Al­leged street pros­ti­tu­tion wor­ries Rewa St res­i­dents

Po­lice try to dis­perse them, but they re­turn

Fiji Sun - - Front Page - FILIPE NAIGULEVU Edited by Manasa Kalouniv­iti Feed­back: filipe.naigulevu@fi­jisun.com.fj

Res­i­dents in an area be­lieved to be a hotspot for al­leged street pros­ti­tu­tion in Suva have raised sev­eral con­cerns.

The Fiji Sun team talked to res­i­dents in Rewa Street, most of whom re­quested to re­main anony­mous, on the is­sues they faced with cer­tain groups who loi­ter in the area at night. A wo­man, who lives close to the al­leged hotspot, said the main prob­lem was the noise level these loi­ter­ers made. “Noise is every­day. Some­times they fight, quar­rel and swear at each other; it goes on for most of the night. From my per­sonal view, I don’t like it, but we can’t help it,” she said. An­other res­i­dent, who has lived in the area since 2001, said it was dis­turb­ing, es­pe­cially at night when the res­i­dents are sleep­ing. “They tend make noise not think­ing of res­i­dents right up into the early hours of the morn­ing,” he said. The man said it was a con­cern to see young peo­ple al­legedly be­ing in­volved in pros­ti­tu­tion in the area. Makar­ava Wil­son, who works at a char­i­ta­ble or­gan­i­sa­tion based in the area, said: “When I work late, I no­tice them sit­ting at the bus stop and I have no­ticed Po­lice try­ing to dis­perse them on sev­eral oc­ca­sions. “But when the Po­lice leave, they would just re­turn. Po­lice would need to be here 24/7 to be able to get rid of them,” he said. Po­lice spokesper­son Ana Naisoro said re­ports had been re­ceived by the Sam­ab­ula Po­lice Sta­tion from res­i­dents at the Sam­ab­ula end of Rewa Street com­plain­ing of al­leged pros­ti­tu­tion and noise dis­tur­bances.

Ms Naisoro said Po­lice of­fi­cers were nor­mally sent to chase these groups away when a re­port is re­ceived. She said these groups could not be la­belled as pros­ti­tutes or sex work­ers un­less ev­i­dence was pre­sented prov­ing that money was ex­changed in pay­ment for sex­ual ac­tiv­i­ties. Ms Naisoro said Po­lice con­tin­ued to mon­i­tor the sit­u­a­tion.

Pros­ti­tu­tion, ac­cord­ing to the Crimes De­cree of 2009, is il­le­gal with an im­pris­on­ment penalty of up to 12 years.

Photo: Roneel Karthik

The va­cant space at the bot­tom of a house in Sam­ab­ula has been de­scribed by res­i­dents liv­ing nearby as al­legedly be­ing used for pros­ti­tu­tion.

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