Last Updated: Thursday, 24 July 2014, 11:06 GMT

2011 Trafficking in Persons Report - Solomon Islands

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 27 June 2011
Cite as United States Department of State, 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report - Solomon Islands, 27 June 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e12ee4a5a.html [accessed 24 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Solomon Islands (Tier 2 Watch List)

The Solomon Islands is a destination country for local and Southeast Asian men and women subjected to forced labor and forced prostitution. Local children, many under the age of 15, are subjected to sex trafficking, particularly near foreign logging camps and on foreign and local commercial fishing vessels, but also at hotels and entertainment establishments. Some girls are hired under the guise of domestic labor in logging and fishing areas, but subsequently coerced into commercial sex. Some local girls are put up for "informal adoption" by their family members in order to pay off debts, and subsequently subjected to sexual servitude and forced labor as domestic servants. Local boys are also put up for "informal adoption" and subjected to the same type of forced labor. Local girls as young as 12 years old were sold by their parents for marriage to foreigners working for logging and mining companies. Some local girls married to foreign workers who leave the Solomon Islands are forced into domestic servitude by their husbands' wife and family in their husband's country. Some Asian women from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines may have been recruited from their home countries for legitimate work, paying large sums of money in recruitment fees, and upon arrival, forced into prostitution, including near logging camps. Men from Indonesia and Malaysia are recruited to work in the Solomon Islands' logging and mining industries, and may be subsequently subjected to forced labor in industrial camps. The Solomon Islands is a destination country for child sex tourists.

The Government of the Solomon Islands does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Despite these modest efforts, the government failed to report any efforts to investigate or prosecute any trafficking offenders, or identify or assist any trafficking victims; therefore, the Solomon Islands is placed on Tier 2 Watch List. Several public studies have identified sex trafficking as a problem in the Solomon Islands, though the government has never investigated or prosecuted a trafficking case, nor proactively identified a trafficking victim. While two victims came forward to authorities during the year, the government did not make efforts to prosecute their alleged traffickers. There is little awareness of human trafficking in the Solomon Islands, and the government did not conduct any public awareness campaigns on trafficking.

Recommendations for the Solomon Islands: Draft and enact comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation, criminalizing all forms of trafficking in persons; publicly recognize and condemn incidences of trafficking; make greater efforts to investigate, prosecute, and punish trafficking offenders, such as suspected offenders of child prostitution occurring in or near logging camps; investigate the forced prostitution of foreign women and prosecute their traffickers and clients; work with NGOs or international organizations to ensure that identified victims of trafficking are provided access services and protection; adopt proactive procedures to identify victims of trafficking among vulnerable groups, such as foreign workers in the fishing industry and women and children in prostitution; and institute a visible campaign to raise public awareness of human trafficking in the country.

Prosecution

The Government of the Solomon Islands made no discernible anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. Although the Solomon Islands Constitution provides protection against slavery, the country has no specific laws addressing trafficking in persons and very few laws, such as the penal code and the Islanders Marriage Act, can be used to prosecute trafficking offenses. Unlawful compulsory labor is considered a misdemeanor, punishable by up to two years' imprisonment, a fine, or a combination of both. The penalties prescribed under these non-trafficking-specific statutes are not sufficiently stringent or commensurate with other serious crimes, such as rape. The lack of a legal definition of sex or labor trafficking which identifies the essential elements of a trafficking crime prevents law enforcement officers from rescuing victims or arresting trafficking offenders on trafficking charges. Government authorities continued to deny that trafficking was a concern that merited attention in the country. Although two Indonesian men identified themselves to authorities as labor trafficking victims, the government did not prosecute the alleged traffickers in this case and was unable to indicate the status of the case or whereabouts of the Indonesian victims. Furthermore, despite public studies on the existence of child prostitution and forced adult prostitution in the country, the government did not report prosecuting or convicting any other trafficking offenders during the year. The government provided no training to law enforcement and court personnel on identifying trafficking victims and prosecuting trafficking offenders.

Protection

The Government of the Solomon Islands made no discernible efforts to identify or assist victims of trafficking during the year. Law enforcement and social services personnel do not have a formal system of proactively identifying victims of trafficking among high-risk persons with whom they come in contact; they did not proactively identify any victims during the reporting period. Although the government continued to arrest Chinese women for prostitution during the year, it has never identified a victim of trafficking among this vulnerable population. Some foreign female trafficking victims were likely punished by authorities through imprisonment, due to lack of victim identification efforts. In response to the aforementioned two self-identified male labor trafficking victims, the government did not offer protection or assistance to these victims. There are no procedures in place to refer identified trafficking victims to service organizations for protection and assistance. The government relied largely on civil society or religious organizations to provide limited services to victims of crime. The Family Support Center, operated by the government and funded by an NGO, is reportedly available to provide consultations to victims of gender-based violence and government-identified trafficking victims, but it has never assisted a trafficking victim. There are no legal, medical, or psychological services available to trafficking victims in the Solomon Islands. The government did not make efforts to identify or reach out to international organizations or community groups to provide assistance to victims of trafficking. The government did not offer any legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they may face hardship or retribution.

Prevention

The government made few discernible efforts to prevent trafficking or raise public awareness of the crime. There is little awareness of human trafficking in the Solomon Islands, and the government did not conduct any public awareness campaigns on trafficking. In November 2010, the government partnered with an NGO and a foreign donor to conduct a training for government officials and local organizations on human trafficking awareness. While authorities reportedly monitored immigration and emigration patterns for human smuggling, particularly with respect to the rising number of Southeast Asians entering the country, it did not monitor such patterns for human trafficking. It took no action to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts during the reporting period. The Solomon Islands is not a party to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.

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