2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Indonesia

Selected Statistics and Indicators on Child Labor
Population, children, 5-14 years:
Working children, 5-14 years (%):
Working boys, 5-14 years (%):
Working girls, 5-14 years (%):
Working children by sector, 5-14 years (%):
     – Agriculture
     – Manufacturing
     – Services
     – Other
Minimum age for work:15
Compulsory education age:15*
Free public education:Yes**
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2006:114.1
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2006:95.4
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%):
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2005:84.4
ILO Convention 138:6/7/1999
ILO Convention 182:3/28/2000
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes

* May vary

** In practice, must pay for various school expenses

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

The majority of child work in Indonesia occurs in rural areas. Children work in agriculture on palm oil, cacao, tobacco, rubber, tea, and sugar plantations. Children work in fishing and fisheries, manufacturing, footwear production, food processing, woodworking, furniture carving, and textile production. Children also work in the small-scale mining sector, including gold and coal mines. Children also work in construction, including in collecting sand and breaking stones for construction use. Other children work in the informal sector, including those living on the street, selling newspapers, shining shoes, street vending, scavenging, and working beside their parents in family businesses or cottage industries. Children, primarily girls, are also engaged in domestic service, where some are exploited and can be subject to forced labor, including debt bondage.

Indonesia is primarily a source and, to a lesser extent, a destination country for individuals trafficked internationally and internally, including children. Children, especially girls, are trafficked internationally from Indonesia to Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and Singapore, and are trafficked internally mainly from rural to urban areas. There is evidence that girls are also trafficked into Indonesia, mainly from China and Eastern Europe. Girls are primarily trafficked both internationally and internally for commercial sexual exploitation and forced domestic service, whereas boys are trafficked internally to work on fishing platforms. There are reports of children being trafficked to work in organized begging rings. Children are also exploited through prostitution, the production of pornography, and the international sex industry, increasingly through sex tourism. Likewise, children are known to be involved in the production, trafficking, and sale of drugs.

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age for work at 15 years. The law contains an exception for employing children 13 to 15 years of age to perform light work that does not jeopardize their physical, mental, and social development. Requirements for employment of children 13 to 15 years include a maximum of 3 hours of work per day, parental permission, and no disruption of schooling. No specific requirements are outlined for children age 16 to 17 years.

Employing and involving children under 18 years in the worst forms of child labor or economic exploitation are prohibited under the law; failure to comply can result in criminal sanctions of 2 to 5 years of imprisonment and a fine. The law defines the worst forms of child labor as slavery; use of children in prostitution, pornography, and gambling; use of children for the production and trade of alcohol, narcotics, and addictive substances; and all types of work harmful to the health, safety, and morals of children. The law identifies a list of such harmful activities and provides detailed descriptions and examples of these activities. These include jobs that require children to work with machines; where physical, chemical, or biological hazards are present; with inherent hazards such as construction, offshore fishing, lifting heavy loads (among others); and that harm the morals of children, including working in bars, massage parlors, discotheques, or promoting alcohol or drugs to arouse sexual desire. Persons who expose children to such hazardous activities are liable to terms of up to 5 years of imprisonment or a fine. Additional specific legal sanctions are laid out for commercial sexual exploitation, child trafficking, involving children in the production or distribution of alcohol or narcotics, and involving children in armed conflict (see next paragraph). Anyone exercising legal custody of a child under 12 years for the purpose of providing that child to another person, knowing that the child is going to be used for the purposes of begging, harmful work, or work that affects the child's health, may face a maximum sentence of 4 years of imprisonment.

Indonesian law prohibits sexual intercourse outside of marriage with a female recognized to be under 15 years, engaging in an obscene act with a person under 15 years, and forcing or allowing the sexual abuse of a child under 18 years. Maximum penalties range from 7 to 15 years of imprisonment. The law also prohibits forced labor, including trafficking in persons. The law provides key trafficking definitions and harsher punishments than previous laws utilized to prosecute traffickers. If the trafficking crimes involve children under 18 years, the standard sentence for violation of the law is 3 to 15 years and a fine, with penalties for Government officials increasing by one-third. The law also details specific procedures for working with child witnesses and/or victims. Additional laws also exist to prosecute trafficking. The Penal Code provides a maximum penalty of 6 years of imprisonment for trading children, and the Child Protection Act stipulates a prison sentence of 3 to 15 years and/or a fine for the same offense. The minimum age for recruitment or enlistment into the Armed Forces is 18 years, with violations incurring a maximum sentence of 5 years and/or a fine. The law also prohibits the use or involvement of children in the misuse, production, or distribution of narcotics and stipulates a maximum sentence of the death penalty or life imprisonment and a fine.

The Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration (MOMT) authorities at the provincial and district levels have responsibility for enforcing child labor laws. The national police's anti-trafficking unit and other law enforcement bodies have increased efforts to combat trafficking of children. As of the end of 2008, there were 1,969 labor inspectors with responsibility for withdrawing children from work and returning them to school. Despite these efforts, USDOS reports that the Indonesian Government does not enforce child labor laws in an effective manner due to a lack of resources and limited child labor inspections.

