Last Updated: Monday, 22 December 2014, 15:24 GMT

Trafficking in Persons Report 2009 - Indonesia

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 16 June 2009
Cite as United States Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2009 - Indonesia, 16 June 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4a4214b332.html [accessed 22 December 2014]
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)

Indonesia is a major source of women, children, and men trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. To a far lesser extent, it is a destination and transit country for foreign trafficking victims. The greatest threat of trafficking facing Indonesian men and women is that posed by conditions of forced labor and debt bondage in more developed Asian countries – particularly Malaysia, Singapore, and Japan – and the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia, according to IOM data. Indonesia women and girls are also trafficked to Malaysia and Singapore for forced prostitution and throughout Indonesia for both forced prostitution and forced labor. Each of Indonesia's 33 provinces is a source and destination of human trafficking; the most significant sources areas are, in descending order: Java, West Kalimantan, Lampung, North Sumatra, South Sumatra, Banten, South Sulawesi, West Nusa Tenggara and East Nusa Tenggara, and North Sulawesi. Trafficking of young girls, mainly from West Kalimantan, to Taiwan as false brides, persists; upon arrival, many are coerced into prostitution. A new trend identified during the last year was the trafficking of dozens of Indonesian women to Iraq's Kurdistan region for domestic servitude. Another trend was the use of abduction by traffickers, particularly in trafficking young girls to Malaysia for forced prostitution. Women from the People's Republic of China, Thailand, and Eastern Europe are trafficked to Indonesia for commercial sexual exploitation, although the numbers are small compared with the number of Indonesians trafficked for this purpose.

A significant number of Indonesian men and women who migrate overseas each year to work in the construction, agriculture, manufacturing, service (hotels, restaurants, and bars), and domestic service sectors are subjected to conditions of forced labor or debt bondage. The destinations for such trafficking are, in descending order: Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Japan, Syria, Kuwait, Iraq, Taiwan, Thailand, Macau, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Mauritius, Yemen, Palestine, Egypt, France, Belgium, Germany, Cyprus, Spain, the Netherlands, and the United States.

Some labor recruitment companies, known as PJTKIs, operated similarly to trafficking rings, luring both male and female workers into debt bondage, involuntary servitude, and other trafficking situations. Some workers, often women intending to migrate, became victims of trafficking during their attempt to find work abroad through licensed and unlicensed PJTKIs. These labor recruiters charge workers commission fees up to $3,000, which often require workers to incur debt to work abroad, leaving some of them vulnerable in some instances to situations of debt bondage. PJTKIs also reportedly withheld the documents of some workers, and confined them in holding centers, sometimes for periods of many months. Some PJTKIs also used threats of violence to maintain control over prospective migrant workers. Recruitment agencies routinely falsified birth dates, including for children, in order to apply for passports and migrant worker documents.

Internal trafficking remains a significant problem in Indonesia with women and children exploited in domestic servitude, commercial sexual exploitation and small factories. Traffickers, sometimes with the cooperation of school officials, began to recruit young men and women in vocational programs for forced labor in hotels in Malaysia through fraudulent "internship" opportunities. Indonesians are recruited with offers of jobs in restaurants, factories, or as domestic workers and then forced into the sex trade. A new trend noted this year was the recruitment of hundreds of girls and women for work as waitresses in extractive industry sites in Papua who were subsequently forced into prostitution. During the year, minor girls were rescued in illegal logging camps in West Kalimantan, where they were coerced into sexual servitude.

Malaysians and Singaporeans constitute the largest number of child sex tourists in Indonesia, and the Riau Islands and surrounding areas operate a "prostitution economy," according to local officials. Child sex tourism is rampant in most urban areas and tourist destinations.

