18 May 2016

Calls for Tongan government to collect better info on child poverty

5:44 pm on 18 May 2016

Anecdotal evidence of increasing poverty in Nuku'alofa suggests more children are vulnerable to sexual assault, the director of Tonga's Women and Children Crisis Centre says.

A doctor is buying breakfast for about 150 school children twice-a-week in Kolomotu'a and more children are appearing on the streets of the capital selling peanuts.

The Centre's director, Ofa Ki-Levuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki, said sexual predators preyed on children in poverty.

"They are more vulnerable and become more susceptible to physical and sexual violence by people who know that this kid is from a poor background, the kid is struggling and if I offer this kid food or money then it will be easy for me to access sexual violation."

Ofa Ki-Levuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki said the Tongan government needs to collect better data on the plight of the nation's poor children.