19 Apr 2012

Campaigners say Pacific countries are vulnerable to human trafficking

4:37 am on 19 April 2012

Campaigners say Pacific Island countries are vulnerable to human trafficking and they're asking Pacific Island groups to get together with a new New Zealand network to prevent culprits gaining a foothold in the region.

Alan Bell of the New Zealand Network Against People Trafficking says mainly anecdotal evidence shows there is exploitation happening in the fishing and logging industries.

He also says the region is at risk because of so-called soft borders, tourism and less stringent law enforcement.

"As the scrutiny strengthens in Asia which is the major hub for trafficking in the world, it is starting to push down into the Pacific. Also with tourism on the increase in the Pacific, sex tourism and trafficking go hand in hand. There's an increased risk in that area well."

Alan Bell says organisations from Samoa, Fiji, Tonga and Papua New Guinea have been invited to join the network