Last Updated: Wednesday, 01 October 2014, 14:56 GMT

2012 Trafficking in Persons Report - Indonesia

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 19 June 2012
Cite as United States Department of State, 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report - Indonesia, 19 June 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4fe30cc046.html [accessed 1 October 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 country and, to a much lesser extent, a destination and transit country for women, children, and men who are subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Each of Indonesia's 33 provinces is a source and destination of trafficking, with the most significant source areas being the provinces of West Java, Central Java, East Java, West Nusa Tenggara, and Banten. A significant number of Indonesian migrant workers face conditions of forced labor and debt bondage in more developed Asian countries and the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. The government reports that there are 4.3 million documented Indonesian migrants working outside the country and estimates another 1.7 million undocumented workers, including an estimated 2.6 million workers in Malaysia and 1.8 million in the Middle East. During 2011, Saudi Arabia was the leading destination for newly departing migrant workers registered with the Indonesian government, followed closely by Malaysia. An estimated 69 percent of all overseas Indonesian workers are female. The Indonesian government estimates that two percent of Indonesian workers abroad who are properly documented become victims of trafficking. The actual number of Indonesian trafficking victims is significantly higher, particularly among the more than one million undocumented workers abroad. During 2011, Indonesian trafficking victims were reported in all of the Gulf countries, Malaysia, Taiwan, Chile, New Zealand, the Philippines, Egypt, and the United States, among others.

In assessing 2011 data, IOM reported a new trend of women, including some children, trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation at mining operations in Maluku, Papua, and Jambi provinces. There were reports of an increasing number of children exploited in prostitution in Batam district of the Riau Islands province and children from North Sulawaesi province being exploited in prostitution in West Papua province. Contacts in several large cities reported a new trend of university and high school students selling underage friends, male and female, for sex. Some women from Uzbekistan and Colombia are subjected to forced prostitution in Indonesia.

Government and non-governmental sources reported an increasing number of undocumented workers travelling abroad. As the government expands its use of biometric travel documents, false documents are becoming more difficult and expensive to obtain. As a result, more undocumented workers are traveling by sea, primarily from Batam and the Riau Islands and by land from Kalimantan, to Malaysia where they remain or transit to a third country. Undocumented workers are at a significantly higher risk of becoming trafficking victims than documented workers. A labor trafficking trend that gained international attention during the year was the forced labor of Indonesian men aboard Korean-flagged fishing boats operating in New Zealand waters as well as the forced labor of Burmese and Cambodian fishermen who escape Thai fishing boats while in Indonesian waters. According to press and NGO reports, over 1,000 such undocumented Burmese fishermen are stranded on the remote Indonesian island of Tual. According to IOM, labor recruiters are responsible for more than 50 percent of the Indonesian female workers who experience trafficking conditions in destination countries. Some recruiters work independently, while others work for Indonesia-based international labor recruitment companies called PJTKIs. Some PJTKIs operate similarly to trafficking rings, leading both male and female workers into debt bondage and other trafficking situations. Traffickers regularly operate with impunity and escape punishment because of endemic corruption among law enforcement officials and the government's lack of commitment to upholding the rule of law. Trafficking victims often accumulate debts with labor recruiters that make victims vulnerable to debt bondage. Licensed and unlicensed companies used debt bondage, withholding of documents, and threats of violence to keep Indonesian migrants in situations of forced labor.

Indonesian women migrate to Malaysia, Taiwan, and the Middle East and are subsequently subjected to forced prostitution; they are also subjected to forced prostitution and forced labor in Indonesia. Children are trafficked internally and abroad primarily for domestic servitude, forced prostitution, and work in cottage industries. Many of these trafficked girls work 14 to 16 hours a day at very low wages, often under perpetual debt due to pay advances given to their families by Indonesian brokers. Debt bondage is particularly pronounced among sex trafficking victims, with an initial debt the equivalent of some $600 to $1,200 imposed on victims; given an accumulation of additional fees and debts, women and girls are often unable to escape this indebted servitude, even after years in prostitution. An estimated 60 percent of children under five years of age do not have official birth certificates, putting them at higher risk for trafficking. Traffickers employ a variety of means to attract and control victims, including promises of well-paying jobs, debt bondage, community and family pressures, threats of violence, rape, false marriages, and confiscation of passports. Country experts reported a trend of recruitment of Indonesian migrant workers in Malaysia for Umrah, a religious pilgrimage to Mecca continued during the year; once in the Saudi Kingdom, Indonesian migrants are trafficked to other points in the Middle East. Some Indonesian children are recruited into sex trafficking through Internet social networking media. More than 25 sex trafficking victims from Uzbekistan were identified in 2010. Six sex trafficking victims from Colombia were identified in 2011.

