PNG PM looks to combat human trafficking

3:00 pm on 3 August 2015

Papua New Guinea's prime minister says his government will look to engage its regional partners to establish a more formal network to track and detain vessels with slaves on board.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill at the UK-PNG Trade and Investment Forum.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill at the UK-PNG Trade and Investment Forum. Photo: Supplied

Peter O'Neill has issued a statement following the detention by PNG authorities in conjunction with the International Organisation for Migration of a foreign fishing vessel carrying at least eight apparent victims of forced human trafficking a week ago.

The alleged victims rescued from the vessel are of Cambodian and Myanmar nationality and are being accommodated in a safe location until arrangements can be made to repatriate them.

The 19 other crew on the Blissful Reefer have been taken to Port Moresby for further processing.

Mr O'Neill has expressed disgust that human trafficking takes place in the Asia-Pacific and has committed PNG's support to develop regional solutions to put an end to this exploitation.

He says the challenge presented by this case is to find the organisers of what he calls a "disturbing trade in human suffering".

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