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Fiji Time: 5:30 PM on Friday 29 August

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Island girls trade sex

By MARGARET WISE
Friday, October 17, 2008

SOME children from outer islands work as prostitutes at night and attend school as students by day. These children are usually found around the Nabua and Vatuwaqa areas.

A police officer from the Nabua Police Station said these young girls were usually found in the Nabua and Vatuwaqa areas. The officer's interview is part of a report prepared by Save the Children Fiji (SCF) on the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC).

These students were sent to the city to live with relatives and continue their secondary education as such services were not available in remote isolated islands. However, struggling relatives have their own offspring and tend to and leave these visiting relatives to their own devices increasing the vulnerability to fall into activities like CSEC.

"After talking to these girls we have discovered that they have been sent to Suva from the outer islands, like the Lau group, for educational purposes.

Unfortunately the assistance they get in either cash or kind that is sent to relatives does not reach them," the officer said.

"They resort to selling themselves for $5 to $20 in order to buy stuff for school because their parents would want them to do well at school.

"It's heartbreaking to see the same young girls the next day trudging along the road to school with their backpacks."

The report said for most of these girls, leaving the islands was the only choice if they wanted to further their education.

A majority of them are billeted with relatives living in urban areas.


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