19 Sep 2008

Solomon Islands official accuses logging companies of exploiting young girls

9:26 am on 19 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 have been employing very young girls to work as domestic live-in servants in thier camps.

Mr Lokumana says logging companies are targeting poor families and luring young girls with cash.

"There are some unfortunate people living in the province, that they want to just use their children to get benefits from this company, I think that is one...so I would say that the issue of young girls staying with Asians the parents are also the contributing factor to such an incident. Because they think they can benefit from these Asian people, especially loggers."

John Mark Lokumana says some companies have had outstanding licences for a decade.