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, domestic servitude, forced labor in the tourism sector, and forced begging and street vending. An international NGO conducted research with sex trafficking victims and concluded approximately 30 percent were children under the age of 18 and some were as young as 10 years old. Children are reportedly subjected to sex trafficking or forced labor by members of their immediate family or tribe. Parents force children to beg or sell goods on the street and sell or force their daughters into marriages or child sex trafficking to settle debts or to support their families. 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. Young girls sold into polygamous marriages may be forced into domestic service for their husbands’ extended families or exploited in sex trafficking. Within the country, children and women may be exploited with promises of legitimate work or education to travel to different provinces where they are subjected to sex trafficking or domestic servitude. Tribal leaders reportedly trade with each other the exploitative labor and service of girls and women for guns and to forge political alliances.
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, as well as on fishing vessels operating in Papua New Guinea’s exclusive economic zone, where some receive little pay and are compelled to continue working for the company indefinitely through debt bondage. 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. 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.