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Indonesia (Tier 2 Watch List)

The Government of Indonesia does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so. These efforts included supporting the repatriation of Indonesian migrant workers, some of whom were exploited in trafficking abroad, referring some trafficking victims to social services, implementing the 2017 Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers law, concluding a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Malaysia on worker protections, and increasing funding for victim and witness protection services. However, the government did not demonstrate overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period, even considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its anti-trafficking capacity. Investigations of trafficking crimes decreased for the fifth consecutive year, and convictions decreased for the fourth consecutive year. Official complicity in trafficking crimes remained a concern, which the government did not take steps to address. The lack of robust, systematized victim identification procedures continued to hinder the proactive identification of victims overall, particularly male victims, while the government’s protection services remained inadequate as they did not specifically address the needs of trafficking victims. Despite taking some action in individual cases of forced labor in fishing and Indonesian migrant workers abroad, the government did not fully prioritize the staffing or funding for effective oversight of these sectors with long-standing, pervasive trafficking problems. Coordination between the national anti-trafficking task force and its provincial and local-level counterparts was insufficient to translate central government policies into nationwide implementation. The 2007 anti-trafficking law was inconsistent with international law by requiring a demonstration of force, fraud, or coercion to constitute a child sex trafficking crime. Therefore Indonesia was downgraded to Tier 2 Watch List.

  • Increase efforts to vigorously investigate, prosecute, and convict traffickers under the 2007 law, including complicit officials who ignore, facilitate, or engage in trafficking crimes.
  • Amend the 2007 law to remove the required demonstration of force, fraud, or coercion to constitute child sex trafficking.
  • Develop, finalize, disseminate, and train all relevant officials, including law enforcement, foreign affairs, marine, and labor ministry staff, on comprehensive standard operating procedures (SOPs) for proactive victim identification.
  • Enforce implementing regulations of the 2017 law on migrant worker protection.
  • Increase resources for and proactively offer all victims, including male victims, comprehensive services using a victim-centered and trauma-informed approach.
  • Allow victims in government shelters freedom of movement.
  • Increase efforts to effectively monitor labor recruitment agencies, including in the fishing sector, and take action against entities guilty of illegal conduct that contributes to the forced labor of migrant workers, including charging placement fees, deceptive recruitment practices, contract switching, and document forgery.
  • Institutionalize and regularly provide anti-trafficking training for judges, prosecutors, police, and social workers.
  • Develop and implement mandatory pre-departure and post-arrival orientation and training for Indonesian and migrant fishermen, respectively, in order to provide information on labor rights and safety at sea, and ensure employers cover the orientation and training costs.
  • Increase resources for the anti-trafficking task force and improve its coordination across ministries.
  • Finalize and implement a national action plan to combat trafficking.
  • Establish a data collection system to track anti-trafficking efforts at all levels of law enforcement.
  • Increase awareness of trafficking trends and vulnerabilities among local village leaders.
  • Create a national protocol that clarifies roles for prosecuting trafficking cases outside victims’ home provinces.

The government decreased law enforcement efforts. The 2007 anti-trafficking law criminalized all forms of labor trafficking and some forms of sex trafficking and prescribed penalties of three to 15 years’ imprisonment, which were sufficiently stringent and, with respect to sex trafficking, commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Inconsistent with international law, the 2007 law required a demonstration of force, fraud, or coercion to constitute a child sex trafficking crime and therefore did not criminalize all forms of child sex trafficking. However, judicial officials at the national and provincial level continued to assert the law implicitly established that force, fraud, or coercion were not required to constitute child sex trafficking, and that this therefore was not a barrier in successfully prosecuting and obtaining convictions in child sex trafficking cases. Nevertheless, observers continued to note that low awareness of trafficking crimes and relevant legislation among local law enforcement and judicial authorities impeded case detection and prosecutorial progress.

