A NON-GOVERNMENT ORGANISATION in Papua New Guinea says the PNG government has failed to act to protect young girls and teenagers from forced marriages.
There are reports that girls as young as five are being sold by their parents to older men, sometimes foreigners working in the forestry and mining sectors.
“We've got a wide range of reports that come in on young girls that are being forced into marriages or especially into sexual relationships with older men,” said Ume Wainetti of the PNG Consultative Implementation and Monitoring Council.
“There's a lot of mistreatment of these young girls because many of them are forced to marry men who are already married,” Wainetti said
“We’re talking about girls between the ages of 16 and 14. But other ones who are forced into sexual relationships are much, much younger.
“Our government has not responded to any of these things. Maybe, when some international agencies come and say it's happening, they'll take note. But when we say it they don't.
“They really should take note and, when major projects are being developed, this issue should be addressed… I'm talking about international companies in the extractive industries.
“Most of the time it's through the workers in the company the girls are being sold or being encouraged to get into this type of relationship or men who've got money, especially in the forestry development areas, Wainetti said.