The project — Empowering Fijian Civil Society in Countering Trafficking in Human Beings — began implementation on 1 February 2020 and aims to prevent human trafficking in Fiji and protect the fundamental rights of victims of trafficking, and the associated forms of exploitation and abuse.
The Pacific region is vulnerable to exploitation by human traffickers, including Fiji which, as a major regional hub, has become a source, transit, and destination country for cross-border trafficking and experiences domestic human trafficking.
Statistics on human trafficking in Fiji are hard to find, due to the lack of targeted research and data collection to date and the insidious nature of the crime. However, there are known cases of nationals from other Pacific Island countries and north and south Asian countries that have been trafficked into Fiji and subjected to sexual exploitation and forced labour. Some Fijian citizens have been trafficked to other countries such as Australia and the United Arab Emirates, and there is anecdotal evidence that domestic trafficking of Fijians also occurs.
"l am pleased to be marking World Day against Trafficking in Persons on the 30th of July this year alongside members of the National Human Trafficking Working Group and counter trafficking project partners, the IOM and Homes of Hope. The European Union is proud to be providing assistance of EUR 498,750, with additional co-funding from IOM, to deliver this important project in Fiji, including the first major research study into human trafficking in Fiji which hopes to fill some of the current data gaps. It is in line with the global ambition of the European Union to address global challenges, such as Trafficking in Persons." said the Ambassador of the European Union for the Pacific, HE Sujiro Seam.
IOM and Homes of Hope aim to target all forms of human trafficking by supporting Fijian civil society and the Government of Fiji to strengthen their partnership and national approach to prevent human trafficking, and by supporting Fijian civil society to effectively raise awareness about human trafficking and to advocate for the rights of victims.
"This project supports Fiji's efforts as a Pathfinder Country under the global Alliance 8.7 partnership to tackle modern slavery, forced labour, human trafficking, and child labour," said IOM Fiji Officer in Charge and IOM Coordinator for the Pacific, Pär Liljert.
He added, "IOM's implementing partner, Homes of Hope, has worked closely with Fijian communities for nearly 25 years to support victims of forced sex and exploitation and to create safety nets that protect women and children from sexual abuse, sexual violence and to care for survivors. The organization has worked with many cases of domestic trafficking through its residential care program and training school in Suva. We look forward to working with Homes of Hope to build on the team's local experience and networks to have a positive impact on preventing human trafficking in Fiji."
Ms Lee Yacoumis at IOM Fiji, Email: Iyacoumis@iom.int Tel: +679 331 0730