Current Government Policies and Programs to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor

The 20-year National Plan of Action (NPA) for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor is currently in its second 5-year phase. This phase focuses on continued promotion of national and local policies to combat child labor, as well as direct, targeted interventions to assist children engaged in exploitive labor. MOMT chairs a National Action Committee for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor, which coordinates child labor elimination efforts throughout the country and produces annual reports on the implementation of the NPA. The National Plan of Action of Human Rights in Indonesia (2004-2009) contains a specific objective on protecting the rights of the child, with a series of activities aimed at combating trafficking and protecting against sexual exploitation, pornography, and the worst forms of child labor.

The Indonesia National Medium Term Development Plan (2004-2009) recognizes the problem of child labor and supports the implementation of the National Plan on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor. The country's Poverty Reduction Strategy Plan (2005-2009) includes objectives of preventing exploitation and the worst forms of child labor, increasing protection for street children and child workers, and preventing child trafficking. In its monitoring and evaluation system, this plan also has a 2009 target to decrease the number of child trafficking cases.

The National Plan of Action to Combat Commercial Sexual Exploitation is in place to help address the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Under the anti-trafficking law, Standard Operating Procedures for the return and reintegration of trafficking victims were finalized and launched in August 2008. The national Government collaborates with NGOs on efforts to raise awareness on trafficking, provide assistance to law enforcement, and protect trafficking victims. The Government is implementing "Operation Flower" an operation targeted at children trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation. In 2008, the operation was conducted in 11 provinces and rescued hundreds of victims, primarily children. The Foreign Affairs Ministry operates shelters at its embassies and consulates in several countries, including Kuwait, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore. The Indonesian National Police operate a medical recovery center for victims of trafficking in Jakarta, and other recovery centers exist in Surabaya, Pontianak, and Makassar. Indonesia is one of several countries in South East Asia participating in a campaign by MTV and USAID to raise awareness on human trafficking. A number of local governments have also established and are operating shelters for trafficking victims, and several districts and provinces have adopted anti-trafficking regulations and implemented anti-trafficking activities through their Anti-Trafficking Committees and district action plans. As of the end of 2008, 26 provinces had such committees or task forces. Also in 2008, the number of women's help desks for assisting exploited women and children, including those exploited through trafficking, increased to 305 nationwide.

An Indonesian decree calls for general programs to ban and abolish the worst forms of child labor and improve family income; specific programs that provide such children with non-formal education; and schemes that return children to school by providing scholarships. As of the end of 2008, the Government's Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program had expanded to 13 provinces and had reached 500,000 impoverished households. The program provides cash transfers to very poor families who meet a set of conditions, one of which is withdrawing their children from labor and ensuring that they are enrolled in school. In support of CCT, in August 2008, MOMT launched a USD 4.5 million program that specifically targets the withdrawal of 5,000 child laborers from the workforce through referral to education services. The National Labor Force Survey includes a question on child labor in order to establish a sampling framework for the planned National Child Labor Survey and to obtain an estimate of the scale of child labor in the country. As of the end of 2008, Action Committees on Child Labor were established in 24 of 33 provinces and 92 of 458 districts in Indonesia. Several provincial governments, such as Central Java, East Java, and North Sumatra, undertook specific child labor activities during 2008. Actions included launching provincial child labor action plans; implementing anti-child labor awareness-raising campaigns; and forming child labor action committees.

The Government of Indonesia participated in a USDOL-funded USD 4.1 million ILO-IPEC Timebound Program that aimed to progressively eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The program ended in March 2008 and withdrew 1,724 children and prevented 16,963 children from exploitive labor in the five priority sectors identified in the NPA. The Government continues to participate in a USD 5.55 million, 4-year second phase of the project implemented by ILO-IPEC and supported by USDOL. The project targets an additional 6,000 children for withdrawal and 16,000 for prevention from exploitive work in domestic service, commercial agriculture, drug trafficking, and trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation. In support of the national Timebound Program, USDOL also funds a USD 6 million Child Labor Education Initiative project to combat child trafficking in Indonesia that aims to withdraw 1,500 child trafficking victims and prevent 17,932 children from being trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation or forced domestic service. The project began in September 2004 and ends in June 2009. The Netherlands supported a new USD 22.6 million youth employment and child labor project, focusing on six provinces in the eastern part of Indonesia.

To address the vulnerability of children to the worst forms of child labor in the tsunami-stricken areas of Indonesia, in 2005, USDOL funded a USD

1.5 million addendum to the ILO-IPEC Timebound Program and a USD 2.5 million addendum to the Education Initiative project. The ILO-IPEC project ended in March 2008 and prevented 7,751 children from entering exploitive labor; the Education Initiative project is ongoing through December 2009 and aims to prevent 10,530 children from entering exploitive labor.

USDOS supports a project that provides technical assistance and training to help national and local governments establish and implement policies to reduce vulnerability to trafficking. This project assisted the Government in developing an anti-trafficking law and supported 50 projects by Indonesian civil society institutions in the areas of prevention and protection. USAID and USDOS support additional projects to assist the Government in combating in the trafficking of persons, including providing training to the Ministry of Women's Empowerment and civil society groups to raise awareness on trafficking, as well as assistance to develop and implement policies and procedures to fight trafficking in persons.


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