5 Jun 2008

U.S, State Department says Fiji and PNG could lose aid following human trafficking report

11:10 am on 5 June 2008

A U.S State Department report says Fiji and Papua New Guinea have failed to make significant efforts to eliminate human trafficking last year and risk losing some U.S. aid.

The two, along with Moldova slipped into the lowest ranking of the annual "Trafficking in Persons" report, which tracks forced labor and the sex trade.

That classification means the United States could withhold aid that is not humanitarian or trade-related, according to the report, which covers 170 countries and ranks 153 of them on their efforts to combat what it calls "modern day slavery."

The United States estimates 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year, about 80 percent of them female and up to half minors.

Millions more are trafficked within national borders for labor and sexual exploitation.

The report also says Solomon Islands was suspected of having trafficking problems but was not ranked because of lack of sufficient information.