7 Jul 2005

Fiji Women's Centre sees poverty as possible factor in Rakiraki sex crime

4:25 pm on 7 July 2005

The Fiji Women's Crisis Centre says poverty could have contributed to the parents of the three missing teenagers allowing them to regularly see a male neighbour who has now confessed to their murder.

The co-ordinator of the centre, Shamima Ali, says the 42-year-old who is believed to have dumped their bodies at sea near Rakiraki, befriended the family and was relatively wealthy.

She says Dip Chand, who has pleaded guilty to ten counts of rape involving three other girls, was paying for the education of a group of teenagers in the neighbourhood.

"There are many factors here but one of them would be the socioeconomic situation. What the family can provide and cannot provide, a picnic, going off on a boat, and this guy must have been around, turning a blind eye but also saying well the girls can get something."

Shamima Ali says sex crimes are the most underreported offences in the country and she estimates less than five percent are ever prosecuted.