Ineffective coordination among various agencies throughout the country hindered the government’s ability to investigate, prosecute, and convict traffickers and collect comprehensive data on such efforts, especially when cases involved multiple jurisdictions. As in previous years, the attorney general’s office (AGO) and the Indonesian National Police (INP) Criminal Investigative Division (CID) in Jakarta—responsible for investigating criminal cases that crossed multiple local jurisdictions—did not have a mechanism or central database to track trafficking investigations, prosecutions, convictions, and sentencing data at all levels of government; therefore, as in previous years, law enforcement data was incomplete. The INP CID reported it investigated a total of 24 trafficking cases—eight for sex trafficking and sixteen for labor trafficking involving migrant workers—under the anti-trafficking law in 2021; this demonstrated a decrease from 38 investigations it initiated in the previous reporting period. The government prosecuted 167 alleged trafficking cases under the anti-trafficking law and convicted 178 traffickers in 2021, representing a decrease from 259 traffickers convicted in 2020. One of those cases involved the forced labor of 12 Indonesian fishermen aboard a People’s Republic of China (PRC)-flagged fishing vessel; the government convicted five traffickers and sentenced them each to three and a half years in prison under the anti-trafficking law in April 2021.

The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government employees complicit in trafficking crimes; however, corruption and official complicity in trafficking crimes remained a concern, inhibiting law enforcement action during the year. The INP reported it investigated an ongoing case from 2019 involving an Indonesian labor official in Singapore who allegedly accepted bribes from migrant worker insurance companies to illegally authorize the companies to hire Indonesian migrant workers. Although the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) removed the official from his position in Singapore, he continued to work for the MOM at the end of the reporting period, and the INP did not refer the case for criminal prosecution. Civil society alleged some law enforcement officials and politicians organized raids on entertainment venues to extort financial kickbacks from adults in commercial sex, which may have included sex trafficking victims. Corrupt officials reportedly continued to facilitate the issuance of false documents, accept bribes to allow brokers to transport undocumented migrants across borders, protect venues where sex trafficking occurred, engage in witness intimidation, and intentionally practice weak oversight to insulate recruitment agencies from liability.

The government, through the AGO, Indonesian Migrant Worker Protection Agency (BP2MI), and some local government officials in North Sumatra, provided anti-trafficking training to officials in 2021 but these trainings did not cover all judicial, law enforcement, and other relevant authorities. The INP CID received 298 million Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) ($20,990) for national anti-trafficking investigations in 2021.

The government maintained inadequate protection efforts. The government did not fully collect comprehensive data on the number of victims it identified. Several government agencies continued to utilize comprehensive or systematized SOPs for proactive victim identification or referral to protection services. Some observers expressed concern that the lack of SOPs and the government’s anti-trafficking infrastructure, which was under the purview of local-level police units and protection agencies who focused primarily on women and children, hindered the identification of victims overall and of rural and male victims specifically. In October 2021, the government enacted regulation No. 8/2021 on SOPs of Integrated Services for Witnesses and/or Victims of Trafficking, but it did not fully implement this regulation during the reporting period. The government did not report specific instances in which authorities arrested, detained, fined, or otherwise punished trafficking victims for crimes traffickers compelled them to commit. However, due to lack of formal identification procedures, authorities may have arrested or deported some unidentified trafficking victims, particularly among vulnerable groups.

Disparate government entities sometimes reported their own statistics, making aggregate data incomparable to data reported in previous years and possibly double-counting victims as they came into contact with different government agencies. The Witness and Victim Protection Agency (LPSK) received 252 referrals of trafficking victims from government ministries and agencies and NGOs in 2021 and provided shelter and security protection services to these victims. MOSA also received 1,082 victim referrals from government ministries, NGOs, and international organizations; of these referrals, MOSA referred 555 of them to government social centers and the rest to NGOs for assistance. The victim referrals reported by LPSK and MOSA likely reflected double-counting of some victims.

For a second year in a row, the National Commission for Indonesian Child Protection did not report identifying any child trafficking cases in 2021. However, NGOs and past government reports indicated child sex trafficking likely continued and previously estimated the number of victims to be many thousands. In August 2021, the government issued regulation No. 78/2021 on Special Protection for Children—an implementing regulation of the Child Protection Law No. 35/2014—to protect and provide services to several categories of children whose safety and lives are under threat, including child trafficking victims. The government did not report how many child trafficking victims received protection services through this regulation. The government did not report the number of foreign trafficking victims it identified or assisted in 2021, if any.

