By Miriam Zarriga in Port Moresby
The Papua New Guinean woman who allegedly sold her cousin sister — confirmed to be aged only 12 — to two men for sex in the capital Port Moresby is facing three charges related to child prostitution.
The girl, reported earlier to be 15, was rescued by officers from the Immigration and Citizenship Authority and police on Monday at a guesthouse in Port Moresby where the two men had taken her.
Police confirmed yesterday that the woman, 20, had been charged with one count of obtaining the services of a child prostitute, one count of facilitating or allowing child prostitution, and one count of receiving a benefit from child prostitution.
All three charges come under the PNG Criminal Code Act ch 262.
The girl’s mother yesterday showed documents to prove that her daughter would be turning 13 in a few months.
She told The National outside the police station yesterday that the anger she felt when told of what her child had gone through, saw a near confrontation with the woman — her niece — who allegedly sold her for K100 (NZ$40).
“I was asked that my child spend a night with her cousins,” the girl’s mother said.
‘I trusted my niece’
“As they were her cousins, I allowed her to spend the evening on Monday afternoon until Tuesday.
“When she didn’t return on Tuesday, I didn’t think much about it because she was with her cousins.
“So I was surprised when a police vehicle with my daughter inside turned up at our home on Wednesday morning.”
She accompanied them to the police station, terrified of the bad news she was going to hear.
The woman, who has now remarried, has five children.
The 12-year-old daughter is the third eldest.
“I am a mother of five. My first husband died two years ago. We talk about everything and despite what everyone is saying, she is not involved in that type of activity,” the mother said.
“I trusted my niece and she has broken that trust.”
Police bail not allowed
The National understands that due to the seriousness of the charges, the woman will not be allowed police bail.
She will have to apply for bail when she appears in court.
The girl is currently staying at a safe house arranged by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
Chief Migration Officer Stanis Hulahau said some guest houses were carrying out illegal and undesirable businesses on the pretext of offering cheap accommodation.
“We will continue to pursue those who use guesthouses as a front to carry out illegal activities,” he said.
It is believed that foreigners who have become naturalised citizens, as well as some businessmen, were behind a prostitution racket in Port Moresby.
Miriam Zarriga is a reporter with The National. Republished with permission.
This content originally appeared on Asia Pacific Report and was authored by APR editor.