Internal trafficking is also a significant problem in Indonesia, with women and girls exploited in domestic servitude, commercial sexual exploitation, and in forced labor in rural agriculture, mining, and fishing. Many victims were recruited originally with offers of jobs in restaurants, factories, or as domestic workers before they were coerced into prostitution. Child sex tourism is prevalent in the Riau Islands bordering Singapore and is reported to occur in Bali and in other locations around Indonesia.

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. During the year, the government undertook new efforts to improve protections for Indonesian migrants, particularly through the National Agency for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Overseas Workers (BNP2TKI). The government did not make progress in curbing the trafficking complicity of Indonesian security personnel and senior officials and increasing the effectiveness of law enforcement and judicial officials in upholding the country's anti-trafficking laws, as would be indicated by an increase in the number of prosecutions and convictions of traffickers. A decentralized government structure presented considerable challenges to coordinating nationwide anti-trafficking programs and policies; nonetheless, the government undertook no visible efforts to improve the centralized collection of data on prosecutions and victim protection data from local governments.

Recommendations for Indonesia: Improve the collection, analysis, and public reporting of comprehensive data on legal proceedings against traffickers taken under the 2007 law; undertake greater efforts to criminally prosecute and punish labor recruitment agencies and corporations involved in trafficking; increase efforts to prosecute and convict public officials who are involved in trafficking; undertake efforts to prosecute and punish those who obtain commercial sexual services from children; create a national protocol that clarifies roles and responsibilities for prosecuting trafficking cases when the crime occurs outside a trafficking victim's province of residence, particularly with regard to responsibilities for funding the involvement of victims as witnesses in proceedings; increase government funding to support trafficking victims' participation in legal proceedings; increase efforts to combat trafficking through awareness campaigns targeted at the public and law enforcement personnel at all levels of government in primary trafficking source regions; and consider amending the 2004 Overseas Labor Placement and Protection Law in order to provide effective protections to Indonesian migrants recruited for work abroad, particularly female domestic workers, as a means of preventing potential trafficking of these migrants.

Prosecution

The Indonesian government sustained anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the reporting period, although an inability to collect and report on national anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts gives the appearance that the numbers of trafficking offenders prosecuted and convicted declined for a second consecutive year. Through a comprehensive anti-trafficking law passed in 2007 and implemented in 2009, Indonesia prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons, prescribing penalties of three to 15 years' imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. While Indonesian National Police (INP) investigators used the 2007 law to prepare cases for prosecution, some prosecutors and judges still use other, more familiar laws to prosecute traffickers. Police and other law enforcement officials complained about the difficulty of coordinating among police, prosecutors, witnesses, and courts to obtain successful convictions.

The government does not aggregate nationwide records of trafficking prosecutions. Statistics on human trafficking prosecutions and convictions remain available exclusively at the district and province levels. Only the police aggregate nationwide data on human trafficking investigations; during 2011, the INP reported initiating 133 new trafficking investigations involving 179 suspected trafficking offenders. The INP also reported the referral to local prosecutors of 50 cases, of which 41 were accepted for prosecution. Based on incomplete reports during the year from four of Indonesia's 33 provinces – East, Central, West Java, and North Sulawesi – 16 trafficking offenders were convicted by province- and district-level courts. This compares with incomplete reporting on the convictions of 25 trafficking offenders in 2010. The national Attorney General's Task Force on Transnational Crime reported an additional prosecution of eight trafficking offenders in 2011, but no convictions. The Indonesian government cooperated with New Zealand authorities to investigate allegations, published in the international media, of Indonesian fishermen who were recruited by licensed PJTKIs for work on Korean fishing vessels operating in New Zealand waters, and subjected to forced labor, including debt bondage, aboard the boats. Indonesian authorities, however, have not initiated criminal investigations or prosecutions of the recruiters cited in the allegations.

