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Children Trafficking in Indonesia

Updated on July 16, 2011

Children are the precious blessings in the world, but sometime we as adults fail to protect them. They are fragile creatures that really need our attention, care, protection, and love. A number of children in Indonesia are also suffer of this kind of neglect. Many Indonesian children are become victims of human trafficking.

Not only children in villages, Indonesian children in big cities like Jakarta, Surabaya, Medan, Denpasar (Bali) and Batam are also become victims of this kind of disgusting practice. I feel sick and angry about this kind of humiliation of children as the nation's future. Although the human especially children trafficking issue has been declared as one of the worst form of treatment of people in Indonesia, but there are many people who still doing that in various regions in Indonesia. This is really a sad fact about children in developing country.

Well, my government has released the No. 1 Year 2000 Act against this practice, but somehow, there are still many news about children trafficking.

Indonesia is not only the source of children trafficking but also a transit and destination country for human trafficking. The fact, UNICEF estimates that 100,000 women and children are trafficked annually for commercial in Indonesia and other countries. It's really sad that 30% of the female prostitutes in Indonesia are below 18 (still considered as children) and many children are victims of sexual exploitation. Those predators are everywhere and ready to set up our children into their trap.   

The Modus

The predators or users used to hire some traffickers and the traffickers are looking for the victims in every regions in Indonesia. The predators could be anybody and they usually have big bunch of money to control.

The traffickers could be anybody who involved in this trafficking activity, these people could be their own neighbors, friends, relatives, employers, the brothel owners, individual like a few corrupt government officers or an officer who could be bought by money, and even their own parents who sold them just for money. And the children trafficking numbers are increase during natural disasters like tsunami or earthquake. When tsunami happened in Aceh (NAD), North Sumatera, many children lost their family and parents, they are the most fragile victims who will become a great target of human trafficking.

Those children are sold in many clubs, karaoke bars, or even hotels operating in many tourist areas in Indonesia or other countries. Sadly, the report of children trafficking are not many, actually the fact is like an ice-berg phenomenon, because many victims were afraid and ashamed, and the crimes involved and the trafficking are used to be underground and therefore it's so difficult to monitor and to be proved.

The children even kidnapped by the traffickers.

Children trafficking is lucrative and linked with criminal activity and also with corruption, it's not a secret anymore that the corruption level in Indonesia is extremely high.

Child in suburbs area, easy target for children trafficking.
Child in suburbs area, easy target for children trafficking.

What region that used to have children trafficking

Most of regions in Indonesia, like Jakarta, East Java, Sumatera, Kalimantan (Borneo), East Nusa Tenggara, Batam, and also Sulawesi. The traffickers activity are more active in the frontier areas like Entikong, West Kalimantan (West Borneo), it's not a secret anymore that many Indonesian children and also young women are sold through that area. (The silk road, from Entikong to Tebedu, there are many human trafficking through those places - Kompas, January 2009).

Children, protect them.
Children, protect them.
Slum area in Jakarta, Indonesia
Slum area in Jakarta, Indonesia

What cause children trafficking in Indonesia

There are at least three main reasons why this has happened in Indonesia,
1. Poverty
2. Lack of Education
3. The Patriarchy culture.

1. Poverty
Many Indonesian family live under USD 5 income per day, so, it become some justifications if they sell their children. The hedonist life style that influence many young Indonesian people to have as much money as they can also one of the reason. Young people in a small town are persuaded by the luxury life in the big cities, and the traffickers used this opportunity.

Some people left Indonesia with hope for better life and they end up in the prostitution, abused by their employers, or become children labors. 

2. Lack of education
The poverty will lead to lack of education.  People who are poor will never consider the importance of education, so they won't bother to go to school or something. Many of them (the victims) are uneducated, just graduated from primary school or worst, are never graduated from primary school. They're easy to be manipulated and abused. Not just lack of education but also lack of awareness.

Lack of education will make people fall to modern slavery easily. This is very important and really need the attention from the government.

3. Patriarchy culture
Indonesia has a patriarchy system. According to wikipedia, patriarchy is a social system in which the father or eldest male is head of the household, having authority over women and children. Patriarchy also refers to a system of government by males, and to the dominance of men in social or cultural systems. It may also include title being traced through the male line.

Actually, there is nothing wrong with the system, but the danger is, sometime it makes women and children are being abused and neglected. 

Indonesian Government really works hard against children trafficking, like supports shelters for trafficking victims in countries like Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Singapore. Indonesian Government collaborates with NGOs and international organizations to raise awareness in 16 provinces and also sponsored a televised public service announcement on private national television stations.

The Indonesian Government also distributed child sex tourism materials in Bali and Batam. There is also a MOU between Indonesian and Malaysia Governments to protect the migrant workers, but still the number of human trafficking like children and women in Indonesia are extremely high.

The Government needs to make greater efforts to uncover and convict all people who are involved in trafficking. The recruiting system has to be repaired and not benefiting the exploitative agencies and employers. I hope my Government will do that, oh and one more thing, I know the budget is really tight, but I also hope that Indonesian Government will increase its budget for the prevention of trafficking and the treatment for the victims.

Against children trafficking!!


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