Friday, April 11, 2008

Human Rights Study Reports Human Trafficking and Corruption In Palau

By David Miho

From Pacific Magazine:

A U.S. State Department report has highlighted people trafficking, corruption by government officials and domestic violence as matters for concern in its annual review of human rights conditions in Palau.

The report notes that in 2007, charges were brought by Palau’s Attorney General against four foreign nationals for human trafficking to advance prostitution in a local karaoke restaurant. All were convicted, with fines, restitution and jail terms. Charges were also brought forth against state officials for misuse of public funds for personal
benefit by the Special Prosecutor, with the former governor of Airai ordered to pay over $5,000 in restitution.

Cases are still pending against a Koror State legislator, 23 current or former legislators of Kayangel State for misuse of public funds and against the governor of Melekeok State on similar charges.

Charges of misuse of per diem by the Special Prosecutor against current and former members of Palau’s Congress have also been filed with most pending trial. In addition, a officer of the Bureau of Revenue, Customs and Taxation was charged and convicted of accepting a bribe and fined in addition to a jail sentence.

The State Department also voiced concern over domestic violence involving women and child abuse with alcohol and drug abuse as contributing factors. In addition, the report alluded to reports of illegal prostitution being a problem with women from China and the Philippines working in karaoke bars as hostesses and prostitutes.

While crediting the Palau government for responding to such incidents, the U.S. State Department acknowledged that enforcement capabilities were lacking due to few qualified personnel and inadequate funding.

1 comment:

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