Slavery in Papua New Guinea

Overview

 

The Government of Papua New Guinea does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. These achievements included approving the long-awaited national action plan on combating human trafficking and standard operating procedures for the identification, referral, and protection of victims. But did not begin implementation of the national action plan and standard operating procedures or allocate resources to do so. An acute lack of financial and human resources dedicated to trafficking, as well as very low awareness among government officials and the public, hindered progress. Officials reportedly self-limited investigations into wealthy or influential suspects. Papua New Guinea has never convicted a trafficking offender.

 

The government has increased law enforcement efforts. The Criminal Code Amendment of 2013 prohibits all forms of trafficking and prescribes penalties for adult sex and labour trafficking of up to 25 years imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape.

 

The government maintained minimal efforts to protect trafficking victims. A lack of long-term protective services or witness protection hindered law enforcement efforts, as victims who returned to their home communities often feared for their safety or faced pressure to withdraw criminal charges. The government allowed “ongoing stay” for trafficking victims, but lacked provisions for victims to seek compensation through civil suits.

 

The government took few steps to prevent human trafficking. It formally endorsed a national plan of action to combat human trafficking, although it did not begin to implement its provisions. The National Human Trafficking Committee met quarterly in 2016, although its members lacked the authority to make decisions on behalf of respective agencies and an acute lack of coordination and resources across agencies hindered progress. The government did not conduct any awareness-raising campaigns or community outreach to educate the public about risks to trafficking. The government took no discernible actions to decrease the demand for forced labour or commercial sex acts, nor did it provide anti-trafficking training for its diplomatic personnel. Papua New Guinea is not a party to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.

 

Papua New Guinea is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour. Foreign and local women and children are subjected to sex trafficking - including near logging, mining, and palm oil sites - domestic servitude, forced labour in the tourism sector, and forced begging or street vending. Foreign and local men are subjected to forced labour in logging and mining camps as well as on fishing vessels operating in Papua New Guinea’s exclusive economic zone. “Mosko Girls”—young girls employed in bars to provide companionship to patrons and sell an alcoholic drink called mosko - are vulnerable to human trafficking, especially around major cities. Boys as young as 12 years old are exploited as “market taxis” in urban areas and the Highlands and required to carry extremely heavy loads for low pay; some may be victims of forced labour. Parents force children to beg or sell goods on the street as sources of income. Within the country, children and women from rural areas are deceived—often by relatives—with promises of legitimate work or education to travel to different provinces where they are subjected to sex trafficking or domestic servitude. NGOs report some parents receive money from traffickers who exploited their teenage daughters in prostitution, including near mining and logging sites. Children, including girls as young as 5 years old from remote rural areas, are reportedly subjected to sex trafficking or forced labour by members of their immediate family or tribe. Tribal leaders reportedly trade with each other the exploitative labour and service of girls and women for guns and to forge political alliances.

 

Papua New Guinea is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced prostitution and forced labour. Women and children are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation and involuntary domestic servitude; trafficked men are forced to provide labour in logging and mining camps. Children, especially young girls from tribal areas, are most vulnerable to being pushed into commercial sexual exploitation or forced labour by members of their immediate family or tribe. Families traditionally sell girls into forced marriages to settle their debts, leaving them vulnerable to involuntary domestic servitude, and tribal leaders trade the exploitative labour and service of girls and women for guns and political advantage. Young girls sold into marriage are often forced into domestic servitude for the husband’s extended family. In more urban areas, some children from poorer families are prostituted by their parents or sold to brothels. Migrant women and teenage girls from Malaysia, Thailand, China, and the Philippines are subjected to forced prostitution and men from China are transported to the country for forced labour.