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. The government improved its law enforcement response to trafficking offenses and demonstrated that a significant number of its trafficking prosecutions and convictions involved labor trafficking offenses, the first time such disaggregation in data has been reported. Moreover, it sustained strong efforts to assist victims of trafficking through the funding of basic services and referral of victims to those services and others provided by NGOs and international organizations. The government showed insufficient progress, however, in efforts to confront labor trafficking committed through exploitative recruitment practices of politically powerful PJTKIs. Also, there were few reported efforts to prosecute, convict, or punish Indonesia law enforcement and military officials complicit in human trafficking, despite reporting on such trafficking-related corruption.

Recommendations for Indonesia: Begin using the 2007 law to address the country's largest trafficking problem – labor trafficking, including debt bondage; significantly improve record of prosecutions, convictions, and sentences for labor trafficking – including against labor recruitment agencies involved in trafficking; re-examine existing MOUs with destination countries to incorporate victim protection; increase efforts to prosecute and convict public officials who profit from or are involved in trafficking; increase efforts to combat internal trafficking; enforce existing laws to better protect domestic workers; and increase funding for law enforcement efforts and for rescue, recovery and reintegration of victims.

Prosecution

The Indonesian government showed overall progress in anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts over the reporting period. Through a comprehensive anti-trafficking law enacted in 2007, Indonesia prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons, prescribing penalties of 3 to 15 years' imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. Police and prosecutors began using the new anti-trafficking law during the reporting period; however, other laws were still used in cases pending widespread implementation of the new law. The Indonesian government prosecuted 129 suspected trafficking offenders in 2008, an increase from 109 prosecuted in 2007. Similarly, convictions in 2008 increased to 55 from 46 convictions in 2007. Fifty-eight of the prosecutions and 9 of the convictions in 2008 were for labor trafficking offenses. The average sentence given to convicted trafficking offenders was 43 months, similar to the average sentence of 45 months in 2007. Indonesian officials and local NGOs often criticized the police as too passive in combating trafficking absent specific complaints. Nevertheless, the 21-man Jakarta-based national police anti-trafficking task force worked with local police, the Ministry of Manpower, the Migrant Workers Protection Agency, Immigration, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and NGOs to shut down several large trafficking organizations. After receiving training from an international donor, the Jakarta police set up an anti-trafficking unit and conducted a series of significant investigations and arrests. The ongoing two-part "Operation Flower," which continued through 2008 in 11 provinces, targeted women and children trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation. Exploitation by PJTKIs remained a serious problem although several major joint police and Ministry of Manpower (MOM) raids resulted in a number of such operations shutting down. Police assigned liaison officers to Indonesian embassies in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Australia, the Philippines, and Thailand to support law enforcement cooperation with host governments, including trafficking investigations. Indonesia's national police cooperated with U.S. law enforcement authorities in the investigation of suspected trafficking of Indonesians to the United States for the purpose of forced labor and debt bondage.

Progress was noted in the government's dismissing, disciplining or prosecuting officials complicit in trafficking. Some immigration officials, labor officers, and local government officials were arrested for activities which abetted trafficking. Complicity in trafficking by members of the security forces remained a serious concern during the reporting period, and this often took the form of officials either engaged directly in trafficking or facilitating it through the provision of protection to brothels and prostitution fronts in discos, karaoke bars, and hotels, or by receiving bribes to ignore the problem. In addition, some local officials facilitated trafficking by certifying false information to produce national identity cards and family data cards for children to allow them to be recruited for work as adults abroad and within the country. Some MOM officials reportedly licensed and protected international labor recruiting agencies involved in human trafficking. In return for bribes, some immigration officials turned a blind eye to potential trafficking victims, failing to prevent out-bound trafficking through due diligence in the processing of passports and the application of immigration controls. Some immigration officials also directly facilitated trafficking by accepting bribes from PJTKIs to pass migrant workers to their agents at Jakarta International Airport. Members of the police and military were directly involved in the operation of brothels and fronts for prostitution, including establishments that exploited child sex trafficking victims. Despite the persistence of these reports attesting to a serious problem of official complicity in trafficking, the Indonesian government did not initiate new prosecutions of security or other government personnel for involvement in or facilitation of trafficking during the reporting period, though in June 2008 a former national chief of police and an Indonesian diplomat were sentenced to two and four years' imprisonment, respectively, for their facilitation of trafficking-related criminal activity.

