INDONESIA (Tier 2)
Indonesia is a major source country and, to a much lesser extent, destination and transit country for women, children, and men subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Each of Indonesia’s 34 provinces is a source and destination of trafficking. The government estimates 6.2 million Indonesians—many of whom are women— work abroad, mostly in domestic service, construction, factories, or on plantations or fishing vessels. A significant number of Indonesian migrant workers face conditions of forced labor, including through debt bondage, in Asia and the Middle East and on fishing vessels operating in international waters. Malaysia remained the leading destination for migrant workers from Indonesia, followed by Saudi Arabia, despite the Indonesian government’s moratorium on issuing permits for domestic work in Saudi Arabia. The government also maintained a moratorium on permits for Indonesians to work in domestic service in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan, and Syria. Indonesian victims have also been identified in other countries in Asia, the Middle East, the Pacific Islands, Africa, and North America. Indonesian women and girls are subjected to sex trafficking primarily in Malaysia, Taiwan, and the Middle East. Reports indicate the number of undocumented workers travelling abroad by sea—some of whom are vulnerable to trafficking—has increased following governmental restrictions on legal migration channels for low-skilled workers. The government reported an increase in foreign and Indonesian fishermen subjected to forced labor on Indonesian and foreign-flagged fishing vessels—many operating out of Thailand’s fishing industry—in Indonesian waters.
According to NGOs, labor recruiters are responsible for more than 50 percent of cases in which Indonesian female workers are subjected to trafficking in destination countries. Migrant workers often accumulate significant debts with labor recruiters that make them vulnerable to debt bondage. Some recruiters work independently and others for Indonesia-based labor recruitment companies that lead migrant workers into debt bondage and other trafficking situations. Licensed and unlicensed companies use debt bondage, withholding of documents, and threats of violence to keep Indonesian migrants in situations of forced labor. In many cases, corrupt officials facilitate the issuance of false documents, accept bribes to allow brokers to transport undocumented migrants across borders, protect venues where sex trafficking occurs, and thwart law enforcement and judicial processes to hold traffickers accountable. Endemic corruption among law enforcement officers enables many traffickers to operate with impunity.
Many women and girls are exploited in domestic servitude and sex trafficking in Indonesia. Women, men, and children are exploited in forced labor in the fishing, construction, plantation, mining, and manufacturing sectors. Children are exploited in prostitution in the Batam district of the Riau Islands province and in West Papua province. Women and girls are subjected to sex trafficking near mining operations in Maluku, Papua, and Jambi provinces. Victims are often recruited by job offers in restaurants, factories, or domestic service before they are subjected to sex trafficking. Debt bondage is particularly prevalent among sex trafficking victims. Reports suggest an increase in university and high school students using social media to recruit and subject other students—some under age 18—to sex trafficking. Colombian women are subjected to forced prostitution in Indonesia. Child sex tourism is prevalent in the Riau Islands bordering Singapore, and Bali is a destination for Indonesian child sex tourists.
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 prosecuted 134 suspected traffickers, convicted 79, provided temporary shelter to an unknown number of victims, and conducted anti-trafficking awareness and training events for members of the public and government officials. The government did not make progress in collecting comprehensive, accurate data on its anti-trafficking law enforcement and victim identification efforts. Officials did not consistently employ proactive procedures to identify victims among vulnerable groups and refer them to protective services. The government passed amendments to existing laws allowing victims to obtain restitution from their traffickers, and restitution was awarded in at least three trafficking cases. Inadequate coordination across government agencies and lack of officials’ knowledge of trafficking indicators and legislation impaired anti-trafficking efforts, including implementation of a national anti-trafficking strategy.
Recommendations for Indonesia:
Increase efforts to prosecute and convict labor recruitment agencies, brokers, and corrupt public officials involved in trafficking; develop and implement proactive procedures to identify potential victims among vulnerable groups, including returning migrant workers and persons in prostitution and onboard fishing vessels, and refer such cases to law enforcement officials and victim service providers; improve data collection and public reporting of comprehensive data on legal proceedings against traffickers under the anti-trafficking law; develop anti-trafficking training for judges, prosecutors, police, social workers, and diplomats; prosecute and punish those who obtain commercial sexual services from children; create a national protocol that clarifies responsibilities for prosecuting trafficking cases when they occur outside victims’ respective provinces; increase government funding to support victims’ participation in judicial proceedings; strengthen the national anti-trafficking taskforce and improve coordination across all ministries; and increase awareness-raising campaigns targeted at the public and all levels of government in regions with high incidence of trafficking.
