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PNG, a haven for human trafficking syndicates: report

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PORT MORESBY (The National/Pacnews) — A United Nations report says Papua New Guinea is a haven for Asian-operated human trafficking syndicates, according to Deputy Prime Minister Davis Steven.

Davis Steven

“Successive governments have failed to address this transnational criminal activity for the last 30 years, since the United Nation, World Bank and the United States government produced a joint report highlighting our vulnerability,” he said.

“My objective this year is to revive the dormant national action committee on trafficking in people and get it working and bring the support of international agencies, especially the U.S government, to help us address this illicit activity.”

Steven, who is the minister for justice and attorney-general, said in light of a crackdown on illegal immigrants, the U.N., World Bank and the United States government have been monitoring the performance of the PNG government since 1989.

“The first joint report was produced in 1989 of our lack of performance in addressing human traffickers,” he said.

“They have monitored us over the years and I’m saddened to say that the 2018 report by the U.N. has given PNG a very bad rating whereby we are one of the few countries in the Asia Pacific region that is very vulnerable to human trafficking syndicates.

“And that is an indication that if we do not start improving on our poor enforcement and prosecution of human traffickers, it can affect our international reputation and relationship, especially where support of the government in terms of foreign aid is concerned.”

Steven said the PNG government is adamant in addressing this illicit trading.

“We met with the U.N., the U.S government and concerned international agencies last month and we have agreed to meet this week to revive the national action committee on trafficking in persons and also to resource this committee,” he said.

“You will see from the national budget that we are going to deal with our international commitment and this is one of those areas,” said Steven.

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