Protection

Indonesia demonstrated strong efforts to protect victims of trafficking in Indonesia and abroad; however, available victim services remain overwhelmed by the large number of victims. The government operated 41 "integrated service centers" providing services to victims of violence, including trafficking victims; four of these centers were full medical recovery centers specifically for trafficking victims. The government also relied significantly on international organizations and NGOs for the provision of services to victims. Although most security personnel did not employ formal procedures for the identification and referral of victims among vulnerable groups, such as females in prostitution, children migrating within the country, and workers returning from abroad, some victims were referred on an ad hoc basis to service providers. Throughout 2008, the government set up 305 district-level women's help desks to assist women and child victims of violence, including trafficking – an increase from 25 such desks existing in 2006. Authorities at the Tanjung Priok seaport in Jakarta screened travelers in order to identify victims of trafficking and refer them to appropriate shelters and medical care facilities. The Indonesian government provided some funding to domestic NGOs and civil society groups that supported services for trafficking victims. Although the government practiced a policy of not detaining or imprisoning trafficking victims, some victims reportedly were treated as criminals and penalized for prostitution activities. Some government personnel, such as the Jakarta-based police anti-trafficking unit, encouraged victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases; others were less solicitous of victims' cooperation. In some cases, police reportedly refused to receive trafficking complaints from victims.

In mid-2008, the National Agency for the Placement and Protection of Overseas Workers (BNP) opened a new terminal at Jakarta's international airport – Terminal 4 – dedicated to receiving returning Indonesian workers. BNP and MOM officials at this terminal, which replaced the older Terminal 3, screened returning migrants to identify those in distress, though inadequate efforts were made to identify victims of trafficking. Indigent victims returning through Terminal 4 were sometimes forced to spend several days in the terminal until they could find adequate funds for their transportation back to their community. While the Legal Aid Society, an NGO, succeeded in curtailing the practice of labor brokers picking up trafficking victims at Terminal 4 and forcing them back into debt bondage, traffickers adjusted by picking up victims at the regular passenger terminal to which victims had been diverted by corrupt immigration officials. Both BNP and MOM were largely ineffective in protecting migrant workers from trafficking. Indonesia's Foreign Ministry continued to operate shelters for trafficking victims and migrant workers at some of its embassies and consulates abroad. During the past year, these diplomatic establishments sheltered thousands of Indonesian citizens, including trafficking victims. The Foreign Ministry sustained proactive efforts in protecting the rights of trafficked migrant workers abroad.

Prevention

The Indonesian government made significant efforts to prevent trafficking in persons during the reporting period. The government continued some collaboration with NGOs and international organization efforts to raise awareness of trafficking. The Ministry of Women's Empowerment (MOWE), as the government's focal point and coordinator for the National Anti-Trafficking Task Force, drafted a new 2009-2013 national plan of action on human trafficking. Several provinces and districts established local plans of action and anti-trafficking committees. The MOWE conducted anti-trafficking outreach education in 33 provinces in 2008 The national government showed little political will to renegotiate a 2006 MOU with Malaysia which ceded the rights of Indonesian domestic workers to hold their passports while working in Malaysia. The government made no reported efforts to reduce the demand for forced labor or the demand for commercial sex acts during the last year. Indonesian police cooperated with Australian and Swiss authorities to arrest and deport two pedophiles sexually abusing children, and an Indonesian court sentenced one Australian child sex tourist to eight years' imprisonment in February 2009. The government provided anti-trafficking training to Indonesian troops prior to their deployment abroad on international peacekeeping missions. Indonesia has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.

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