8 Mar 2007

Kiribati HIV/AIDS taskforce says lack of alternatives the problem in discouraging sex workers

8:07 pm on 8 March 2007

The chairman of Kiribati's HIV/AIDS taskforce says they are continuing to try to persuade young girls to stop going to the docks and selling themselves for sex to the men off international fishing vessels.

Batiri Bataua says there are up to 80 to 100 girls active on the docks, some as young as 13 or 14.

He says many come from the outer islands, drawn by the bright lights of South Tarawa, and they like the U.S. dollars, the partying and the drinking that happens when the men arrive in town.

Mr Bataua says they have recently held a workshop with about 40 of the girls to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS but he says it doesn't stop them going to the docks.

He says one of the problems is that there are not many other jobs for them.

"Employment wise - that will be a very long story because we still have a long queue of unemployment, and these girls, most of them don't have good education. Trying to get a job for them, I would say, that it would be hard."

Mr Bataua says Korea's National Youth Commission funded the latest workshop but additional resources are needed to address the problem.