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6 Mar 2020

Walk Free Foundation

Walk Free Foundation launches qualitative research on select forms of modern slavery in the Pacific

"Murky Waters: A Qualitative Assessment of Modern Slavery in the Pacific Region", 2020




Commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) exists among widespread sexual exploitation of children, underpinned by cultural norms about women, girls and children.


Forced labour and trafficking for labour exploitation are increasingly being recognised across the region, particularly among migrants
and in the fishing and construction sectors, though significant gaps in understanding and relatively low awareness remain.


An influx of foreign investment projects in the PICs has led to increased risk of forced labour and forced sexual exploitation of Asian migrant workers in high-risk sectors in the PICs.


Vulnerabilities linked to migration and discrimination against women are likely to be exacerbated by increasing effects of climate change in PICs.


Labour mobility scheme workers and their families are vulnerable to modern slavery through family breakdown, child protection issues, and gender-based violence.



1. Fund and establish evidence-based and culturally specific awareness raising campaigns around how to identify and report cases of modern slavery....

2. Provide comprehensive and systematic training on victim identification and victim-centred responses...and support existing legislation...that are meant to eliminate modern slavery.

3. ...Provide emergency care and long-term reintegration support to all victims of modern slavery.... Build upon existing systems...such as services for victims of gender-based violence.

4. Enact legislation, or strengthen existing legislation, to ensure that all forms of human exploitation are criminalised....

5. Develop National Action Plans to combat modern slavery, in coordination with relevant stakeholders....

6. ...Pacific governments must implement a coordinated and focused regional response to successfully combat these crimes.

7. Mainstream women’s rights into national strategies. [...]

8. Extend programs that engage with communities through human rights-based education and other community empowerment models....

9. Development partners must expand support to Pacific Island countries....

10. Fund and support research that examines the vulnerabilities that boys face...including prevalence of different forms of modern slavery and with a focus on at-risk sectors.