15 Jul 2005

Kiribati police chief blames weakness in law for lack of policing of child prostitutes at wharf

3:21 pm on 15 July 2005

The Police Commissioner in Kiribati says a weakness in local law prevents them from adequately policing the use of child prostitutes by Korean fishermen.

Ioeru Tokantetaake says he has withdrawn his officers from patrolling Betio port where Korean fishing vessels berth because it is not regarded as a core responsibility.

The withdrawal comes amid mounting calls for the Kiribati government and police to act on reports that 70 percent of the country's sex workers are under 18 and are frequently servicing Korean fishermen.

However Mr Tokantetaake says there are no regulations in Kiribati about prostitutes, which is the main weakness in the law...

"Previously we were trying to enforce the custom law which prohibited people from going on to the ship without permission from the custom - that was the law that we were trying to enforce in the first place, but it was very weak. We would bring those people to court but we didn't have strong evidence against them."

Kiribati Police Commissioner, Ioeru Tokantetaake