Overwhelming evidence found in exploitation case

The Waigani Committal Court has found overwhelming evidence against a 42-year-old Chimbu man over allegations of sexual exploitation.

Willie Gare of the Gumine district of Chimbu Province is facing allegations in a case that is somewhat rare in the country.

He returned to the Committal Court on Wednesday where Magistrate Cosmas Bidar made his ruling on the sufficiency of evidence. He is expected back in court on Sept 29 where his lawyer will make a response in the court finding sufficient evidence against him, this being his section 96 statement.

It involves allegations of him recruiting and transporting young Motuans to Kundiawa town in Chimbu and later making them work in a guest house. It also involves other related activities which amount to sexual exploitation.

Gare is a businessman who was arrested on Nov 9 last year for unlawfully confining and exploiting nine Motuan girls, including two men, between August 14 and 29 last year.

The allegations stem from him flying the youths from their Motuan village to Kundiawa last year to perform at the opening of a new lodge on August 14, 2015. The arrangement was funded by Gare after an alleged agreement with their families.

However, soon after their performance, they were later allegedly forced to drink and entertain the guests at the lodge, with some forced to the extent of sleeping with guests.

This allegedly continued over a period of two weeks. During that period, one of the girls was allegedly sexually assaulted without consent by Gare.

Police also alleged the defendant, Gare, told the girls to work hard and engage in sexual activities with guests and customers at the lodge in order to make money for their plane tickets back to Port Moresby.

Kept against their will and closely monitored, three of the girls somehow managed to escape from the lodge and went to the Kerowagi Police Barracks where one of them called her parents in Port Moresby.

A report was later made and the Mt Hagen based mobile squad and officers from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) rescued the remaining victims from the lodge in Kundiawa on August 29, 2015. They were flown back to Port Moresby the next day.

Sally Pokiton