19 Jan 2005

Fiji Visitors Board questions accuracy of child sex report

11:33 am on 19 January 2005

Tourism stakeholders in Fiji are downplaying revelations about lucrative child sex involving visitors to the country.

Fiji Television broadcast an interview with a 15-year-old boy who says he's earning up to a thousand US dollars a week from sex with tourists from New Zealand, Australia, the United States and South Korea.

The interview appears to have shocked the Fiji Visitors Bureau, which has suggested it could be a hoax.

Its chief executive, Bill Gavoka, says he found the interview baffling because of the communal lifestyle of many Fijians.

"I find it difficult to understand that this thing is thriving the way it was suggested because it's such a communal set up, nothing is secret here, everyone knows what's happening. And the people are not tolerant with these things. Children are treasured and valued in this country and anyone whose practising this, the whole neighbourhood would know."

Mr Gavoka says there are only a few people on the fringe of society who give Fiji a bad name.