printable banner

U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Indonesia


Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
2013 Trafficking in Persons Report
Tier 2
Share

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, East Nusa Tenggara, and Banten. A significant number of Indonesian migrant workers face conditions of forced labor and debt bondage in Asia and the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Taiwan, Singapore, Oman, and Hong Kong. The government estimates that there are six million Indonesians working abroad. Government officials reported there was an overall reduction in the number of workers mistreated or found vulnerable to trafficking as a result of targeted policies, such as a moratorium on permits to work abroad for domestic workers to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Syria, and Jordan. Malaysia and Saudi Arabia remain the leading destinations for newly departing migrant workers registered with the Indonesian government. Some 70 percent of all overseas Indonesian workers are female. Indonesian trafficking victims are found in all of the Gulf countries, Malaysia, Brunei, Taiwan, Chile, New Zealand, the Philippines, Egypt, and the United States, among others.

The government and NGOs reported an increase in university and high school students using social media to recruit and offer other students, including those under the age of 18, for commercial sex. Women and girls are 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 Sulawesi province being exploited in prostitution in West Papua province. Some women from Uzbekistan and Colombia are subjected to forced prostitution in Indonesia.

Government and non-governmental sources continued to report an increase in the number of undocumented Indonesian workers travelling abroad. As the government continues to expand 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 higher risk of becoming trafficking victims than documented workers. According to press and NGO reports, over 1,000 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 male and female workers into debt bondage and other trafficking situations. Some traffickers operate with impunity and escape punishment because of endemic corruption among law enforcement officials and the government’s lack of effectiveness in 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; there are also reports of women subjected to forced prostitution and forced labor in Indonesia. Children are trafficked internally and abroad primarily for domestic servitude and forced prostitution. Many 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 of the equivalent of approximately $600 to $1,200 imposed on victims. With the accumulation of additional fees and debts, women and girls are often unable to escape this indebted servitude even after years in prostitution. 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, Saudi Arabia continued during the year; once in Saudi Arabia, Indonesian migrants are trafficked to other places in the Middle East. Some Indonesian children are recruited into sex trafficking through social networking websites. Internal trafficking is 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 originally recruited 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 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’s anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts yielded fewer prosecutions, though it undertook new efforts to improve protections for Indonesian migrants, particularly through Government Order 03/2013 on the Placement and Protection of Overseas Workers. The government did not make progress in curbing trafficking-related complicity of Indonesian security personnel and other government officials or increasing the effectiveness of law enforcement and judicial officials in upholding the country’s anti-trafficking laws. The Minister for Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection is the designated lead in inter-ministerial programs and activities, but a decentralized government structure exacerbates the challenges of coordinating a national strategy. Nonetheless, during the reporting period the Attorney General’s Task Force on Terrorism and Transnational Crime created the first database for tracking trafficking convictions throughout Indonesia to improve the centralized collection of data on prosecutions and victim protection 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 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; and increase efforts to combat trafficking through awareness-raising campaigns targeted at the public and law enforcement personnel at all levels of government in primary trafficking source regions.

Prosecution

The Indonesian government’s anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts diminished in effectiveness during the reporting period. 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.

There are two trafficking-specific data-gathering mechanisms in Indonesia: in 2012 the Attorney General’s Task Force on Terrorism and Transnational Crime created the first database for tracking trafficking convictions throughout Indonesia, and statistics on prosecutions and convictions at the district and provincial levels were collected by the INP. These databases were not interoperable. Police data indicated the initiation of 138 new trafficking investigations involving 169 suspects and the referral to local prosecutors of 86 cases, of which 61 were accepted for prosecution. The attorney general reported that from January to October 2012, 102 cases resulted in convictions under Law No. 21/2007. More than half of the 208 cases reportedly resulted in prosecutions under No. 21/2007 in 2011. One conviction in November 2012 included restitution for a victim of child sex trafficking, the second time that an Indonesian court awarded restitution to a trafficking victim. NGOs and government officials reported that endemic corruption among members of Indonesian security forces and government officials remained an impediment to increased effectiveness in anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts.

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 multi-purpose shelters and trauma clinics to trafficking victims through 187 centers at the provincial and district level, which increased in number by six since the previous year. The government provides limited funding to other organizations for the provision of services to trafficking victims but since 2005 has increasingly channeled support through the center. The centers also receive private funding. The national police operated approximately 306 women and child service units in police stations around the country, which provided emergency protection and medical services to victims of violence, including 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. The Ministry of Health is responsible for covering the costs of health care for trafficking victims, and all Indonesian National Police hospitals across the country are obligated to provide medical care at no cost to victims, though NGOs and government officials reported that some hospital staff remained unaware of this duty or were unwilling to provide care without compensation. Although the government did not collect or report comprehensive data on victims identified throughout the country, an international NGO reported that from January to November of 2012 it identified and, jointly with the government, provided support to a total of 187 trafficking victims. Officials in Yogyakarta Special Region reported assisting one transnational trafficking victim, a student who was trafficked to Malaysia. In March 2012, the Berline Labor Court approved a settlement between a Saudi Arabian diplomat and an Indonesian domestic worker for unpaid wages and damages.