Endemic corruption among members of Indonesian security forces and government officials remained an impediment to increased effectiveness in anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts, according to NGOs and government officials. Corruption sustained trafficking at a number of levels: in the issuance of false documents for future victims; through lax border controls where trafficking would otherwise be detected; through the tolerance and profiting from illegal commercial sex sites; and through the compromise of law enforcement investigations and judicial processes.

Protection

The Indonesian government continued its provision and coordination of modest and uneven efforts to protect victims of trafficking during the year. The government's Centers for Integrated Service for the Empowerment of Women and Children provided shelters and trauma clinics to trafficking victims through 172 centers at the provincial and district level. The government provides limited funding to other organizations for the provision of services to trafficking victims, but since 2005 is increasingly channeling support through the Centers for Integrated Service. The Centers for Integrated Service also receive private funding. The National Police operated 306 Women and Child Service Units in police stations around the country, which provided emergency protection and medical services to victims of violence, also accessible to victims of trafficking. The government continued to rely significantly on international organizations and NGOs for the provision of services to victims, particularly for repatriated Indonesian victims of trafficking abroad, although it increased the role of its Centers for Integrated Service during 2011, adding 51 centers for a total of 172 throughout Indonesia. Although the government did not collect or report comprehensive data on victims identified throughout the country, the Ministry of Women's Empowerment reported 358 victims in 2011, including 111 women and no children; most of these victims (53 percent) were from West Java. IOM reported assisting 227 victims in 2001, including 120 Indonesians, 65 Cambodian men who escaped forced labor aboard Thai fishing boats, 36 Burmese men who escaped the same forced labor conditions, and six Colombian women who had been subjected to forced prostitution in Jakarta.

The central government largely funds provincial governments through block grants, and provinces have significant discretion on the use of these funds, including decisions on trafficking-related programs. As a result, provincial governments' funding of victim protection services varies greatly. In West Java, the Council on Women's Empowerment and Family Planning reported that in 2011 the provincial government doubled its budget for assistance to trafficking victims to the equivalent of $1,111 per victim. The West Java Center for Integrated Service for the Empowerment of Women and Children, which receives most of its funding from the provincial government, reported that in 2011 its budget for assistance to trafficking victims increased from the equivalent of $833,000 to $2.2 million. In Riau Islands province, the Child Welfare Commission reported a 50 percent increase in its budget for victim protection services in 2011. Some provinces have not established anti-trafficking task forces and provide only minimal funding for the protection of trafficking victims. The Riau Islands provincial-level INP reported having no budget for the protection of trafficking victims or for the investigation of trafficking allegations. The INP, Attorney General's Office, Ministry of Law and Human Rights, Department of Immigration, the Witness Protection Program, the National Commission on Women, and a number of NGOs actively cooperated in an IOM-led task force to revise the 2007 edition of "Guidelines for Law Enforcement and the Protection of Victims of Trafficking in Handling Trafficking in Persons Cases." The final draft is completed and awaits funding for publishing.

Prevention

The Indonesian government made progress in preventing human trafficking during the reporting period, particularly through improved, centralized oversight of labor migrants and the licensed recruiting agencies sending them abroad. Most other prevention work was conducted at the district and province levels; 21 provincial and 73 district or municipal anti-trafficking task forces continued to coordinate local anti-trafficking efforts with a wide variety in levels of funding, staffing, and energy. While the West Java provincial task force includes 66 government and civil society representatives that meets regularly and funds over the equivalent of $2.2 in victim protection activities, the task force in Riau Islands province – a major transit area for trafficking victims from throughout the country – did not meet during the year. The Coordinating Minister for Social Welfare nominally chaired the government's anti-trafficking taskforce, and the Ministry of Women's Empowerment and Child Protection (MWECP) provided active direction. The national taskforce met in September 2011 with 21 ministries, departments, and agencies represented; the national anti-trafficking taskforce does not have a budget and is funded by the participating ministries and departments. Anti-trafficking in persons campaigns continued during the reporting period and were maintained by MWECP, the Ministry of Manpower, the Ministry of Education, the INP, numerous Centers for Integrated Service for the Empowerment of Women and Children throughout the country, and NGOs in cooperation with local governments. The campaigns were delivered via conferences, radio, newspapers, billboards, pamphlets, school programs, and neighborhood meetings.

