4 Mar 2003

MP raises fears that paedophiles may target Fiji

5:53 pm on 4 March 2003

A Fiji Opposition MP has warned that paedophiles may target the South Pacific region following the recent clampdown on the once thriving child sex trade in Asian countries such as Thailand.

Ofa Swann says with Fiji's growing tourist industry, it would only be a matter of time before those in the illicit sex trade turn their attention to Fiji.

The Fiji Times quotes Ms Swann as saying the situation in Fiji seems conducive to the sex trade because of the rise in poverty which has contributed to prostitution, crime and other social ills.

She says it would be devastating if poor women sell their children for money in order to survive.

But the chief executive of the Fiji Visitors Bureau, Bill Gavoka, says Fiji does not attract the kind of visitors engaged in such activities.

Paedophilia has been highlighted in Fiji in several court cases involving Australian and New Zealand businessmen and visitors being charged with having sex with children or taking pornographic photos of them.