Justice dept issues appeal following kidnapping scare

With the recent social media scare of kidnapping and abduction in Port Moresby, the Department of Justice and Attorney General has appealed to the public to report any alleged kidnapping to police.

Furthermore, the public has been advised to contact the National Anti-Human Trafficking Secretariat in the department.

Minister for Justice and Attorney General Alfred Manase said the ministry is on standby to assist police to deal with suspected incidences of human trafficking and alleged kidnappings.

“The department will shortly look at the relevant provisions of the criminal code to ensure that people are protected, and if there is any absence in the legislative framework to ensure that people are held accountable for kidnapping,” said the Minister.

Under the criminal code, kidnapping under section 353 carries a penalty imprisonment term not exceeding seven years.

The crime of kidnapping for ransom carries a penalty imprisonment term not exceeding 14 years. 

“I’ve instructed the department to look at it to come up with legislations to ensure that kidnapping becomes a crime in the country,” the Attorney General said.

Human trafficking is a criminal offence that carries a maximum penalty of life in prison for serious cases. Currently there are two criminal cases of human trafficking on trial before the National Court.

The removal of organs is a type of exploitation connected with human trafficking under the criminal code.

The Department of Justice with partner agencies have been working to combat human trafficking since 2013, when the legislation was passed, criminalising human trafficking and people smuggling.

While police are still investigating reports of kidnapping in the city, the public can email the National Anti-Human Trafficking Committee to report any incidences on: nahtc@justice.gov.pg

Any information will be provided to police.

Meanwhile, the National Doctors Association says stories of kidnapping on social media for the purpose of harvesting organs for sale and transplant surgery is highly unlikely at present as PNG is not ready for organ transplant surgery.

The aura and fear has wildly spread on social media and President Dr James Naipao said the fear of kidnapping for organ harvesting or sale must come to a rest.

(Minister for Justice and Attorney General, Alfred Manase)

Sally Pokiton