Indonesia (Tier 2)
The Government of Indonesia does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so. The government demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period; therefore Indonesia remained on Tier 2. These efforts included providing more victims with protection services through its social affairs ministry; identifying, receiving, and assisting more Indonesian victims exploited overseas than the previous year; recovering back wages for Indonesian workers seeking recompense for unpaid work overseas; continuing to create and disseminate awareness materials; and enacting some implementing regulations to a migrant worker protection bill passed in 2017. However, the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas. Prosecutions and convictions decreased for the second consecutive year, and courts at times ceased processing civil and criminal trafficking cases without formal adjournments, verdicts, or legal justification. Official complicity in trafficking crimes remained a concern, and, as in the previous year, although the government reported ongoing investigations, it did not report any prosecutions or convictions of officials allegedly complicit in trafficking. The lack of robust, systematized victim identification procedures continued to hinder the identification of victims overall—particularly male victims. 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 government decreased funding for victim protection, and its budget allocation to the coordinating office of the national task force decreased for the fourth consecutive year. Authorities did not enact several key implementing regulations for the migrant worker protection bill, constraining its effectiveness. 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.
Increase efforts to vigorously investigate, prosecute, and convict traffickers under the 2007 law, including complicit officials who willfully 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. • Complete implementing regulations to enforce the 2017 law on migrant worker protection, including on the provision prohibiting worker-paid recruitment fees. • Increase resources for and proactively offer all victims, including male victims, rehabilitation services. • Allow victims in government shelters freedom of movement. • Increase efforts to effectively monitor labor recruitment agencies 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 the orientation and training costs are covered by employers. • Increase resources for the anti-trafficking task force and improve its coordination across ministries. • Strengthen coordination between central and provincial-level social affairs agencies to improve implementation of victim protection procedures. • Establish a data collection system to track anti-trafficking efforts at all levels of law enforcement. • Lift current bans on migration to encourage migration through safe, legal channels. • Train hospital staff and other health care providers about provisions guaranteeing government-funded care for trafficking victims. • Take steps to 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 offense 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.
While the Ministry of Home Affairs issued a ministerial regulation in April 2018 that mandated regional governments include anti-trafficking in their policy priorities, the central government did not have a mechanism to enforce this mandate, and it did not influence all provincial governments to consistently allocate anti-trafficking funding or implement national policies. Consequently, government agency coordination and data collection remained a challenge, and some provincial police reported their budget did not allow for interprovincial or international investigations. To compensate for anti-trafficking budgetary constraints in 2019, the Indonesian National Police reallocated funds from other crime directorates to support anti-trafficking investigations. The attorney general’s office (AGO) reportedly did not include a line item for trafficking cases. Officials also reported ineffective coordination hindered the government’s ability to investigate, prosecute, and convict traffickers, especially when cases involved multiple jurisdictions. Provincial police maintained 13 anti-trafficking task forces but did not report on their activities or outcomes.
The national police anti-trafficking unit did not have a mechanism to track investigations at all levels of government, making it difficult to assess enforcement trends and to determine the total number of investigations and resolved cases. In 2019, police at the national level reported arresting 132 individuals for alleged sex trafficking. They initiated 102 case investigations, compared with 95 in 2018 and 123 in 2017; these included 52 cases involving migrant workers and 50 cases of “commercial sex activities” that may have featured crimes outside of the definition of trafficking. Police concluded and referred 26 of these investigation dossiers to the AGO in 2019. One NGO noted that, in the absence of dedicated anti-trafficking budgets, some police units required anti-trafficking investigative work to be conducted on a reimbursement basis, forcing individual officers to bear the relevant costs personally and thereby generating possible disincentives and avenues for corruption. Indonesia’s Task Force on Illegal Fishing brought trafficking charges against a recruitment agency for alleged forced labor, but the case did not proceed; one NGO ascribed its cessation to the dissolution of the task force in 2019. The Supreme Court’s comprehensive recordkeeping mechanism for national court data reported 226 prosecutions and 204 convictions, a continued decrease from 316 prosecutions and 279 convictions in 2018 and 407 and 331, respectively, in 2017. As in prior years, the government did not report comprehensive sentencing data.
