NGO in Guam warns human trafficking is a big problem
An NGO in Guam fears young people on the island are being targeted by human traffickers.
An NGO in Guam says human trafficking is a bigger problem on the island then people think, calling on locals to be more vigilant and observant about what goes on around them.
WestCare Pacific Islands provides care services for addiction treatment, homelessness, domestic violence and other issues.
Its vice president, Sarah Thomas-Nededog, told Moera Tuilaepa-Taylor she fears vulnerable young people on the island are targets of human traffickers.
The United Nations War on Human Trafficking Association recently organised two events at the University of Guam, one which was a panel discussion on the prevalence of human trafficking on Guam and around Micronesia.
SARAH THOMAS-NEDEDOG: Especially when you have young people who are desperate to make an income, who lack the education and the skills to get a job, or they have difficulty getting a job for whatever reason, they are prone to becoming victims to human trafficking. So what we like to do is really have a community that is very aware of these vulnerabilities and we work concertedly to ensure, or better ensure, that our risk is lower, is decreased by doing things to help support those that are most vulnerable to be victims of human trafficking.
MOERA TUILAEPA: The reported cases that you've had of human trafficking, where are most of the victims from, are they from the outer islands in Guam or are they from possible parts of Asia?
STN: I think the ones that were found on Guam were young ladies from our neighbouring islands, that's very concerning and it really requires us to have a regional response to this issue. It's something that all of us in the Micronesian region need to hold hands on.
MT: And are there a number of organisation in Guam who work with victims of human trafficking there?
STN: Well we have a very vigilant US attorney, Alicia Limtiaco, who has spearheaded the human trafficking task force and she has brought together the faith-based organisations, the CFOs, the government agencies, the US Federal Government and the local government agencies, and some private businesses including those involved in the tourism business, so a regional strategy can be developed and carried out so she's working vigilantly on that, and we join her in that effort, and we also need to make sure that our political and other religious and community leaders have full participation in this plan.
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