29 Mar 2004

American Samoan governor plans legislation over human trafficking

4:01 pm on 29 March 2004

The governor of American Samoa is moving to introduce statutes in the next parliamentary session, to prosecute human trafficking in the territory.

Federal legislation already exists called the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 which was used to prosecute the owner of the Daewoosa Samoa garment factory.

He was found guilty of enslaving 200 Vietnamese and Chinese workers.

Our correspondent, Fili Sagapolutele, says governor Togiola Tulafono believes that the territory needs its own statutes in addition to the federal legislation.

"He's saying that sometimes the U.S. government would take issue over jurisdictions or sometimes the federal government would look into it and would say that it's not worth their time to follow the investigation and will end up turning it down. Governor Togiola says he does not want that to happen - if there is human trafficking involved, he wants it prosecuted, locally."

Fili Sagapolutele says work on the language of the legislation is currently underway.