Official complicity remained a significant concern. 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 in order to insulate recruitment agencies from liability. Bribes and extortion influenced prosecution, conviction, and sentencing in civil and criminal cases, including trafficking cases. Legal aid organizations reported cases often moved very slowly unless a bribe was paid, and that prosecutors in some cases sought bribes from defendants in exchange for lighter prosecution or dropped charges. Civil society members alleged some police refused to arrest traffickers who were connected to influential members of society, including through familial relationships with or personal ties to recruitment agencies. As in prior years, although the government reported arrests and ongoing investigations, it did not report any prosecutions or convictions of officials allegedly complicit in trafficking.
Although some officials received trafficking training from the Indonesian government, international organizations, and foreign governments, authorities did not provide comprehensive trafficking training to all judicial and law enforcement authorities. Observers noted low awareness of trafficking crimes and relevant legislation among local law enforcement and judicial authorities impeded case detection and prosecutorial progress. As a result, authorities often prosecuted suspected traffickers under the Law on Migrant Workers Protection, which prescribed less severe penalties. Civil society contacts reported some civil and criminal trafficking proceedings were informally discontinued prior to a verdict. The Supreme Court included trafficking in its annual curriculum for judges; however, it only accommodated 20 to 30 judges per year. During 2019, the government’s anti-trafficking task force held two trainings on how to handle trafficking cases. The first, conducted in April 2019 in East Java, included 26 judges, 26 prosecutors, and 25 police officials; the second, conducted in June 2019 in Riau, included 26 judges, 26 prosecutors, and 26 police officials (compared with two trainings for 90 judges and an unspecified number of police, prosecutors, judges, and staff from centers for women and children from 10 provinces in 2018). The government continued to partner with international organizations and foreign governments to provide additional training. In 2019, authorities continued to work with an international organization on a foreign government-funded multi-year project to create a national trafficking database.
The government maintained inadequate protection efforts. Officials did not collect comprehensive data on the number of victims identified. Disparate government entities sometimes reported their own statistics, making aggregate data incomparable to data reported in earlier periods and possibly double-counting victims as they came into contact with different government agencies. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) utilized procedures for victim identification to assist Indonesian citizens overseas, but the government did not have comprehensive or systematized SOPs for proactive victim identification or referral to rehabilitation services. Observers noted law enforcement did not use SOPs, especially at the municipality and district level. 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 in particular. Additionally, the government’s inadequate efforts to screen vulnerable groups for trafficking indicators, including during raids to arrest persons in commercial sex and to combat illegal fishing, may have resulted in the punishment or deportation of unidentified trafficking victims. Police were sometimes unresponsive when victims attempted to report their trafficking circumstances. The government partnered with an international organization in 2018 to develop victim identification procedures but, for the second year, did not finalize the procedures during the reporting period. After identifying a potential victim, provincial police often approached NGO service providers for assistance rather than filing cases with provincial social service officials.
The government primarily coordinated rehabilitation services for victims of abuse, including trafficking victims, through local integrated service centers for women and children (P2TP2A). There were P2TP2As in all 34 provinces and approximately 436 districts. Provincial or district governments managed and funded the centers. Services included short-term shelter, medical care, counseling, family liaison services, and some vocational skills training; however, in practice, services varied based on local leadership and funding. Some P2TP2A facilities were only open for six hours a day, rather than the required 24 hours, and women living in rural areas or districts without a P2TP2A center had difficulty receiving support services. Officials acknowledged the central government’s Ministry of Social Affairs (MOSA) had not adequately disseminated legislation passed in 2014 to clarify the roles and responsibilities of provincial social affairs agencies regarding victim protection, resulting in a lack of coordination on victim services at the local level. NGOs continued to play a critical role in supplementing and filling gaps in government services—including for male victims, whom local governments often had to refer to NGOs for shelter. The Witness and Victim Protection Agency (LPSK) maintained a hotline and mobile application to provide information to all victims of crime on filing complaints and available government protection services; however, authorities did not provide statistics on the use of these mechanisms.
