Why human trafficking is thriving

By Soli Wilson 17 February 2019, 12:00AM

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) believes there is human trafficking on some fishing trawlers in the Pacific but the lack of data is making it difficult to address. 

That is the view of Par Liljert, who works as coordinator and advisor for the IOM. He said this in an interview with the Samoa Observer, on the sidelines of a regional seminar in Samoa, which focused on addressing the challenges of human trafficking and people smuggling in the Pacific. 

Mr. Liljert said the IOM would like to do more work in the Pacific’s fishery industry, to make an assessment on the labour conditions and to look for potential trafficking. 

“In the fishery industry we would like to do more work on the fishing vessels especially the ones that are coming from maybe other countries into the region what kind of labor conditions are there on the boats and looking at the potential trafficking,” he said in an interview.

The need to collect data is also important for the IOM, added Mr. Liljert, as the lack of data in the Pacific is making it difficult for local authorities to tackle issues such as human trafficking. 

“Another thing we want to discuss more with the member states is how we can properly gather data and how can we join to try and gather data so that we can actually analyze it and share that data amongst the countries in the Pacific.”

Other regions in the world have data, according to Mr. Liljert, but not the Pacific region. 

“If you ask me whether we think there is trafficking in some of the fishing boats yes we think so, but if you ask us how many have we found, we are not there yet because we haven’t started to gather the data,” he said. 

The seminar was organised by The Pacific Immigration Development Community. It focused on developing a regional framework, which will help support each country to develop their national action plans to combat human trafficking and people smuggling.

By Soli Wilson 17 February 2019, 12:00AM

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