5 Aug 2008

CNMI warned against becoming a child trafficking destination

3:35 pm on 5 August 2008

An organisation aimed at preventing human trafficking says the Northern Marianas must ensure it doesn't become a major child trafficking destination.

Shared Hope International presented a study into human trafficking, which covers the Northern Marianas, following an assessment of juvenile welfare agencies.

It found that although the territory has taken steps to address the issue, a child being locally trafficked is often labelled as an abuse victim.

Its founder and president, Linda Smith, has likened the CNMI to a family with a conflict within.

"They are wonderful people who protect their children and their families, but because of familial abuse is one that many people don't really want to talk about, it'll be more difficult here because everybody knows everyone here or is related, it'll make it more difficult to enforce the law."

Linda Smith says most children are trafficked by drug addicted parents needing money for methamphetamine and in the tourism industry.