Reporting by Radio New Zealand
Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands are on a United States’ watchlist because of forced labour and prostitution particularly in the logging and mining industries.
The US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report 2015 highlights boys as young as 12 being exploited as “market taxis” – being forced to carry extremely heavy loads for low pay, some of them victims of forced labour.
An estimated one in five workers in PNG are children, some of whom are forced into work or prostitution.
According to the report, tribal leaders reportedly trade exploited labour with each other as well as the services of girls and women for guns and to forge political alliances.
Malaysian and Chinese companies are accused of arranging for women from East Asian countries to enter the country fraudulently and transporting them to logging and mining camps where they are forced into prostitution.
Chinese, Malaysian and local men are also subjected to forced labour in the camps with little pay and at the mercy of debt bondage schemes.