The survey was conducted in March and April by members of the charity organisation who interviewed the street people in the parts of the city they try to survive in.
Steve Rice asked the Salvation Army's PNG Program Secretary, Major Rex Johnston to outline the findings.
Presenter: Steve Rice
Speaker: The Salvation Army's PNG Program Secretary, Major Rex Johnston
JOHNSTON: We have surveyed five different areas in Port Moresby where most people would be congregating, and we found approximately 900 adults and one-thousand-350 children that were living on the streets of Port Moresby. These people are living under bridges and in doorways of shops.
RICE: Ah, the children, are they unaccompanied, are they children without any parents or relatives?
JOHNSTON: Yeah a lot of these children are orphans of HIV-AIDS victims, but they are now living with aunties and uncles, and a lot of them are ending up on the streets.
RICE: And how did the people who did the survey, your members, how did they find them?
JOHNSTON: By going out at night and meeting with these people who are literally sleeping on the streets.
RICE: Do you know where they come from? Are they children from people who live in Port Moresby, or have they come in from villages across the country?
JOHNSTON: Most of them have come from other areas in Papua New Guinea. Some of the children are actually born on the streets because their parents are living on the streets permanently. The reason why people are living on the streets is because they come into Port Moresby, they save up enough to buy their airfare to come into Port Moresby, some of them actually walk, if they're coming from the other side of the country they actually walk over the Kokoda Trail or there is another trail that comes through the eastern Highlands province down through the Gulf province, and they walk into Port Moresby that way. And they think that they're going to get accommodation with their relatives that are living in settlements in Port Moresby. But those houses that they come to are already overcrowded and it's very easy for tensions to rise in those families and these people who have come, they have an argument and they're literally kicked out, and they've got nowhere else to go because they've spent all their money on the airfare getting them into the city. And they're literally living on the streets.
RICE: Well, how do they survive then?
JOHNSTON: Well then they, particularly the children, are collecting plastic containers to sell, aluminium cans for recycling and they sell it back to the recycler and get funds that way. Other people sadly are entering the sex trade, and the young children are urged by their uncles and aunties to enter the sex trade and to get money that way.
RICE: The Salvation Army's known for its good works amongst communities. What services are you providing for these people?
JOHNSTON: Well at the moment all we're able to do for these people is that once we have identified them, because we've only found this out through our survey this year, we have got a monthly feeding program where we go out and meet with these people and give them something to eat. Just this last week we were able to distribute some second-hand clothing as well that had been donated to us. But what we're doing at the moment is trying to find out from these people what their needs are so that we can work with them to endeavour to meet those needs, and also to be able to get up some proposals to funding agencies for us to be able to run workshops and life skills workshops so that we can get them out of the sex trade and we can give them some skills to be able to work.
RICE: Ok, was that the reason that you did the report and the survey?
JOHNSTON: The reason why we did the research was because we had noticed for a number of years that people were living on the streets. We were being accosted at traffic lights when we stopped in our cars, young people trying to sell things to us to survive, and we asked the question naturally of ourselves, why are these people living on the streets? So we thought the only way to find that out was to go out and ask them. And so that's why we conducted a survey.
RICE: Where do you go from here?
JOHNSTON: Well as I said, where we go from here is to try and find out what their needs are and to approach funding agencies to be able to raise funding so that we can try and meet their needs.
RICE: Is there anything government can do?
JOHNSTON: Yes there is a lot that the government can do. Unfortunately the whole government infrastructure needs to be changed so that these people can be catered for. So we need to be able to sit down with government agencies to be able to sort out how best we can meet these needs.
RICE: So this report now will form the basis of a number of ways of trying to deal with the subject?
JOHNSTON: Yes that's quite correct.