Tuesday, 17 June 2008 5:18 AM

PNG Admits to Trafficking Problem

In response to the recent report by the US State Department, police in PNG, while admitting to the problem of trafficking, say that it is not as bad as the report portrays.

As reported by Papua New Guinea's The National, according to the report by the US State Department, 'PNG has been added to the list of countries that have done virtually nothing to address traffic in persons, or slavery', joining other countries like 'North Korea, Sudan, Syria, Algeria, Iran, Myanmar, and Cuba'.

The report states that Director of Intelligence Superintendent, Terence Frawlry, who is in charge of the Trans-national Crimes unit, 'told The National that while human smuggling and other related crimes were prevalent in PNG, it was not as bad as portrayed by the US', adding that 'human smuggling was happening at the logging operations and retail businesses'.

'"While we know the prevalence of the crime, the situation is not as bad as other countries," he said'.

'Mr Frawley attributed the current problem with smuggling to poor border management and lack of appropriate resources to enforcement agencies such as police, immigration and the Internal Revenue Commission' but says that 'what concerns him most is the prevalence of counterfeit and imitation products in the country'.

The region faces a major problem of securing its borders because the countries in the region are surrounded by ocean and it is a huge task involving lots of time and money to monitor the seas surrounding them, especially considering that these countries depend so much on foreign aid, most of which goes towards development and trying to improve the standard of living. It is therefore not such an impossible task for yachts, boats and ships to smuggle things in and out of the region.

The Pacific Islands Forum Regional Security Committee had recently concluded a two-day meeting in Suva, Fiji, in which they considered the security issues of the region, especially transnational crimes.

Coincidentally, in another report by The National, PNG Police recently charged two Gulf provincial administration officers, one of which was a woman, with producing pornographic images combined in a CD which was in circulation in Kerema.
Police believe the 'production of these CDs is not only done in Kerema but in the outstation especially in the 'logging camps''.

'"People in the rural areas now have laptop computers, video and digital cameras and we are suspecting that these state-of-the -art items are been smuggled here by foreign logging ships," police said'.