Trafficking victims entered and exited government shelters upon the approval of a government agency; victims did not have freedom of movement once placed in a shelter. MOSA funded and staffed two trauma centers in Jakarta and the Riau Islands that provided short-term shelter for male and female victims of violence, including trafficking victims. The center in Riau Islands only served Indonesian citizens who were in some form of distress in Malaysia; in 2019, the center repatriated 7,175 Indonesians from Malaysia but did not report how many of them were trafficking victims (2,755 repatriated in 2018, with no data on victim status). MOSA reported the Jakarta trauma center served 761 trafficking victims in 2019 (490 in 2018 and 1,291 in 2017), but it did not report the type of trafficking or the ages or genders of the victims. MOSA also funded and staffed a protection shelter for women who had experienced sexual violence; the government did not report the number of trafficking victims it housed in the women’s shelter in 2019, compared with 38 victims housed in 2018. Provincial social affairs agencies funded and operated local trauma centers that were available to trafficking victims; at the end of the reporting period, the government stated it had 27 trauma centers nationwide, an increase from 21 in 2018. MOSA reportedly did not fund transportation for all victims transiting Jakarta en route to home communities elsewhere in Indonesia, and instead relied on NGOs to cover some of the relevant costs. Observers noted MOSA did not adequately coordinate with its provincial capital counterparts to repatriate and rehabilitate victims. Civil society contacts reported protections were particularly lacking for male victims of forced labor in the fishing industry, in part due to poor coordination and lack of delineated roles and responsibilities among Indonesia’s diffuse interagency anti-trafficking infrastructure.
The government housed child victims of crimes in children’s homes funded by MOSA and provincial or district governments, and in some cases in partnership with local NGOs. The number of children’s homes decreased from 18 in 2018 to 14 in 2019; the government did not report how many child trafficking victims it housed in 2019, compared with 11 housed in 2018. Authorities disaggregated victim protection data using categorizations outside of the standard definition of trafficking. For example, the Commission for Protection of Children reported it identified “40 child trafficking cases, 43 cases of child commercial sexual exploitation, and 57 cases of child commercial sex” (compared with 11 cases of trafficking involving children and 65 cases of “child prostitution” in 2018). NGOs and past government reports estimated the number of child sex trafficking victims to be many thousands more.
The MFA continued to implement a 2018 regulation on the protection of Indonesian nationals overseas, which included trafficking victims. The regulation outlined early detection through risk mapping and required an immediate response to a complaint or report of abuse. Some Indonesian consular authorities overseas identified and referred Indonesian trafficking victims to care; the MFA reported it identified 259 such cases in 2019 (164 in 2018, 340 in 2017, and 478 in 2016). This figure included 228 domestic workers and 31 with unspecified circumstances. The MFA reported it referred 94 of the victims to social services agencies (95 in 2018); it did not report its actions regarding the additional 165 victims. The MFA also reported that it recovered approximately $14 million in back wages owed to migrant workers (unreported in 2018). The government housed foreign trafficking victims identified in Indonesia in MOSA’s Jakarta trauma center, or in one of 13 facilities that included immigration detention centers housing illegal migrants and shelters for irregular migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers. The government allowed an international organization to provide counseling and legal services at some shelters. The government did not provide legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they may face hardship or retribution.
