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35+ years of activism & feminism in Fiji

Published

08 February 2022

Author

Fiji Women's Rights Movement

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FWRM Concerned with lenient sentence in domestic child sex trafficking case 8/02/2022 

FWRM Concerned with lenient sentence in domestic child sex trafficking case 

8/02/2022 

The Fiji Women's Rights Movement (FWRM) is  extremely concerned by the lenient sentence meted by the Courts against a man charged for buying minors for immoral purposes. 

Simione Tugi was sentenced to 2.5 years imprisonment for the selling of a 16-year-old victim on two separate incidents to two different men for the purposes of sexual intercourse in exchange for money. The custodial sentence against Tugi for such detestable treatment and exploitation of a 16-year-old girl child is unacceptable! 

"In the 2014 High Court case of State v Raikadroka, the court discussed sentencing tariff for domestic trafficking in children and suggested  a sentence range starting  from between 10-16 years! In the same case, High Court Justice P.K. Madigan stated that “… trafficking a child for sexual services is more serious [than the crime of rape of a child], in that it is not one single act of violence but is the making available a child for innumerable sexual acts for money. “

The media reports are also silent on whether the court in this case followed any sentencing tariffs set by the courts in Fiji in similar cases.

“The leniency of the punishment sends the wrong kind of message - that we tolerate sexual crimes and that we do not prioritise the safety and protection of our children, the most vulnerable members in our society” FWRM Executive Director, Nalini Singh said. 

'Sexual violence is a prevalent and heinous crime in Fiji against women and girls. Statistics from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) showed that last year, a large percentage of the rape and sexual offence cases heard in Fiji's High Court were against victims/survivors under 18 years - 136 victims from the total of 196. Our own continuing analysis on Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls and Rape Cases heard in the higher courts also concluded this as an ongoing yearly trend since 2016. This is a sick portrayal of our society and there should be more urgency from everyone to address this issue’, she said.  

The FWRM analysis shows that from 2016 to 2021, the average age of sexual violence victims/survivors for the past 5 years in Fiji is under 17 years and the age of the youngest victims/survivors continue to be under the age of 5 years old. 

‘Girls already face layers of discrimination within our communities. What are we doing to create a safer community for these vulnerable members of society? We call for harsher sentencing! Less than three years of imprisonment is gross injustice while victims suffer life-long trauma,” Ms. Singh said. 

FWRM strongly reiterates the need for the Courts to ensure justice and accountability from offenders that commit such horrible crimes against children who have no voice, are vulnerable and rely on us to protect them from predators.  

End.

For media queries please contact FWRM Communications Officer Serelisoni Moceica This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 8677 330