Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 May 2016, 08:28 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Indonesia

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 5 June 2006
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Indonesia, 5 June 2006, available at: [accessed 26 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Indonesia (Tier 2 Watch List)

Indonesia is a source, transit, and destination country for women, children and men trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Indonesian victims are trafficked to Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore. A significant number of Indonesian women who go overseas each year to work as domestic servants are subjected to exploitation and conditions of involuntary servitude. An unknown number of child domestic workers also face conditions of forced child labor, a severe form of trafficking in persons. Some Indonesian women who travel legally to Japan as "cultural performers" are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation. To a minimal extent, Indonesia is a destination for women from the People's Republic of China (P.R.C.), Thailand, Taiwan, Uzbekistan, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Venezuela, Spain, and Ukraine who are trafficked for sexual exploitation. There is extensive trafficking within Indonesia from rural to urban metropolitan areas particularly for sexual exploitation and involuntary domestic servitude. Endemic poverty, a high unemployment rate, corruption and a weak rule-of-law environment all contribute to Indonesia's trafficking problem.

The Government of Indonesia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Indonesia is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking. The Indonesian Government has not passed a much-need anti-trafficking law that has been under consideration for three years; Indonesia lacks a comprehensive anti-trafficking law that has a clear legal definition of trafficking. While the government launched an unprecedented anti-corruption campaign, widespread corrupt practices continued to contribute to trafficking. The government took new steps to remove children from prostitution, but did not effectively address children in forced domestic servitude, a severe form of trafficking. Police and officials often did not recognize the relationship of debt bondage and trafficking of women and girls for prostitution. Over the last year, Indonesia did not reverse the pervasive problem of debt bondage in the migrant worker system, which subjects many women to confinement by recruiting agencies before they leave Indonesia for overseas employment. Government action should concentrate on passing the comprehensive anti-trafficking bill; further addressing internal trafficking, particularly of children exploited in the sex trade or as forced domestic servants; and stopping corrupt practices and prosecuting officials involved in or facilitating trafficking.


The Indonesian Government did not increase its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts in 2005. The government arrested 110 suspected traffickers, prosecuting 37 and convicting at least 16 defendants in the year. The Indonesian police also arrested two individuals for trafficking dozens of Indonesian women as "cultural performers" into prostitution in Japan. In contrast to previous years, Indonesian law enforcement actions focused more on internal trafficking. Police launched new investigative units in certain cities focused on crimes against women and children, including trafficking. Indonesian law enforcement also conducted raids on illegal or abusive migrant holding centers and freed over one thousand women in 2005, while arresting and charging a few business owners under the Migrant Worker Protection Act. Beginning in January 2006, police launched operations to free children in prostitution in Jakarta, Surabaya and elsewhere. The government, however, did not address debt bondage in the migrant worker system. Indonesian law criminalizes trafficking, but lacks a comprehensive definition of the crime, including debt bondage. Convictions for trafficking offenses are often accompanied by light sentences, with an average sentence of less than five years' imprisonment. The Indonesian Government has recognized that action must be taken to stop corrupt officials' facilitation of trafficking, such as the issuance of false identification cards, but it has not reported any trafficking-related investigations or prosecutions of corrupt officials. Over the last year, clashes between the police and military highlighted the continued involvement of individual security force members in prostitution.


National and local level efforts to protect victims of trafficking in Indonesia increased over the past year, but remained inadequate. Services to victims expanded, but still remained inadequate. The president spoke out on the need to protect Indonesia's female migrant workers. The Indonesian police increased the number of integrated service centers providing health services to trafficking and other victims of crime, and with international assistance established one of the world's largest medical recovery units dedicated to trafficking victims in the Jakarta police hospital. Although Indonesia's national action plan calls for proper treatment of trafficking victims, implementation varied widely at the local level and often appeared ad hoc. The Indonesian Government continued to operate shelters at its embassies and consulates in Singapore, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait which housed thousands of overseas workers who were subjected to exploitation and conditions of involuntary servitude. At home, however, licensed and unlicensed migrant worker recruitment agencies (PJTKI) often imposed debt bondage and confinement on aspiring migrant workers and the government made no discernable progress to reform this system that contributed to trafficking. The government at various levels operated crisis centers and provided some support to domestic NGOs and civil society organizations that provide services for victims. Various Indonesian Government offices and diplomatic missions continued to receive limited training on trafficking victim recognition and assistance.


The Indonesian Government continued efforts to promote public awareness of trafficking in 2005, and continued to prevent trafficking out of areas devastated by the December 2004 tsunami. The government launched the first televised public service announcements to raise awareness of trafficking and engaged in other limited public education campaigns. Government-sponsored public awareness campaigns often featured senior officials and included television, radio, and print media. Indonesia's national anti-trafficking spokesperson continued to engage the public to raise awareness of trafficking. The government opened new migrant worker service centers that provided information on safe migration and avoidance of traffickers. More Muslim organizations in West Java, East Java and Aceh became aware of and took actions to warn the public about trafficking. Over the last year, the Indonesian Government continued its collaboration with NGOs on anti-trafficking and education initiatives. Most education campaigns focused on warning potential victims about trafficking. There were few prevention activities focused on reducing demand.

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