Police requested victims stay in government shelters until the completion of relevant investigations, but most victims were only able to stay in the trauma centers for an average of two weeks due to government budget constraints. Women and children reportedly stayed longer, although the government did not provide data on the average length of stay or where victims went once authorities released them. Once the government released a victim from care, it did not track the victim, including for purposes of gathering testimony for their traffickers’ prosecution; instead, authorities relied on an international organization to remain in contact with the victims and provide follow-up assistance, if necessary. A general lack of adequate rehabilitative 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’s universal healthcare system covered some of the medical needs of Indonesian victims; however, the system required identity documents that many Indonesian migrant workers returning from exploitation overseas did not possess. The Ministry of Health (MOH) was responsible for funding victims’ health care, which national police hospitals were obligated to provide free of charge. The MOH did not report if it trained hospital personnel to provide health services to victims of trafficking and violence in 2019, compared with training for hospital personnel in six provinces in 2018.
In 2017, the Supreme Court issued guidelines stipulating judges protect female victims during legal processes by considering psychological trauma and allowing video testimony. However, the government did not report if it consistently offered such protections during court proceedings for female trafficking victims. Authorities continued to implement regulations allowing the LPSK to add restitution to the perpetrator’s penalties before or after conviction for human trafficking and other crimes. The government allocated 56 billion Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) ($4 million) for the LPSK in 2020, a significant decrease from the 2019 fiscal year budget of $5.6 million. In 2019, the LPSK provided various protection services to 318 victims, family members of victims, and witnesses, including 106 men, 156 women, four boys, and 52 girls; authorities did not report how many of these were trafficking victims (70 victims in 2018, 64 in 2017, and 105 in 2016). Among these, LPSK officials sought a total of $215,000 in restitution for 44 victims, but courts only approved six cases amounting to approximately $87,000 (18 cases in 2018). The LPSK did not report the outcomes or status of the remaining cases. Indonesian law allowed convicted traffickers to serve additional imprisonment in lieu of paying restitution; as a result, civil society contacts noted most victims who won restitution were usually only able to secure a small amount, if any at all. Further compounding access to recompense and justice, some recruitment agencies harassed, intimidated, or filed defamation lawsuits against victims attempting to report their abuses. Many victims originated from remote rural areas and lacked the financial means necessary to travel to, or remain in, urban areas for the long duration of trial proceedings.
The government maintained efforts to prevent trafficking. The national task force, coordinated by the Ministry of Women Empowerment and Child Protection (MOWECP), maintained 32 provincial-level task forces; Papua and West Papua did not have task forces. The government significantly increased the number of municipal and district-level task forces from 194 in the previous reporting period to 242; the integrated service centers for women and children or the local social affairs office chaired these task forces. The government’s budget allocation to MOWECP’s trafficking office decreased from 20.1 billion IDR ($1.45 million) in 2018 to 17.3 billion IDR ($1.25 million) in 2019, and further to 6.5 billion IDR ($467,490) in 2020. Observers continued to note insufficient funding and lack of coordination within and between the local task forces and the national task force at times impeded anti-trafficking efforts. MOWECP and the Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Cultural Affairs had not completed a new national action plan for 2020-2024 by the end of the reporting period.
In 2017, the government passed the Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers law outlining procedures to regulate and monitor labor recruitment. The law mandated provincial governments—instead of private companies—oversee the provision of pre-departure vocational training and the placement of workers. Article 30 stated Indonesian migrant workers “cannot be borne with placement costs,” and Article 72 prohibited recruiters or employers from passing on to the worker any placement costs that they had originally paid. The law also mandated the designation of a single agency to license recruitment agencies. However, the law did not define placement costs, and the government did not approve all of the requisite implementing regulations prior to the closure of a statutory two-year passage window; as a result, authorities did not fully execute its provisions during the reporting period. Prior to the 2017 law, recruitment agencies charged migrant workers fees based on their chosen profession and destination; many agencies continued this practice due to the lack of implementing regulations. Observers reported the government had not been effective in protecting migrant workers from expenditures higher than the government-set recruitment fee. Amid this lack of enforcement, many migrant workers still remitted their first year of wages to their recruiters or employers to repay the initial costs of recruitment and placement, and traffickers continued to use this debt to coerce and retain victims’ labor. Although the government substantially increased its labor inspectorate funding to 233 billion IDR ($16.8 million, compared to $10.2 million in 2018), it did not identify any victims of forced labor; low compensation for inspectors and limited capacity among provincial and local-level officials reportedly impeded effective oversight in the formal sector.