The government continued anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts. Indonesia’s anti-trafficking law, passed in 2007, prohibits all forms of trafficking and prescribes penalties of three to 15 years’ imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Officials reported ineffective coordination among police, prosecutors, and judges often impeded the government’s ability to obtain successful convictions, particularly when cases often involved numerous jurisdictions, including other countries. Extrajudicial mediation hampered successful prosecutions, as victims whose families received settlements from traffickers were usually unwilling to participate in official law enforcement proceedings. The government continued to lack a system for comprehensive reporting on anti-trafficking law enforcement data, resulting in inaccuracies and inconsistencies across systems. The Indonesian National Police opened 305 trafficking investigations, but more than 200 were closed with no further prosecutorial action; authorities did not report the number of investigations that led to new prosecutions. A lack of familiarity with the anti-trafficking law’s provisions led some prosecutors and judges to decline cases or use other laws to prosecute traffickers. The attorney general’s office continued to compile trafficking data from courts across Indonesia and reported the prosecution of 134 defendants, and increase from 126 in 2013. The attorney general’s office reported 79 convictions in 2014—a decrease from 118 convictions in 2013. In March 2014, authorities convicted one trafficker for subjecting men to forced labor and debt bondage on a fishing vessel operating in international waters; he was sentenced to one year in prison. A second defendant was convicted of falsifying travel documents but acquitted on trafficking charges and did not receive jail time. During the year, the government organized trainings for police to improve their capacity to investigate trafficking cases. NGOs and government officials reported that endemic corruption among security forces and other authorities remained an impediment to anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts; however, the government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of public officials complicit in the facilitation of trafficking.
The government continued efforts to protect trafficking victims. The government had standard operating procedures for the proactive identification of victims, though it did not consistently employ these among vulnerable groups, such as returning migrant workers who reported problems during their overseas employment. The government continued to rely largely on international organizations and NGOs for the identification of victims. Officials did not collect or report comprehensive data on victims identified or assisted. An international organization identified and provided services for 761 victims and referred many of them to the government for additional services. The government repatriated 703 victims from Malaysia and 481 from Saudi Arabia. The government reported 118 victims were awaiting repatriation in the Indonesian embassy shelter in the United Arab Emirates at the close of the reporting period, but the level of assistance the government provided to them remained unknown. The Indonesian consulate general in Saudi Arabia spearheaded a training course for Indonesian consular officials on identifying trafficking crimes and referring victims to protection. In December 2014 the government began freezing licenses and destroying boats in a crackdown on illegal fishing. The government publicly acknowledged that victims of trafficking were likely among the crew of these boats. After a March 2015 media investigation reported more than 1,000 potential victims of forced labor on fishing vessels were stranded or detained on the island of Benjina, the government initiated efforts to identify and rescue victims. At the close of the reporting period, the government declared its intent to investigate potential trafficking crimes, though it had not yet done so. The government transferred 367 fishermen to temporary shelter in Tual and facilitated screening from an international organization and repatriation.
The Ministry of Social Affairs continued to provide trauma services and immediate shelter to an unknown number of female trafficking victims through 18 rehabilitation centers. The Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection managed 247 integrated service centers, most of which were operated by provincial governments and served a wide range of vulnerable groups. The quality of care for victims varied widely across the country. Service centers were supported through government and private funds. The Ministry of Health was responsible for covering the costs of health care for victims, and national police hospitals were obligated to provide medical care at no cost. NGOs and government officials reported some hospital staff remained unaware of this duty or were unwilling to provide care without compensation.
The government continued to operate a toll-free hotline for overseas workers. During the year, it received 274 complaints, 16 of which were trafficking-related, including cases involving illegal recruitment or document falsification; the government referred these cases to police, but it was unknown if any resulted in trafficking investigations, prosecutions, or victims receiving protective services. The government had policies to provide legal assistance to victims, but it is unknown how many victims received this assistance. In October 2014, the government passed amendments to the 2006 Witness and Victim Protection and the 2002 Child Protection laws, which allow victims to obtain restitution from their traffickers, and there were reports that some victims were awarded compensation during the year, including 55 men subjected to forced labor on fishing vessels in international waters. There were no reports identified victims were punished for crimes committed as a result of being subjected to trafficking, but inadequate efforts to screen vulnerable groups proactively for trafficking indicators, including during raids to arrest persons in prostitution or combat illegal fishing, may have resulted in the punishment of some unidentified trafficking victims. The government did not provide legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they may face hardship or retribution.
The government made minimal efforts to prevent trafficking. Most prevention efforts occurred at the district and province levels through 31 provincial anti-trafficking taskforces and 166 district or municipal anti-trafficking taskforces; funding for and activities undertaken by taskforces varied greatly across regions. The national anti-trafficking taskforce did not have a budget and was funded by participating ministries. The government and international organizations co-hosted two anti-trafficking awareness raising events for officials and law enforcement personnel. It also facilitated a training workshop on victim identification and witness protection for 35 authorities.
The government continued efforts to monitor outbound Indonesian workers and protect them from fraudulent recruitment and human trafficking through improving data collection, though it is unclear whether it used this data to identify or prevent trafficking cases effectively. The government revoked or suspended licenses for some companies engaged in unscrupulous recruitment, but failed to hold some accountable for fraudulent practices indicative of trafficking or investigate some trafficking situations. Indonesian authorities reported conducting raids on recruiting companies suspected of illegal practices, but did not report any subsequent punishments for illegal acts. The government did not report any prosecutions or convictions of child sex tourists during the year, and it did not report efforts to reduce the demand for forced labor or commercial sex acts. The government provided military personnel with anti-trafficking training prior to their deployment abroad on international peacekeeping missions. It provided antitrafficking training and guidance for its diplomatic personnel.