Murky Waters: A Qualitative Assessment of Modern Slavery in the Pacific Region

Murky Waters: A Qualitative Assessment of Modern Slavery in the Pacific Region

Modern slavery remains an urgent problem in the Pacific region, along  with complex, interconnected issues such as climate change, gender-based violence, poverty, and unemployment, a report from the Walk Free Foundation finds. Based on a literature review and interviews with anti-slavery stakeholders in Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu, the report, Murky Waters: A Qualitative Assessment of Modern Slavery in the Pacific Region(82 pages, PDF), found at least one but often several forms of slavery — including forced labor, trafficking of exploited laborers, sexual exploitation, child labor, and forced and early marriage — in all eight countries. Risk factors that make people vulnerable to exploitation include poverty and economic insecurity, migration and displacement, weak governance, and cultural norms that allow for discrimination of and violence against women and children. Key recommendations for ending slavery in the region include raising awareness of the problem; providing comprehensive and systematic training around victim identification and victim-centered responses to those who may come into contact with victims; increasing access to and strengthening victim support services, including emergency care and long-term reintegration support for all victims; enacting or strengthening legislation to ensure that all forms of human exploitation are criminalized with appropriately severe penalties; and implementing a coordinated and focused regional response by Pacific nation governments. 

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