As reported over the past five years, Papua New Guinea is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Foreign and local women and children are subjected to sex trafficking—including near logging, mining, and palm oil sites—domestic servitude, forced labor in the tourism sector, and forced begging or street vending. Foreign and local men are subjected to forced labor 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 labor. 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 labor by members of their immediate family or tribe. Tribal leaders reportedly trade with each other the exploitative labor and service of girls and women for guns and to forge political alliances.
Parents sometimes sell or force their daughters into marriages —often to wealthy men and politicians—to settle debts or as peace offerings, leaving the girls vulnerable to domestic servitude. Marriages in Papua New Guinea commonly involve a “bride price” of money or chattel paid to the wife’s family by the husband’s family; this is sometimes used as a debt to compel women to remain in abusive or servile marriages when their families are unable to pay back the bride price. Young girls sold into polygamous marriages may be forced into domestic service for their husbands’ extended families or exploited in prostitution. “Informal adoption” arrangements, in which children are sent to live with relatives, sometimes result in domestic servitude. In urban areas, parents reportedly exploit their children in sex trafficking directly or in brothels as a means to support their families or to pay for school fees. Government officials reportedly facilitate trafficking by accepting bribes to allow undocumented migrants to enter the country or ignore trafficking situations, and some may exploit sex trafficking victims or procure victims for other individuals in return for political favors or votes.
Malaysian and Chinese logging companies arrange for some foreign women to enter the country voluntarily with fraudulently issued tourist or business visas. After their arrival, many of these women—from countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, China, and the Philippines—are turned over to traffickers who transport them to logging and mining camps, fisheries, and entertainment sites, and exploit them in forced prostitution and domestic servitude. Chinese, Malaysian, and local men are subjected to forced labor at commercial mines and logging camps, where some receive little pay and are compelled to continue working for the company indefinitely through debt bondage. Employers exacerbate workers’ indebtedness by paying extremely low wages, which limits workers’ freedom of movement and compels them to purchase food and other necessities from the employers at usurious interest rates. Vietnamese, Burmese, Cambodian, and local men and boys are subjected to forced labor on fishing vessels; they face little to no pay, harsh working conditions, and debt bondage, and many are compelled to fish illegally, making them vulnerable to arrest.