As reported over the past five years, human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Fiji, and traffickers exploit victims from Fiji abroad. Family members, taxi drivers, foreign tourists, businessmen, crew on foreign fishing vessels, and other traffickers have allegedly exploited victims from Thailand and China, as well as Fijian women and children, in sex trafficking. Traffickers exploit victims in illegal brothels, local hotels, private homes, and massage parlors, and traffickers sometimes utilize websites and cell phone applications to advertise victims for commercial sex. Some Fijian children are at risk of sex and labor trafficking, as families follow a traditional practice of sending them to live with relatives or families in larger cities, where they may be subjected to domestic servitude or coerced to engage in sexual activity in exchange for food, clothing, shelter, or school fees. Fijian children were at risk for forced labor in agriculture, retail, or other sectors. Rising levels of poverty also contributed to increased risks of Fijian children being exploited in commercial sex and forced labor. Economic crisis related to the pandemic, as well as weather-related natural disasters, increased the number of street children compelled to seek incomes to sustain their families; these children are at risk of being exploited in sex trafficking or forced labor. Reports indicated children as young as 12 years old were exploited in sex trafficking. Observers reported a practice where taxi drivers transported Fijian child sex trafficking victims to hotels in popular tourist areas at the request of foreign tourists seeking commercial sex acts. Foreign yacht owners and foreigners hiring locally-owned yachts dock in rural Fijian islands seek young women, usually children, for marriage; some of these women and children subsequently become at risk to forced labor or sex trafficking. However, border restrictions related to the pandemic led to a reduction of the number of foreign yachts entering Fiji, subsequently resulting in fewer reports of this practice occurring during the reporting period. Traffickers exploit Fijian and Chinese women and children in Chinese-operated massage parlors and brothels, particularly in Suva. In some cases, massage parlor owners arrange for female Fijian employees to engage in commercial sex acts with clients in local hotels and brothels. Anecdotal reports indicated traffickers transported Chinese victims into Fiji on small boats, avoiding ports.
Some Fijian men reportedly marry women from Nepal and Pakistan and subject them to domestic servitude in Fiji. Labor traffickers exploit workers from South and East Asian countries in small, informal farms and factories, and in construction. Recruitment agencies operating in victims’ home countries, vessel owners, and other crew exploit migrant fisherman from Southeast Asian countries, especially Indonesia, in forced labor on Fijian flagged fishing vessels, or foreign flagged fishing vessels (mainly China- and Taiwan-flagged) transiting Fijian ports and waters. Victims of forced labor experience threats of violence, passport confiscation, debt-based coercion, excessive working hours, and abusive living and working conditions. Reports indicated low-level official complicity impeded anti-trafficking efforts. Corruption among some officials prevented the investigation of trafficking, including in Chinese-operated brothels. In addition, immigration officials allegedly took action that indirectly facilitated or enabled human trafficking. Fijian workers in Australia and New Zealand were at risk of labor trafficking.