Claims that poverty is leading to prostitution in Fiji

updated By Ripeka Timutimu

A former member of the Fiji Human Rights commission claims sex workers are on the rise following the devastation of Cyclone Winston.

Shamima Ali was ousted from the Human Rights commission following the military coup of 2006.

She says PM Frank Bainimarama and his govt are turning a blind eye to women suffering in poverty stricken conditions, causing them to sell themselves for a quick buck. On the streets of Suva she's helping women get out of prostitution.

“When we do have disasters of this nature and you have political instability, there is an economic down turn. So this is a natural progression, we see an increase in prostitution of women and girls.”  

Whilst PM Frank Bainimarama was busy entertaining John Key, Ali says he must do more to help local women.

“I don’t believe there are enough policies to decrease poverty and a political will to be able to do that. Workers are paid in this country, it particular women who are less educated, their employment options decrease and their power to earn also desreases.”

Bainimarama has shut down questions from the media, instead making statements like this.

“No one who reports on events in Fiji fairly and in a balance manner is excluded. Any journalist is free to criticize my government or me in an opinion piece or report criticism made by other peoples news stories.”

“It is on the basis that I stand before you tonight. Not as a coup maker or dictator but as a popularly elected freely choosen leader of Fiji.”

The closest we could get to him was this.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key says, “He’s quite warm and engaging, and it’s typical of the Fijian people.”

But Ali says despite appearances, her suspicion of Bainimarama and his government remains.

Ali says, “You yourself would have seen today all the pomp and grand, that those with a militarised country, we have it in this country, we have a lot military people in the civil service. These are issues no one talks about and we need to start talking about that.”

Ali is doubtful there will be any relief for woman pushed into prostitution anytime soon.