AIC Report:  Vulnerabilities to trafficking in persons in the Pacific Islands

At the 2010 PILON Annual Meeting members noted  people trafficking as a significant and emerging transnational crime issue in the Pacific region. The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) released a paper in late 2011 titled “Vulnerabilities to trafficking in persons in the Pacific Islands”, confirming that people trafficking remains an issue. The report cites evidence, including specific case studies, of incidents of trafficking in persons in several Pacific Island nations; and also of the link between these activities and other facets of transnational organized crime, including money laundering and prostitution.

The report provides an overview of the key vulnerabilities of the Pacific Islands region to trafficking in persons.  These include existing patterns of people movement (for example, for cultural reasons), inadequate law enforcement and border control mechanisms, and a proneness, and limited capacity to respond, to natural disasters.

One of the strategies identified to target the vulnerabilities discussed and combat trafficking in persons in the Pacific is local specialised anti-trafficking legislation and law enforcement support, responding to the diversity of offending related to this crime. 

The report recognises that efforts are being made by Pacific Island nations to commit to and implement anti-trafficking treaties and measures, particularly through adoption of the  Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.  The paper references model legislation developed by both the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and UNODC to assist Pacific Islands Nations implement the Protocol.

The report also notes efforts being made by the Pacific Immigration Director’s Conference , the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police,the Pacific Transnational Crime Network and the Oceania Customs Organisation to strengthen border and immigration security which will assist in preventing people trafficking.

The report is available on the Australian Institute of Criminology’s website ( and as a PDF here