28 Aug 2020

Fiji fails to investigate child labour violations: US report

6:02 pm on 28 August 2020

A report into people trafficking by the US State Department says Fiji had not confirmed investigation of cases identified in 2019.

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Photo: US State Dept

The 2020 Trafficking in Persons Report stated that labour officers had conducted more than 3,500 inspections and found 41 violations in Fiji.

The US State Department report said the child labour violations mostly involved children working in family retail establishments during school hours.

It also said the government employed 38 labour inspectors to identify violations while 35 officers were dedicated to health and safety.

But the report said the inspectors did not have adequate understanding of forced labour issues.

It also said Fiji authorities did not adequately monitor the conditions of work and sites of companies with foreign owners or investors.

The report also made reference to taxis being used in to transport sex workers, including child victims, to foreign tourists.

It said locals and foreigners were exploited by human traffickers.

The report found traffickers exploited victims in illegal brothels, hotels, private homes and massage parlours where traffickers sometimes used websites and cell phone applications to advertise victims for commercial sex.

The report stated there was a practice where taxi drivers transported Fijian child trafficking victims to hotels in tourist areas at the request of foreigners seeking sex.