The MFA continued to identify Indonesian trafficking victims exploited abroad, and it maintained an online portal and mobile application available through its embassies for individuals to report exploitation and access services. Some Indonesian consular authorities overseas had labor attaches that could identify and refer Indonesian trafficking victims to care, including embassy-run shelters. In 2021, the MFA provided protective services to and managed 391 cases of Indonesian trafficking victims exploited abroad, and it received 256 trafficking complaints through its online portal. In comparison, the MFA received 383 cases of migrant worker complaints in 2020, some of whom may have been trafficking victims. The government did not report the number of trafficking victims it identified or assisted among Indonesian fishermen exploited on foreign-flagged fishing vessels in 2021. In comparison to the previous reporting period, in 2020 the government repatriated 589 Indonesian fishermen who complained about working conditions from 98 PRC-flagged fishing vessels. The MFA funded or facilitated the repatriation of 75,591 overseas Indonesian workers in 2021, which included trafficking victims. The government did not report how much funding it allocated to the MFA for repatriation, maintenance of Indonesian shelters abroad, provision of legal aid, and training for its officials in 2021; in 2020, it allocated 43 billion IDR ($3.03 million) to the services.

The government continued to operate several shelters and service centers for victims of crimes, including trafficking, but the government did not report how many trafficking victims received assistance at any of these facilities in 2021. The government coordinated assistance for victims of abuse, including trafficking victims, through local integrated service centers—semi-governmental institutions—for women and children (P2TP2A), which were located in all 34 provinces and approximately 436 districts. Services at these centers included medical care, legal aid, and reintegration; however, in practice, services varied based on local leadership and funding. LPSK continued to operate six shelters for victims and witnesses to crimes who faced threats or intimidation—including trafficking victims—but residents of these shelters did not have full freedom of movement once placed in a shelter and could not seek employment for security reasons. MOSA also operated 41 shelters—funded by the national budget—that were available for victims of crimes, including human trafficking. MOSA allocated $5 million to three of its shelters in 2021, which was a substantial increase from the $156,830 it allocated to its shelters in 2020. According to MOSA’s SOPs on victim services, shelters could only receive and release victims with approval of another government agency. Police required victims to stay in government shelters until the completion of relevant investigations, but victims were only able to stay in the shelters for an average of two weeks due to government budget constraints and reduced capacity. In some cases, once the government released a victim from care, authorities did not track the victim, including for purposes of gathering testimony for traffickers’ prosecution; instead, authorities relied on an international organization to remain in contact with victims and provide follow-up assistance, if necessary. A general lack of adequate protection and reintegrative care, coupled with low awareness among village and local leaders, increased many victims’ risk of re-trafficking, particularly among fishermen returning to their communities after experiencing forced labor at sea. The government did not provide legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they may face hardship or retribution. In 2021, the government provided healthcare, food, and temporary shelter—with support by an international organization—to Rohingya refugees, a population highly vulnerable to trafficking.

The INP estimated that 81 trafficking victims participated in trafficking investigations or prosecutions in 2021. Although a 2017 supreme court regulation stipulated that judges could allow female victims of crimes to provide video testimony during legal processes, the government did not report if it offered such protection to female trafficking victims in 2021. LPSK sought $283,073 in restitution for 177 trafficking victims and witnesses in 2021, a slight decrease from restitution sought in 2020, but it did not report how much—if any—was ultimately paid to victims. The government increased LPSK’s budget to $5,563,380 in 2021 from $4,011,673 in 2020.

The government maintained efforts to prevent trafficking. The government had a national anti-trafficking task force, coordinated by the ministry of women empowerment and child protection (MOWECP) and chaired by the ministry of human development and culture, that led anti-trafficking efforts across 21 ministries. In April 2021, the government enacted Presidential Decree No. 22/2021, which expanded the national task force’s membership, streamlined coordination between members, and outlined its budgetary process. The national task force met once in 2021 and continued to develop, but did not finalize, a draft 2020-2024 national anti-trafficking action plan, reportedly due to pandemic-related restrictions that limited in-person meetings and other government activities. The national task force maintained 32 provincial-level task forces, one in every province except Papua and West Papua, and 242 municipal and district-level task forces. These task forces continued to suffer from insufficient funding, lack of coordination within and between the local task forces and the national task force, and lack of understanding of trafficking among members. The national task force, in coordination with an international organization, provided anti-trafficking training to 292 officials from more than 50 national and provincial governments and NGOs in August 2021. The government did not report its budget allocation to MOWECP’s trafficking office, unlike in the previous reporting period.

