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 the People’s Republic of China (PRC), 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. The economic crisis related to the pandemic, as well as recent natural disasters, increased the number of children using the streets as a source of livelihood or 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, including to purchase food and other essentials for their families. Traffickers exploit Fijian and PRC national women and children in PRC national-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. Foreign yacht owners and foreigners hiring locally-owned yachts dock in rural Fijian islands and seek young women, usually children, for marriage; some of these women and children subsequently become at risk to forced labor or sex trafficking. Taxi drivers or other facilitators transport Fijian child sex trafficking victims to hotels in popular tourist areas or to private yachts at the request of foreign tourists seeking commercial sex acts.
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 PRC- 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. Fijian workers in Australia and New Zealand are at risk of labor trafficking. Reports indicated low-level official complicity impeded anti-trafficking efforts. Corruption among some officials prevented the investigation of trafficking, including in PRC national-operated brothels. In addition, immigration officials allegedly took action that indirectly facilitated or enabled human trafficking.