2012 Trafficking in Persons Report - Solomon Islands
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||19 June 2012|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report - Solomon Islands, 19 June 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4fe30c975a.html [accessed 19 April 2014]|
SOLOMON ISLANDS (Tier 2)
The Solomon Islands is a source and 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 prostitution. Local boys and girls are put up for "informal adoption" by their family members in order to pay off debts, and some are subsequently subjected to sexual servitude and forced labor as domestic servants. Other local children are procured for prostitution in exchange for money or fish. Local girls as young as 12 years old are sold by their parents for marriage to foreigners working for logging and mining companies; some of these girls are later forced into domestic servitude in the husband's home country. Women from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines are recruited from their home countries for legitimate work, paying large sums of money in recruitment fees, and upon arrival are forced into prostitution. Traffickers are known to gain access to their victims through taxi drivers, local contacts and pimps. 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 tourism.
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. The government improved its anti-trafficking efforts during the reporting period, primarily through its enactment of comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation; however; it failed to prosecute and punish trafficking offenders.
Recommendations for the Solomon Islands: 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 to 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; institute a visible campaign to raise public awareness of human trafficking in the country; develop a national action plan for countering trafficking in persons; and accede to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
The government enacted anti-trafficking legislation that increased its capacity to conduct law enforcement efforts. In March 2012, parliament passed Immigration Bill 2011, which prohibits and punishes all forms of trafficking in persons. The bill proscribes a penalty of imprisonment not exceeding five years or a fine of 45,000 "penalty points" – the equivalent of $6,660 – or both for the trafficking of adults, and a penalty of imprisonment not exceeding 10 years or a fine of 90,000 penalty points, – the equivalent of $13,320 – or both for the trafficking of children. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with other serious crimes, such as rape. Also contained in the bill is a provision that prohibits and punishes the withholding travel or identity documents for the purpose of facilitating human trafficking; the penalty is imprisonment not exceeding 2 years or 20,000 penalty points – the equivalent of $2,960 – or both. The bill provides immunity from prosecution for trafficking victims for such crimes as illegal entry into the country, illegal residence or procurement, or possession of a false identification document.
During the reporting period, Customs and Immigration (CLAG) arrested and a court initiated prosecution of a naturalized Solomon Islands citizen and a non-citizen for forcing an unknown number of women or girls into prostitution. The two were charged with the offenses of living on the earnings of prostitution, aiding prostitution, and receiving money derived from prostitution; their prosecutions remain ongoing. The government provided no training to law enforcement and court personnel on identifying trafficking victims and prosecuting trafficking offenders.
The Government of the Solomon Islands made modest efforts to protect victims of trafficking during the year. Law enforcement and social services personnel continued to lack systematic procedures to proactively identify victims of trafficking among high-risk persons with whom they come in contact and do not have a formal referral system to services organizations for human trafficking victims. The government continued to rely largely on civil society or religious organizations to provide limited services to victims of crime, including victims of human trafficking. 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 CLAG advises that in the ongoing prosecution involving an unknown number of foreign women or girls brought to the Solomon Islands and subjected to forced prostitution, it has granted temporary residency permits – valid for three months – to allow the victims to assist the police investigation. The government reports the availability of civil remedies for victims of trafficking, though no victim of human trafficking has ever made use of civil causes of actions.
The government made few discernible efforts to prevent trafficking, including through public awareness campaigns. The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force modestly increased public awareness through a tour of Makira, Ysabel and Western Provinces, focusing the public awareness campaign on child sexual exploitation; the patrols targeted logging camps. In August 2011, the American Bar Association's Rule of Law Initiative held an anti-human trafficking workshop where the government of Solomon Islands provided office space, administrative support and the use of government paid personnel. As part of the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime workshop, the CLAG presented an overview of its anti-human trafficking efforts in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The government 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.