The government continued to implement the 2017 Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers law, which mandated that provincial governments—instead of private companies—oversee the provision of pre-departure vocational training and the placement of workers. In 2021, the government began enforcing a 2020 regulation of the migrant workers law that defined and exempted Indonesian migrant workers from placement fees. Some observers reported the government was not fully effective in protecting migrant workers from expenditures higher than the government-set recruitment fee, and many migrant workers still remitted their first year of wages to their recruiters or employers to repay the initial costs of recruitment and placement, which traffickers used to coerce and retain victims’ labor. In addition, a 2020 implementing regulation of the migrant workers law required married male and female migrant workers to obtain permission from their spouse to work abroad. That requirement increased the probability that women would migrate through illicit channels, which increased vulnerability to traffickers. In 2021, MOM temporarily suspended the licenses of 11 recruitment agencies, but it did not revoke any or report if it referred any of the 11 companies to the police for investigation of human trafficking crimes. While the suspension of these licenses demonstrated an increase from the five suspensions in 2020, it was a substantial decrease from the 111 licenses it revoked in 2020. As in the previous reporting period, the reasons for the suspended licenses included cramped or unsafe accommodations in dormitories, document forgery, coercive or deceptive recruitment practices and contract signings, underage recruitment, illegal fees, and sending workers to Middle Eastern countries that Indonesia’s moratorium on the placement of domestic workers prohibited. In November 2021, MOM’s Migrant Worker Protection Task Force conducted a national coordination meeting for several ministries underscoring the importance of holding migrant worker placement agencies accountable for trafficking crimes.

The government continued its ban on overseas placement of migrant workers to 21 Middle East and North African nations, yet the number of migrant workers circumventing the ban through the use of illegal recruiters continued. The UN, other international organizations, and NGOs continued to argue any ban on migration increased the likelihood that workers would migrate illegally, heightening their risk of human trafficking. The government confiscated the passports of any Indonesians repatriated with government assistance if they had violated an overseas placement ban, which could have further exacerbated irregular migration through unsafe channels. The government maintained MOUs with nine countries in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions for the recruitment, placement, and protection of Indonesian migrant workers. It continued to negotiate an additional MOU with the Government of Brunei and completed an MOU with the Government of Malaysia on migrant worker protections in April 2022. Nevertheless, there was no mechanism by which the MOM could ensure compliance with the protections stipulated in the MOUs, thus abuses against migrant workers, including forced labor, persisted.

The government did not effectively implement regulations over the fishing sector, which allowed forced labor to persist. For the third consecutive year, the president did not sign implementing regulations required to solidify the roles and responsibilities of the ministry of maritime affairs and fisheries and other ministries, which hampered coordination efforts to effectively oversee recruitment and labor practices in the fishing sector. Civil society groups noted many Indonesian and migrant fishermen were unaware of their rights and responsibilities and unprepared for the work in the absence of standardized, employer-paid pre-departure and post-arrival orientation and training. The government continued to implement a ban—instituted in 2020—on Indonesian fishermen working aboard PRC-flagged vessels, vessels operated by PRC-state owned companies, and South Korean- and Taiwanese-flagged vessels operating outside of their Exclusive Economic Zones. The government continued to operate two Fishers Centers—established in 2020—to handle complaints from fishermen; however, unlike in the previous reporting period, it did not report how many complaints of labor exploitation the centers received in 2021. In 2021, the MFA established an Indonesian Seafarer Corner (ISC) in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, to provide shelter and repatriation services to Indonesian fishermen; however, the government did not report if it identified or provided services to any trafficking victims at the ISC.

