Fiji improves ranking in trafficking in persons report

The Government of Fiji does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so, the United States Department of State said in a report released this week.

In their 2021 Annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, the US Government recognised improved efforts by Fiji, particularly amidst the impacts of COVID19, to comply with standards compared to the previous reporting period, and upgraded its ranking to Tier 2.

These efforts included including investigating 10 suspected trafficking cases involving 102 potential victims, formally endorsing a national anti-trafficking strategy for 2021-2026, and creating a trafficking case management coordinator office, which was set to assume responsibility of coordinating victim support.

In a statement, the US Embassy to Fiji said: “The United States applauds the efforts the Government of Fiji made in 2020 towards combatting trafficking in persons and looks forward to working with all the relevant stakeholders to continue forward momentum on the issue.”

Among these the need for more support provided to victims of labour and sex trafficking, especially the latter.

For the reporting year which covers the period of 1 April 2020, to 31 March 2021, the report noted that Fijian Government provided services to only three victims of labor trafficking and did not provide services to any victims of sex trafficking, despite reports that Fijian children continued to be exploited in commercial sex. The report also noted that Fiji did not convict any traffickers during the reporting period and has only convicted one trafficker since 2014.

The US Government uses the report to stimulate action and create partnerships around the world in the fight against trafficking in persons Fiji had been ranked Tier 2 Watch List since 2018.

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