The government strengthened the ability of BNP2TKI to monitor outbound Indonesian workers and protect them from fraudulent recruitment and human trafficking. Using a new database and national worker's identify card system, the BNP2TKI registered and gave biometric identity cards to 581,081 workers who left for work abroad in 2011. Through its centralized database, it was able to improve verification of intending workers' eligibility and the bona fides of PJTKIs, while reducing the opportunities for corruption at the local level. BNP2TKI did not report the recruiters it referred to the Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration for trafficking. The Ministry, however, reported revoking the licenses of 28 firms in 2011.

During the year, the MWECP issued Ministerial Decree No. 9/2011 on Early Warning TIP Indicators as a guide to its branch offices and NGOs who provide support to trafficking victims. The Ministry issued Ministerial Decree No. 7/2011 on the Policy to Increase Family Resilience of Children in Need of Special Protection. The decree is an effort to identify the problem of vulnerable children, including trafficked children, as a national priority, and lead an interagency effort to address the problem by strengthening vulnerable families. Also in February 2012, MWECP cooperated with IOM to produce a manual on "Recovery, Return and Reintegration" training for trafficking victim care providers. The Ministry also published a training manual titled "Training Guide: Witness Assistants And/Or Victims of Trafficking" and in 2011 conducted training on facilitating victims of trafficking as criminal witnesses to 87 anti-trafficking front-line workers from government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and individuals who are interested in providing assistance to witnesses and victims of trafficking from East Nusa Tenggara, Bali, and Riau Islands. In early 2012, IOM conducted training for 205 participants from West Java, West Kalimantan, and Yogyakarta. The ministry published a program called "early warning system," targeting communities in five provinces: East Java, North Sumatra, West Nusa Tenggara, East Nusa Tenggara, and North Sulawesi with populations vulnerable to trafficking crimes. These communities also had locally based and directed awareness programs. The MWECP created a telephone and postal hotline for reporting suspected trafficking cases; there were 250 reported complaints filed in 2011. In June 2011, BNP2TKI also implemented a national trafficking in persons hotline that was advertised widely to workers going overseas and their families. The data is reported directly to the president monthly, while BNP2TKI works with embassies to follow up on cases of suspected trafficking abroad.

The government continued partnerships with NGOs and international organizations to increase public awareness of trafficking. The International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) organized a cross-border exchange meeting in September 2011 at the Indonesia-Malaysia border crossing at Nunukan, East Kalimantan. Eighty-eight representatives from local Indonesian and Malaysian governments, law enforcement agencies, NGOs, and the Indonesian Consulate in Tawau, Malaysia, shared expertise and experiences with a focus on increasing arrests, prosecutions and convictions of trafficking offenders. In December 2011, the Indonesian government concluded two years of negotiations with Malaysia on revising a 2006 memorandum of understanding (MOU) on The Recruitment and Placement of Indonesian Domestic Workers. The revisions, agreed by both governments, establish a joint task force "to provide appropriate solutions on matters concerning Indonesian domestic workers" and gives Indonesian workers the right to retain possession of their passports while working in Malaysia. To improve coordination of anti-trafficking programs, a number of provinces signed inter-provincial MOUs in 2011 that included guidelines for cooperating in the provision of care to trafficking victims who are located outside of their home provinces. West Java signed four MOUs with the provinces of Riau Islands, Bangka, West Kalimantan, and East Kalimantan. Riau Islands signed six MOUs with the provinces of West Java, Jakarta, Central Java, West Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, and Lampung. North Sumatra signed an MOU with Central Java.

There were reports of individuals from Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, the Middle East, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States coming to Indonesia as child sex tourists. One UK citizen was arrested in the district of Batam, Riau Islands province, in November 2011 for sexually exploiting children and is in jail awaiting trial. There were no reports of Indonesian peacekeeping troops engaging in trafficking-related offenses. The government provided Indonesian military personnel with anti-trafficking training prior to their deployment abroad on international peacekeeping missions. The government did not report efforts to reduce the demand for forced labor or the demand for commercial sex acts during the year.

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