Asian crime rings, foreign logging companies, and foreign businessmen arrange for some women to voluntarily enter Papua New Guinea with fraudulently issued tourist or business visas. Subsequent to their arrival, the smugglers turn many of the women over to traffickers who transport them to logging and mining camps, fisheries, and entertainment sites where they are exploited in forced prostitution and involuntary domestic servitude. Foreign and local men are exploited for labour at mines and logging camps, where some receive almost no pay and are compelled to continue working for the company indefinitely through debt bondage schemes. Employers foster workers’ greater indebtedness to the company by paying the workers sub-standard wages while charging them artificially inflated prices at the company store; employees’ only option becomes to buy food and other necessities on credit. Government officials facilitate trafficking by accepting bribes to allow illegal migrants to enter the country or to ignore victims forced into prostitution or labour, by receiving female trafficking victims in return for political favours, and by providing female victims in return for votes.

The Government of Papua New Guinea does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. Despite the establishment of an interagency anti-trafficking committee, initial efforts to address forced child labour, and new programs to educate the public about trafficking, the government did not investigate any suspected trafficking offenses, prosecute or convict any trafficking offenders under existing laws in Papua New Guinea, or address allegations of officials complicit in human trafficking crimes.

Legislation

 

32. RIGHT TO FREEDOM. (1) Freedom based on law consists in the least amount of restriction on the activities of individuals that is consistent with the maintenance and development of Papua New Guinea and of society in accordance with this Constitution and, in particular, with the National Goals and Directive Principles and the Basic Social Obligations. (2) Every person has the right to freedom based on law, and accordingly has a legal right to do anything that– (a) does not injure or interfere with the rights and freedoms of others; and (b) is not prohibited by law, and no person– (c) is obliged to do anything that is not required by law; and (d) may be prevented from doing anything that complies with the provisions of paragraphs (a) and (b). (3) This section is not intended to reflect on the extra-legal existence, nature or effect of social, civic, family or religious obligations, or other obligations of an extra-legal nature, or to prevent such obligations being given effect to by law. 36. FREEDOM FROM INHUMAN TREATMENT. (1) No person shall be submitted to torture (whether physical or mental), or to treatment or punishment that is cruel or otherwise inhuman, or is inconsistent with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person. (2) The killing of a person in circumstances in which

Section 35(1)(a) (right to life) does not, of itself, contravene Subsection (1), although the manner or the circumstances of the killing may contravene it. 42. LIBERTY OF THE PERSON. (1) No person shall be deprived of his personal liberty except– (a) in consequence of his unfitness to plead to a criminal charge; or (b) in the execution of the sentence or order of a court in respect of an offence of which he has been found guilty, or in the execution of the order of a court of record punishing him for contempt of itself or another court or tribunal; or (c) by reason of his failure to comply with the order of a court made to secure the fulfilment of an obligation (other than a contractual obligation) imposed upon him by law; or (d) upon reasonable suspicion of his having committed, or being about to commit, an offence; or (e) for the purpose of bringing him before a court in execution of the order of a court; or (f) for the purpose of preventing the introduction or spread of a disease or suspected disease, whether of humans, animals or plants, or for normal purposes of quarantine; or (g) for the purpose of preventing the unlawful entry of a person into Papua New Guinea, or for the purpose of effecting the expulsion, extradition or other lawful removal of a person from Papua New Guinea, or the taking of proceedings for any of those purposes; or (h) in the case of a person who is, or is reasonably suspected of being of unsound mind, or addicted to drugs or alcohol, or a vagrant, for the purposes of– 52. RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT. (1) Subject to Subsection (3), no citizen may be deprived of the right to move freely throughout the country, to reside in any part of the country and to enter and leave the country, except in consequence of a law that provides for deprivation of personal liberty in accordance with

Section 42 (liberty of the person). (2) No citizen shall be expelled or deported from the country except by virtue of an order of a court made under a law in respect of the extradition of offenders, or alleged offenders, against the law of some other place. (3) A law that complies with

Section 38 (general qualifications on qualified rights) may regulate or restrict the exercise of the right referred to in Subsection (1), and in particular may regulate or restrict the freedom of movement of persons convicted of offences and of members of a disciplined force.

