Fiji’s 2023-24 Employment Survey Adds Human Trafficking and Corruption Questions

Fiji’s upcoming 2023-24 Employment and Unemployment Survey, the first in eight years scheduled to start next month, will include, for the first time, questions on human trafficking and corruption.

Simeli Drodro, the Bureau of Statistics Field Statistician, did not reveal what prompted the decision to gather this data but mentioned that it builds upon a baseline survey conducted in 2020.

Radrodro said that the survey had reported incidents of human trafficking and that this might increase with a larger sample size to be interviewed in the forthcoming survey.

“For this survey, the sample size is larger, so we anticipate a substantial amount of information. I’m unsure whether the numbers will rise or fall; the analysis will follow the completion of the survey,” Drodro explained.

The 2022 report by the International Organisation for Migration labeled Fiji a source and destination for human trafficking. Poverty, unemployment, migration, and COVID-19 worsen vulnerabilities. Adults and children are exploited for labor and sex locally and abroad, facing threats, violence, and health risks. Traffickers, including recruiters, business owners, and pimps, exploit victims through false job ads and social media.

Questions regarding human trafficking and corruption are among the 100+ questions that enumerators will pose to households during the survey, which will be conducted from September 11 to September 31, 2024, across 600 enumeration areas including the maritime.

“Otherwise, all questions are previously used; however, the main focus for us lies in section 2, pertaining to economic activity in the past seven days, as this section determines the labor force – those who are employed and those who are unemployed. The questions cover aspects such as working hours, leave, sick leave, and the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF). While there are more than 100 questions, enumerators will not ask all of them to every household, as some questions may not be applicable,” Drodro said.

Data on ethnicity will also be collected and analysed alongside other gathered information, which collectively will assist policymakers in providing targeted assistance to those in greatest need.

The 2023-24 Employment & Unemployment Survey (EUS) is a Household Survey conducted by the Fiji Bureau of Statistics every five years. The survey aims to gather data on the size and structure of the country’s workforce, encompassing both formal and informal sectors. The previous survey took place in 2015-2016, with no survey carried out in 2020-2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The unemployment rate decreased from 7.5% to 5.5% in the 2015-16 survey.

As part of the preparations, the Fiji Bureau of Statistics convened its Training of Trainers earlier this month. The training of enumerators or field interviewers is currently ongoing at their office in Suva, for a week, concluding tomorrow.

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