While the new law stated the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) had the authority to terminate a recruitment agency’s license if it violated any of the regulations, the law did not address the use of unlicensed sub-agents who regularly charged migrant workers a fee to connect them to a recruitment agency. The vast majority of fishermen-recruitment agencies in the country were unlicensed, enabling authorities to claim plausible deniability of ongoing practices contributing to unlawful debt bondage among many migrant seafarers. In 2019, MOM temporarily suspended the licenses of five recruitment agencies for coercive or deceptive recruitment practices and contracts, document forgery, underage recruitment, illegal fees, and other violations (18 in 2018). Unlike in prior years, MOM did not revoke the licenses of any such agencies (one each in 2018 and 2017). Observers noted recruitment agencies found to be in violation of labor regulations rarely ceased operations, and instead continued to operate with impunity.
Citing inadequate assurances on protections for Indonesian migrant workers, the government continued its ban on overseas placement to 21 Middle East and North African nations, despite noting the number of migrant workers circumventing the ban through the use of illegal recruiters was increasing. 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. Constituting a freedom of movement concern that could have further exacerbated irregular migration through unsafe channels, the government confiscated the passports of any Indonesians repatriated with government assistance if they had violated an overseas placement ban. The government maintained a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed in 2018 with Saudi Arabia on guidelines for the recruitment, placement, and protection of migrant workers there. Among other stipulations, the MOU reportedly stated migrant workers should not be charged placement fees. Article 31 of the 2017 protection of migrant workers law stipulated the government could only allow a person to migrate to a destination country that had a law on foreign worker protection, a written agreement with the destination government, and a social security system or insurance to protect migrant workers. MOM reported it began reviewing all MOUs it signed with other countries on migrant worker protections to ensure their compliance with the law and to prevent human trafficking; however, in the absence of robust monitoring schemes, and amid inconsistent labor laws and regulations in receiving countries, widespread abuses, including forced labor, continued to occur.
The Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries reportedly continued to implement its regulations on human rights certification in the fisheries, including the requirement that Indonesian fishery businesses comply with international human rights standards to obtain a permit for fish capture. NGOs commented the government did not effectively implement these regulations. Underscoring NGO claims of insufficient oversight, central government records appeared to drastically underreport the number of Indonesians working in the global fishing industry when compared against analogous records maintained by another key destination country’s authorities. 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. During the reporting year, the MFA negotiated with the central authorities of Mauritius, South Korea, and Taiwan to expand its pilot program to assist Indonesians working on foreign fishing vessels through dedicated centers to collect data and provide services to fishermen in distress; for the second consecutive reporting period, no new centers were established.
Several ministries and agencies operated hotlines on a range of issues inclusive of but not limited to trafficking. The MFA operated a 24-hour hotline for Indonesians overseas and two mobile applications that included information on safe travel and protection services. In 2018, MOM launched a mobile application for migrant workers that allowed them to get in touch with MOM, other migrant workers, and their families. The application also shared information about MOM’s services. The National Agency for the Protection and Placement of International Migrant Workers (BNP2TKI) also operated two 24-hour hotlines, a fax number, and an email address that served as a complaint center for Indonesian migrant workers. In 2019, BNP2TKI’s complaint system received 9,377complaints from workers placed overseas, an increase from 4,678 complaints in 2018 and 4,475 complaints in 2017. Of the 9,377 complaints, BNP2TKI reported 54 were overt trafficking cases (36 in 2018 and 71 in 2017), and 2,937 cases demonstrated certain trafficking indicators (1,852 in 2018 and 2,430 in 2017). Although BNP2TKI reportedly referred these cases to police for investigations, the government did not report the results thereof.
