8 Mar 2007

Kiribati government tries to curb prostitution on the docks

4:23 pm on 8 March 2007

There are calls for South Korean officials to provide additional assistance to Kiribati as the government attempts to stop young girls selling themselves for sex to men off fishing vessels.

The HIV/AIDS taskforce says there are between 80 to 100 girls active on the docks, some as young as 13 or 14.

The senior woman development officer at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Aren Teannaki, says they often talk to the girls and have held workshops to highlight the problem of HIV/AIDS and asked them to use condoms.

But, she says the girls, many of whom come from the outer islands, are more interested in having a good time and partying.

Ms Teannaki says there is a strategy in place but additional help is needed.

"We lack those capacities because we don't have the resources and expertise in some of the areas that we need to, to stop this immediately. We can try to take measures but it would take time unless of course, these overseas ships, like for example the Korean ships, if they also talk to their men in trying not to encourage these young girls."

South Korea's National Youth Commission has twice visited Kiribati over the issue and provided 4,000 U.S. dollars to hold a workshop.