 

350. ABDUCTION. (1) A person who– (a) with intent–(i) to marry or carnally know a woman; or (ii) to cause her to be married or carnally known by any other person, takes her away, or detains her, against her will; or (b) from motives of gain, and with an intent referred to in Paragraph (a), takes or entices away, or detains, a woman who is under the age of 21 years, and who– (i) has any interest, whether legal or equitable, present or future, absolute, conditional, or contingent, in any property; or (ii) is a presumptive heiress or co-heiress, or the presumptive next of kin, or one of the presumptive next of kin, to any person who has such an interest, out of the custody or protection of her father or mother, or other person having the lawful care or charge of her, and against the will of the father or mother or other Person= is guilty of a crime. Penalty: Imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years. (2) A person who is convicted of an offence against Subsection (1) that was committed with respect to a woman referred to in Subsection (1)(b), is incapable of taking any estate or interest, legal or equitable, in any property of the woman, or in which she has any interest, or that comes to her as an heiress, co-heiress, or next of kin, and if he has married the woman, all such property shall, on his conviction, be settled in such manner as the National Court, on application by the Attorney-General, orders. 351. ABDUCTION OF GIRLS UNDER 16. (1) A person who unlawfully takes an unmarried girl under the age of 16 years out of the custody or protection of her father or mother, or other person having the lawful care or charge of her, and against the will of the father, mother or other person, is guilty of a misdemeanour. Penalty: Imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years. (2) It is immaterial in the case of a charge of an offence against Subsection (1) that– (a) the offender believed the girl to be of or above the age of 16 years; or (b) the girl was taken with her own consent or at her own suggestion. 353. KIDNAPPING. A person who forcibly takes or detains another with intent to compel that other person to work for him against his will is guilty of a crime. Penalty: Imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years. 355. DEPRIVATION OF LIBERTY. A person who unlawfully– (a) confines or detains another in any place against his will; or (b) deprives another of his personal liberty, is guilty of a misdemeanour. Penalty: Imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years.

356. FALSE CERTIFICATES BY OFFICERS CHARGED WITH DUTIES RELATING TO LIBERTY. A person who– (a) being required by law to give a certificate concerning any matter by virtue of which the liberty of any person may be affected, gives a certificate that is, to his knowledge, false in a material particular; or(b) not being a person authorized by law to give such a certificate, gives such a certificate, and represents himself to be a person authorized to give it, is guilty of a misdemeanour. Penalty: Imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years.

357. CONCEALMENT OF MATTERS AFFECTING LIBERTY. A person who– (a) being required by law to keep any record concerning any matter relating to a person in confinement– (i) refuses or neglects to keep the record; or (ii) makes in the record an entry that is, to his knowledge, false in a material particular; or (b) being required by law to give any information to any person touching any person in confinement, or to show to any person any person in confinement, or any place in which a person is confined– (i) refuses or neglects to give the information, or to show the person or place, to any person to whom he is required to give the information or show the person or place; or (ii) gives to any person to whom he is required to give it information concerning any such matter that is, to his knowledge, false in a material particular, is guilty of a misdemeanour. Penalty: Imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years. 361. CHILD-STEALING. (1) A person who, with intent to deprive a parent or guardian of a child under the age of 14 years, or any other person who has the lawful care or charge of such a child, of the possession of the child, or with intent to steal any article on or about the person of any such child– (a) forcibly or fraudulently takes or entices away, or detains, the child; or (b) receives or harbours the child, knowing it to have been so taken or enticed away or detained, is guilty of a crime. Penalty: Imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years. (2) It is a defence to a charge of an offence against Subsection (1) to prove that the accused person– (a) claimed in good faith a right to the possession of the child; or (b) in the case of an illegitimate child (not being a child who has been adopted) is its mother or claimed (in good faith) to be its father. (3) The husband or wife of the accused person is a competent but not a compellable witness.