Several ministries and agencies, including MOWECP, MOSA, and BP2MI, continued to operate hotlines on a range of issues inclusive of, but not limited to, trafficking. In 2021, BP2MI’s complaint system received 1,702 complaints from workers placed overseas, of which 59 were deemed potential trafficking cases; this was a slight decrease from the 89 potential trafficking cases among the 1,812 complaints from workers overseas in 2020. Of the 59 cases, BP2MI referred to the police an unspecified number related to recruitment licenses, but it did not report if police took any action on those referrals. The LPSK maintained a hotline and mobile application to provide information to all victims of crimes on filing complaints and available protection services; however, it did not report the number of trafficking victims identified through these mechanisms. The government continued to conduct some public awareness events on trafficking, including by conducting awareness-raising activities that highlighted the legal procedures to migrate for work and migrant workers’ rights. Local government officials in Nunakan Regency and Aceh conducted some anti-trafficking awareness campaigns in 2021. The MFA provided anti-trafficking training for 111 diplomatic personnel deployed overseas. To reduce the vulnerability to child and forced labor, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology established 96 new community learning centers and deployed 703 teachers to continue to educate children of Indonesian migrant palm oil laborers in Sarawak and Sabah where Malaysian palm oil plantations were located. The government did not make efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts, but it continued to make efforts to reduce the demand for child sex tourism by coordinating with foreign governments to deny entry to known child sex offenders. In June 2021, the government of Cianjur Regency in West Java passed Regent Regulation No. 38/2021 to prevent foreigners from exploiting Indonesian women and girls in “contract marriages” for the purpose of commercial sex, including cases of sex trafficking and forced labor; it did not report if it punished any traffickers or identified any sex trafficking victims through this regulation.

As reported over the past five years, human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Indonesia and exploit victims from Indonesia abroad. Each of Indonesia’s 34 provinces is a source and destination of trafficking. The government estimates that more than two million of the six to eight million Indonesians working abroad—many of whom are women working in the domestic sector—are undocumented or have overstayed their visas, increasing their risk to trafficking. In 2020, nearly 200,000 Indonesian migrant workers returned to Indonesia due to the pandemic. Labor traffickers exploit many Indonesians through force and debt-based coercion in Asia (particularly PRC, South Korea, and Singapore) and the Middle East (in particular Saudi Arabia) primarily in domestic work, factories, construction, and manufacturing, on Malaysian oil palm plantations, and on fishing vessels throughout the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Middle East host many Indonesian domestic workers who are unprotected under local labor laws and often experience indicators of trafficking, including excessive working hours, lack of formal contracts, and unpaid wages; many of these workers come from the province of East Nusa Tenggara. NGOs estimate unscrupulous labor recruitment agents and sub-agents are responsible for more than half of Indonesian female trafficking cases overseas. To migrate overseas, workers often assume debt that both Indonesian and overseas recruitment agents exploit to coerce and retain their labor. Additionally, some companies withhold identity documents and use threats of violence to keep migrants in forced labor. Sex traffickers exploit Indonesian women and girls primarily in Malaysia, Taiwan, and the Middle East. In previous years, there were reports that for-profit universities in Taiwan aggressively recruited Indonesians and subsequently placed them into exploitative labor conditions under the pretense of educational opportunities.

In Indonesia, labor traffickers exploit adults and children in fishing, fish processing, and construction; on oil palm and other plantations; and in mining and manufacturing. Sources reported in 2021 that a nickel mining company affiliated with the PRC’s Belt and Road Initiative allegedly recruited PRC national workers through unlicensed PRC-based labor contractors and subjected them to forced labor through passport confiscation, wage garnishing and withholding, forced overtime, and physical beatings, among other abuses. Traffickers exploit women and girls in forced labor in domestic service. Traffickers may subject children to forced criminality in the production, sale, and transportation of illicit drugs. Government regulations allow employers in certain sectors, including small and medium enterprises and such labor-intensive industries as textile manufacturing, an exemption from minimum wage requirements, thereby increasing the risk of workers in those sectors to debt-based coercion. More than 1.5 million Indonesian children between ages 10 and 17 work in agriculture, including on tobacco plantations, without gear to protect them from the sun and chemicals; working without proper protective gear can be an indicator of forced labor. NGOs report that in the city of Bima, on the island of Sumbawa, some professional horse racers use child jockeys, some of whom may be forced. Early marriage practices push many children—especially in poorer rural communities—into employment as new primary earners for their households, driving a high incidence of child labor migration through channels known for deceptive recruitment practices, debt bondage, and other forced labor indicators.

