PNG police rescue girl, 15, ‘sold’ for sex by her cousin in city crackdown

Teenager rescued by PNG police
This 15-year-old girl (right) was rescued by PNG immigration and police officers who were conducting a spot check on a guest house at 5-Mile in the capital Port Moresby yesterday. Image: Kennedy Bani/The National

By Miriam Zarriga in Port Moresby

A 15-year-old Papua New Guinean girl, found in a Port Moresby guesthouse during a spot check by immigration and police officers yesterday, says she was sold without her knowledge by her cousin sister for K100 to two men for sex.

Officers of the Immigration and Citizenship Authority (ICA) and police arrived at the guesthouse for a spot check just when the two men were trying to find a room for them and the girl.

The guesthouse at 5-Mile was next on the officers’ list as they crack down on illegal activities by businessmen and foreigners who have become naturalised citizens.

They found the girl among about 20 men and women inside.

They realised that the business was providing other services than accommodation.

The girl, when questioned by the officials, broke down, saying she had been forced to follow the two men by her cousin sister.

“My cousin asked my mother for me to spend a night with her.

‘My mother allowed me
“My mother allowed me to spend a night,” she said.

“But [yesterday morning], my cousin said she wanted us to go to the second-hand shop.

“She took me out of the house at 4-Mile and took me to Gordon.

“We met a guy from Popondetta who my cousin said was a friend of hers, and a man from Southern Highlands.

“My cousin told me to keep her friends company while she went to look for betel nut.

“However, she didn’t return.

“And with no bus fare, I was forced to follow the two men.

Three detained by PNG police
The 20-year-old woman and the two men detained by immigration and police officers. Image: Kennedy Bani/The National

Paid money to cousin
“They both told me they had paid some money to my cousin.”

The officers found out that the cousin had sold her to the two men for K100 (NZ$40) for an hour of sex.

The two men, released with others in the guesthouse, were tracked down at Vision City, where officers found them with the cousin sister.

They had used the girl to find out where the three were after they had left the guesthouse.

The three were surprised when they were surrounded by ICA and police officers.

They were taken to the ICA office in Waigani where they were interviewed.

The girl’s 20-year-old cousin admitted to the officers that the man from Popondetta was her brother-in-law.

Police detain trio
Last night, the three were detained at 6-Mile police station for further interrogation today.

Police plan to charge the two men with “obtaining the services of child prostitution”.

The 20-year-old cousin will likely face a charge of “officering, facilitating and receiving benefits from child prostitution”.

It is understood that the girl was taken back to her relatives.

ICA officers and police began their spot checks last weekend arresting people — especially foreigners they believe have been involved in illegal activities.

Some are also being investigated for breaching their visa conditions.

Miriam Zarriga is a reporter for The National. Republished with permission.

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