18 Sep 2008

Solomons' public official says foreign loggers exploiting young rural girls

3:13 pm on 18 September 2008

A Solomon Islands local government official has accused foreign logging companies of exploiting young village girls in his province.

John Mark Lokumana, the deputy secretary of Isabel Province, says logging companies are targeting poor families and luring young girls with cash.

Mr Lokumana has told the Solomon Times newspaper that logging companies have been employing very young girls to work as domestic live-in servants.

He also says they are only interested in very young girls and the land owners have allowed their daughters, who have dropped out from grade six or early high school, to marry these loggers.

Mr Lokumana says many of these teenage girls are later abandoned and left to cope alone with the children when the Asian loggers return to their home countries.

He also says Isabel Province got very little revenue from logging companies operating there.