out

The Fiji Times OnLine, February 18, 2007

[accessed 17 January 2017]

The Nadi Town council wants all street boys off the streets because it does not support touting.

"We want them off our streets.  "Anyone coming in to Nadi to shop should be given space to move freely and not be harassed or hassled by these street boys.  "Shoppers coming into Nadi don’t need street kids to be harassing them while they shop.


*** ARCHIVES ***

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]

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - Statistics on the number of working children under the age of 15 in Fiji are unavailable.  According to the Fijian Teachers Association and the Fiji Teachers Union, and based on school attendance and dropout rates, it is estimated that 20,000 to 30,000 children work in the informal sector, family businesses and family farms. Children work in agriculture in Fiji, including in the tobacco sector.

Other children, especially those that are homeless, work in the informal sector and on the streets. Children shine shoes, collect bottles, run errands for restaurants, repair cars, and work as domestics in homes. Children on the streets are susceptible to commercial sexual exploitation and are lured into the commercial sex industry by both local and foreign adults wishing to profit from the pornography trade.

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 - The government devoted 18 percent of the national budget to education and also worked to improve children's health and welfare. School is mandatory until age 15, but the inability of some families to pay school fees and bus fares limited attendance for some children. There was no significant difference between the school enrollment rates for boys and girls.

The government provided free medical care for children at public health centers and hospitals, including immunizations in primary schools.

Corporal punishment was common both in homes and in schools, despite a Ministry of Education policy forbidding it in the classroom. Increasing urbanization, overcrowding, and the breakdown of traditional community and extended family-based structures led to an increasing incidence of child abuse. Multiple reports suggested that child prostitution increased during the year. Child prostitution was evident in poverty-stricken urban areas and among homeless urban youth (see section 5, Trafficking). 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.

SPG and Beggars [DOC]

[access information unavailable]

Asking the ‘why’ question is a little more difficult. Why are they on the streets? Why can’t they get a job? Perhaps we should be asking the more fundamental question: Why is there poverty? Why is a society like Fiji well versed in communal living and sharing, and affirmed by the teachings of religion, allow the cycle of poverty to continue right in our own city?

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.

Recommendations of the Children's Forum in Fiji

Pacific Consultation on Violence Against Children, Fiji, One-day Children’s Forum, 24 September 2005

[accessed 13 May 2011]

The Pacific region held a sub-regional Consultation on Violence against Children in Fiji from 26 until 28 September 2005, that aimed at building on the outcomes of the Bangkok Consultation in June 2005, while discussing ways and priorities in addressing the problem in the Pacific context specifically.

Worst Forms of Child Labour Data

Global March Against Child Labour

[accessed 12 October 2012]

CHILD PROSTITUTION AND PORNOGRAPHY - Street children in Fiji are in danger of sexual exploitation and being involved in prostitution for Western tourists. ("Fiji Kids in Sex Trade", Fiji Times, 29 October 1999, reprinted in Pacific Islands Report)

Couple cares for street kids

Aqela Lalakato, Monday, May 28, 2007

[accessed 17 January 2017]

At 17, Alifereti found himself a job in Nadi but the street was still home. "When I found a job I was still a street kid," he said.  "It amazes me sometimes to be working among other people who were also living on the street."  Though living on a meagre income and a limited education, Alifereti dreamt of a decent life.  He finds himself fortunate to have travelled to other countries while working on a container ship for nine years.

At 59, married with a 25-year-old daughter, he finds his calling in the ministry a divine one.  "People living on the streets have so much to tell, if only someone cares to listen.

Street kids secure jobs

May 24, 2007

[accessed 17 January 2017]

"While the people living on the streets have their own unique story on why fate has dealt them an unfair hand, most of them claim they have been abandoned by their families," Adi Laufitu said.  "They wished their circumstances were better and they didn’t like what they had become, but they had no choice," she said

Police monitor kids on the street

The Fiji Times, March 13, 2007

[accessed 17 January 2017]

Police are working with the Lautoka City Council to ensure that street kids are rehabilitated and kept out of trouble. West police chief Emori Laqai said his officers in Lautoka were co-operating with the local municipality to ensure that street kids do not break the law but are also stopped from using city facilities for shelter.

Senior Superintendent Laqai said while other stakeholders were looking at the rehabilitation of the kids, it was the duty of the police to see that law and order was not compromised.  SSP Laqai said a committee at the Lautoka Police Station, headed by the officer-in-charge Rusiate Saini, was looking into the issue.  He said the main priority was for the boys not to break the law.

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