Last Updated: Thursday, 31 July 2014, 17:47 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Fiji

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 12 June 2007
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Fiji, 12 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/467be3b023.html [accessed 1 August 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.

Fiji (Tier 2 Watch List)

Fiji is a source country for the internal trafficking of children for sexual exploitation and a destination country for women from the People's Republic of China (P. R. C. ) and India trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Women from the P. R. C. and India who migrate to Fiji with promises of work in the textile industry are subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude and commercial sexual exploitation. In addition, some Fijian boys and girls are victims of commercial sexual exploitation by Fijian citizens and foreign visitors. Local hotels procure underage girls in prostitution at the request of foreign guests. Taxi drivers and relatives also act as facilitators. Some Fijian children are informally adopted or given to other families to raise – a tradition of child placement that can facilitate trafficking in persons.

The Government of Fiji does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Fiji is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for its significantly increasing problem of trafficking in persons. New data provided over the last year suggests that Fiji is seeing a rise in the trafficking of children for sexual exploitation. Although transnational trafficking is infrequent, it occurs in the context of promised employment in textile factories and subsequent coerced sexual exploitation. The Fijian government should consider increasing its and the Fijian public's understanding of trafficking through focused public awareness and demand reduction campaigns together with civil society. The government should increase efforts to educate law enforcement and immigration officials about trafficking to increase investigations against traffickers, sex tourists, and exploitative employers.

Prosecution

The Government of Fiji demonstrated some efforts to combat trafficking in persons; however, a lack of training and resources limited law enforcement efficacy. Fiji prohibits sex and labor trafficking through its Immigration Act of 2003, which prescribes punishments that are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for rape. However, there were no prosecutions or convictions during the reporting period. The current interim government began a crackdown on prostitution as part of a "clean-up" campaign and detained several minors and women in prostitution. Law enforcement officials did not recognize minors used in prostitution as victims, nor was there evidence that officials increased investigations or arrests of brothel owners or facilitators or clients of child prostitution. Immigration officials intervened in several cases of P. R. C. citizens who were lured to Fiji with job offers and then forced into sexual exploitation, but officials did not arrest the traffickers and the women were deported. Immigration authorities are beginning to monitor migration patterns for evidence of trafficking. There were no reports of public officials' complicity in trafficking, and there were no reported arrests or convictions of complicit officials.

Protection

The Government of Fiji demonstrated limited efforts to protect or assist victims of trafficking. Due to severe resource constraints, the government relies on services provided by international organizations or NGOs. The government showed no sign of having a policy or procedures for the identification of victims of trafficking and their referral to protection services. The Government of Fiji did not actively encourage victim participation in the investigation of traffickers, sex tourists, or exploitative employers during the year. There is no legal alternative to removal for victims that may face hardship or retribution in a source country. The interim government quickly deported P. R. C. women in prostitution without attempting to identify them as victims of trafficking. Foreigners who may have been trafficked are detained and deported for unlawful acts such as prostitution or immigration violations. As part of a "clean up" campaign, the current interim government arrested women and children in prostitution. There is no government referral program for victims or training for law enforcement or immigration officials to recognize trafficking or how to treat victims.

Prevention

The Government of Fiji demonstrated few efforts to raise awareness and prevent trafficking in persons in 2006. Prior to the late 2006 coup, the Ministry of Tourism conducted a child protection workshop for hotel workers that included information about underage prostitution. A formal committee, chaired by the Ministry of Justice and including representatives from the police, the Reserve Bank, security agencies, customs, and immigration, has among its responsibilities the coordination of anti-trafficking efforts. However, the committee has not met since the coup. Fiji has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.

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