According to an international organization, up to 30 percent of individuals in commercial sex in Indonesia are female child sex trafficking victims. Sex traffickers often use debt or offers of jobs in restaurants, factories, or domestic service to coerce and deceive women and girls into exploitation in commercial sex across Indonesia, and notably in Batam and Jakarta. Sex traffickers use spas, hotels, bars, karaoke establishments, and other businesses to facilitate sex trafficking. Traffickers also exploit women and girls in sex trafficking near mining operations in Maluku, Papua, and Jambi provinces. Since the start of the pandemic, traffickers increasingly use online and social media platforms to recruit victims, primarily children, for commercial sexual exploitation. Child sex tourism is prevalent in the Riau Islands bordering Singapore. Bali is a destination for Indonesians and foreign tourists engaging in child sex tourism. Middle Eastern tourists come to Indonesia, particularly Puncak district in Bogor, and pay more than $700 for a “contract marriage,” usually up to one week in duration, that allows them to have extramarital sex without violating Islamic law. The girls are as young as age nine, and some of the women that the tourists “marry” are sex trafficking victims. While this is a religious practice, there is tacit government acceptance. Indonesian women are recruited abroad for ostensibly legitimate employment and are exploited in sex trafficking abroad, including in Timor-Leste.

Indonesians, including children, whose homes or livelihoods were destroyed by natural disasters in 2020 are vulnerable to trafficking. Four million children deemed by the government to be “neglected” and approximately 16,000 children estimated to be experiencing homelessness and living in urban environments are also vulnerable to trafficking. Government failure to prevent companies from encroaching on Indigenous communities’ land, sometimes in collusion with the military and local police, contribute to displacement that also leaves some ethnic minority groups vulnerable to trafficking. Endemic corruption among government officials facilitates practices that contribute to trafficking vulnerabilities in the travel, hospitality, and labor recruitment industries. Widespread social stigma and discrimination against members of Indonesia’s LGBTQI+ communities and persons living with HIV/AIDS complicated their access to formal sector employment, placing them at higher risk of human trafficking through unsafe employment in the informal sector.

Senior vessel crew on board PRC, Korean, Vanuatuan, Taiwan, Thai, Malaysian, Italian, and Philippines-flagged and/or owned fishing vessels operating in Indonesian, Thai, Sri Lankan, Mauritian, and Indian waters subject Indonesian fishermen to forced labor. In 2020, several Indonesian forced labor victims aboard PRC-flagged fishing vessels sent a plea for assistance over social media, detailing persistent exploitation that included physical violence and the vessel crew’s refusal to feed workers until they completed their daily 20-hour shifts. Authorities secured the release of 157 Indonesian fishermen from the vessels, with strong indicators of forced labor, and confirmed that 12 Indonesian workers had died aboard the vessels between November 2019 and August 2020. Some trafficking victims reported the PRC-flagged vessels had initially recruited them under the guise of well-paying jobs on Korean-flagged vessels. Traffickers recruited many fishing forced labor victims from Java, where they targeted poor farm workers, fraudulently recruited them with promises of high salaries and good working conditions, provided illicit travel documents, and made workers sign contracts so hard to break that experts refer to them as “slavery contracts.” Some PRC-, Korean-, and Taiwanese-flagged vessels force Indonesian workers to remain on the vessel and work after the conclusion of their contract until the company secures replacement workers. Some of the traffickers promised to send the workers’ salaries directly to their families, but after several months at sea, many workers discovered the vessels had not sent any payments.

Dozens of recruitment agencies in Burma, Indonesia, and Thailand lure fishermen with promises of high wages, charge fees and curtailment deposits to assign them fake identity and labor permit documents, and then send them to fish long hours in waters on vessels operating under complex multinational flagging and ownership arrangements. Some fishermen are unaware their recruitment agencies continue to withhold or withdraw funds from their salary for years. Crew on board these vessels have reported low or unpaid salaries and coercive tactics such as contract discrepancies, document retention, restricted communication, poor living and working conditions, threats of physical violence, and severe physical and sexual abuse. Boat captains and crews prohibit fishermen from leaving their vessels and reporting these abuses through threats of exposing their fake identities to the authorities, threats of blacklisting them from future fishing employment, and, in previous years, by detaining them on land in makeshift prisons. Forced to sail longer distances to adjust to dwindling fish stocks, some crews remain at sea for months or even years without returning to shore, compounding their invisibility and preserving abusive senior crews’ impunity. Most Indonesian fishermen work aboard vessels operating in Taiwan’s highly vulnerable distant water fleet; many are also fishing in Korea’s distant water fleets. In Indonesian waters and elsewhere, some senior vessel crew force fishermen to engage in illegal fishing, poaching, smuggling, and illegal entry into national territories, making them vulnerable to criminalization. Indonesian nationals who participate in the Japanese government’s “Technical Intern Training Program” are vulnerable to forced labor.

U.S. Department of State

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