The government continued to increase training of trainers and general public awareness events on trafficking, including by conducting awareness-raising activities among village-level officials. Provincial authorities published guidebooks providing migrant workers with information on their labor rights and avenues for remediation but did not report how many they disseminated. The government continued to create documentaries, leaflets, posters, banners, billboards, and radio and television talk show scripts that could be used in public information campaigns, but they did not report information on their use or public distribution. The government provided anti-trafficking training for military personnel prior to their deployment abroad on international peacekeeping missions, and there were no reports of Indonesian peacekeeping troops engaged in trafficking-related offenses. The MFA increased the number of junior diplomatic personnel it trained on trafficking to at least 100 (59 in 2018 and 33 in 2017). Despite this increased training, some labor activists attempting to report the forced labor of Indonesian migrant workers overseas observed nonresponsive or obstructive behavior on the part of some Indonesian consular officers and labor officials. The government shuttered some districts known for commercial sex but did not make efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts.
As reported over the past five years, human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Indonesia, and they exploit victims from Indonesia abroad. Each of Indonesia’s 34 provinces is a source and destination of trafficking. The government estimates at least two million of the six to eight million Indonesians working abroad—many of whom are women—are undocumented or have overstayed their visas, increasing their risk to trafficking; the true number of undocumented Indonesian workers is likely much higher. According to one international organization, up to 30 percent of individuals in commercial sex in Indonesia are female child sex trafficking victims. 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. Labor traffickers exploit many Indonesians through force and debt-based coercion in Asia and the Middle East, primarily in domestic work, factories, construction, and manufacturing, on Malaysian oil palm plantations, and on fishing vessels throughout the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, 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. Some for-profit universities in Taiwan have begun aggressively recruiting Indonesians and subsequently placing them into exploitative labor conditions under the pretense of educational opportunities. These students are often unaware of the work component prior to arrival and reportedly experience contract switching, prohibitive working hours, and poor living conditions contrary to their original agreements.
In Indonesia, labor traffickers exploit women, men, and children in fishing, fish processing, and construction; on oil palm and other plantations; and in mining and manufacturing. 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. Early marriage practices pushed many minors—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. 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. Traffickers also exploit women and girls in sex trafficking near mining operations in Maluku, Papua, and Jambi provinces. Traffickers increasingly use online and social media platforms to recruit victims. In 2017, an NGO estimated there were 70,000 to 80,000 child sex trafficking victims in Indonesia. Child sex tourism is prevalent in the Riau Islands bordering Singapore. Bali is a destination for Indonesians engaging in child sex tourism. Indonesians, including children, whose homes or livelihoods were destroyed by natural disasters in 2019 are vulnerable to trafficking; this is also true for four million children deemed by the government to be “neglected,” and for approximately 16,000 homeless children estimated to be living in urban environments. Government failure to prevent companies from encroaching on indigenous communities’ land, sometimes in collusion with the military and local police, contributed to displacement that also left 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 LGBTI 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 Chinese, Korean, Vanuatuan, Taiwan, Thai, Malaysian, and Philippines-flagged and/or owned fishing vessels operating in Indonesian, Thai, Sri Lankan, Mauritian, and Indian waters subject Indonesian fishermen to forced labor. 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 experiencing low or unpaid salaries and such coercive tactics 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. More than 7,000 Indonesian fishermen per year sign in and out of foreign vessels at the port in Cape Town, South Africa, reportedly facing dire working conditions, particularly on vessels owned by citizens of Taiwan, Korea, and Japan. Traffickers also subject fishermen from other parts of Asia to forced labor on board fishing vessels in Indonesian waters; according to one recent study, these vessels account for nearly half of all migrant fishermen trafficked from Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam. 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. Companies operating under the auspices of the Japanese government’s “Technical Intern Training Program” have subjected Indonesian nationals to forced labor in food processing, manufacturing, construction, and fishing.