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October 06, 2012 12:00:00 AM
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Fiji’s Maritime Safety Authority (MSAF) and the local police have refuted sex trade and human trafficking reports published in a local daily saying the contents are “inaccurate” and contained “unauthorised information”.

In separate statements issued today the two local authorities denied the report that made references to the disappearance of three sisters in Rakiraki seven years ago.

The article published in the daily yesterday reported that a yacht suspected of being involved in human trafficking and sex trade was seized in the waters off Rakiraki and that an 18-year-old Fijian girl of Indian descent was taken into police custody.

MSAF said they met with the reporter yesterday who “confirmed that inaccurate and unauthorized information was published.”

She told MSAF that her “editors had also incorrectly referenced her article to the incident of the Rakiraki girls who disappeared in 2005.”

MSAF CEO, Neale Slack said, “No officer of MSAF was authorized to release information to the media other than the CEO, and all such media releases would be in writing, on the Authority’s letterhead and endorsed by the CEO.”

The statement said the reporter has apologised for any damage caused to the MSAF, the maritime industry and the State.

Fiji Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro also denied the reports saying that at no point in time did they receive a report of an 18-year-old  that was found on a yacht or was in their custody.

“The reports are nothing more than assumptions and speculation and it is worrying to note that this was not taken into account although this was highlighted to the reporter concerned,” Naisoro said.

“This was once again highlighted by the Deputy Divisional Commander Western when contacted by the reporter however it was once again not taken into account
which questions the credibility of the article which keeps highlighting the alleged plight of an "18year old".”

The article, Naisoro says has created unnecessary panic in the Rakiraki community.

“Police would like to give its reassurance that there is no reason for concern.

“We once again can confirm that no report was lodged with Police regarding an 18-year-old girl found on a yacht as speculations are now pointing to an alleged human trafficking business.”

By Lavenia Vuadreu

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