The central government largely funds provincial governments through block grants, and provinces have significant discretion in the use of these funds, including decisions on trafficking-related programs. As a result, provincial governments’ funding of victim protection services varied greatly. Some provinces have not established anti-trafficking taskforces and provide only minimal funding for the protection of trafficking victims. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) reported that it continued to train its diplomats on identifying trafficking victims. Additionally, it was reported that the MFA established 24 citizen service centers in its foreign missions. According to Indonesia’s honorary consul in Trinidad and Tobago, 154 trafficked Indonesian fishermen were found stranded off the northwestern coast of Trinidad in October 2012. Indonesian officials traveled to Trinidad to interview and repatriate the rescued fisherman. The first group of fishermen was repatriated in November 2012, while the second group was repatriated in January 2013. Upon return to Indonesia the fishermen were referred to IOM for medical recovery, follow-up assistance to return to their home villages, and enrollment in a reintegration program. 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 taskforce 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 awaited funding for publishing for the second consecutive year.

In December 2012 the government abolished the requirement that workers returning to Indonesia through Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport exit the airport through a terminal designated for incoming migrant workers. Advocates for the rights of migrant workers maintained that returning workers were vulnerable to abuse and exploitation if segregated in the designated terminal and that they enjoyed the right to travel freely without the stigma of being segregated. IOM reported that the number of workers using the terminal has declined to 300-700 people per day compared to a previous 700-2,000 per day.

Prevention

The Indonesian government made modest progress in preventing human trafficking during the reporting period, particularly through improved oversight of labor migrants and the licensed recruiting agencies sending them abroad. Most other prevention work was conducted at the district and province levels; 25 provincial level anti-trafficking taskforces, up from 21 in 2012, and 77 district or municipal anti-trafficking taskforces, up from 73 in 2012, coordinated local anti-trafficking efforts with a wide variety in levels of funding, staffing, and energy. While the West Java provincial taskforce includes 66 government and civil society representatives that meet regularly and fund victim protection activities, during the reporting period they met two times. The taskforce in Riau Islands province—a major transit area for trafficking victims from throughout the country—did not meet during 2012. The Coordinating Minister for Social Welfare nominally chaired the government’s national anti-trafficking taskforce, and the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection (MWECP) provided active direction. The national taskforce met quarterly in 2012 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. The government also added 17 civil service inspectors within the Agency for the Placement and Protection of Overseas Workers (BNP2TKI) to investigate trafficking cases. The government engaged in public awareness campaigns delivered via conferences, radio, newspapers, billboards, pamphlets, school programs, and neighborhood meetings.

The government continued to support BNP2TKI in its efforts to monitor outbound Indonesian workers and protect them from fraudulent recruitment and human trafficking. Indonesia’s president in January 2013 issued Government Order 03/2013 on the Placement and Protection of Overseas Workers. The order clarifies and extends protections granted to workers under Law No. 39/2004 on the Placement and Protection of Workers. Specifically, the order makes explicit the government’s responsibility to protect the rights of workers from the time they consider an offer of employment overseas, while they are working overseas, until they return to Indonesia. Additionally, BNP2TKI launched an initiative to include fishermen in the same registration process that it applies to other workers going abroad. The initiative requires fishermen to apply for a work permit to work abroad and mandates companies employing fisherman who will work in international waters to register with the agency.

The government continued partnerships with NGOs and international organizations to increase public awareness of trafficking. In October 2012, the Indonesian government signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Taiwan, creating a “partnership in immigration affairs and the prevention of human trafficking and smuggling” intended to provide better protection to the estimated 180,000 migrant workers in Taiwan. 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 located outside of their home provinces.

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. A UK citizen arrested in November 2011 in the Riau Islands province for sexually exploiting children was in jail awaiting trial; at the time of the publication of this report further updates on this case were unavailable. The government provided Indonesian military personnel with anti-trafficking training prior to their deployment abroad on international peacekeeping missions. There were no reports of Indonesian peacekeeping troops engaging in trafficking-related offenses. The government did not report efforts to reduce the demand for forced labor or commercial sex acts during the year.



Back to Top
Sign-in

Do you already have an account on one of these sites? Click the logo to sign in and create your own customized State Department page. Want to learn more? Check out our FAQ!

OpenID is a service that allows you to sign in to many different websites using a single identity. Find out more about OpenID and how to get an OpenID-enabled account.