6 Aug 2012

Call in Solomons for police power to defend sexual victims

10:26 am on 6 August 2012

A senior police officer in Solomon Islands says the force lacks the power to prosecute foreign loggers having underage sex.

A 2007 report called for government action on underage prostitution and sexual abuse at logging camps in the Arosi region and in 2008 claims emerged of sexual exploitation by loggers in Isabel Province.

The head of the police sexual assault and family violence unit, Florence Taro, says girls as young as 13 are being forced into prostitution or arranged marriagesin the provinces of Malaita, Makira and Isabel.

"When there is a violent situation that the police come across we can intervene and stop. Even though we directly witness the assault between the two parties involved, we cannot lodge any complaint on behalf of the vitim unless the victim, him or herself, wish to proceed with a criminal case against the other party."

Florence Taro says in the case of underaged teenagers the parents must be willing to supply evidence for the police to be able to lodge a case.