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Street Children

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                        

Republic of Indonesia

Indonesia, a vast polyglot nation, has made significant economic advances under the administration of President YUDHOYONO, but faces challenges stemming from the global financial crisis and world economic downturn.

Indonesia still struggles with poverty and unemployment, inadequate infrastructure, corruption, a complex regulatory environment, and unequal resource distribution among regions.

Economic difficulties in early 2008 centered on high global food and oil prices and their impact on Indonesia's poor and on the budget.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Indonesia

Indonesia is a major source of women, children, and men trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. To a far lesser extent, it is a destination and transit country for foreign trafficking victims. The greatest threat of trafficking facing Indonesian men and women is that posed by conditions of forced labor and debt bondage in more developed Asian countries – particularly Malaysia, Singapore, and Japan -- and the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia, according to IOM data. Indonesia women and girls are also trafficked to Malaysia and Singapore for forced prostitution and throughout Indonesia for both forced prostitution and forced labor. - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009    Check out a later country report here or a full TIP Report here


CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Indonesia.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.

HELP for Victims

International Organization for Migration
21 57 95 12 75
Country code: 62-



Human Trafficking, Migrant Labor Often Linked in Indonesia

News Blaze, June 11, 2007 -- Source: U.S. Department of State

[accessed 24 August 2014]

More than 2.5 million Indonesians from poorer regions support their families every year by traveling overseas seeking work as domestic servants and laborers. Most work in Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, but hundreds of thousands of others also can be found in Singapore, Japan, Syria, Kuwait, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Some of these individuals find work through officially sanctioned recruiting agencies. But Susilo estimates that more than half of would-be migrant workers bypass these programs for the deceptive ease of working through less reputable recruiters who, like traffickers the world over, confiscate passports, trap would-be workers with exorbitant loans to travel abroad and force them into laboring in dangerous and abusive work environments in a futile effort to repay their unmanageable debts before sending money home to their families.

Indonesia's Footwear Workers Too Thin For Aerobics

Charles Wallace, Los Angeles Times, Tangerang, 17 October 1992

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 6 September 2011]

Suyatmi, a shy, 20-year old factory worker, is too poor to know much about sneakers. She's never heard of Bo Jackson and is too skinny to care about aerobics.      Her world consists of a rented, 5-foot sqaure room in a shantytown where she sits on the concrete floor with three other young women.      Every day a t 7 a.m., Suyatmi begins work at P.T. Hardaya Aneka Shoes Industry, one of six companies in Indonesia making shoes for Nike Inc., the spectacurly successful U.S. sporting goods company. Her production "line" of 30 workers produces 350 pairs of Nike's glitzy footwear a day.      Suyatmi and her co-workers earn a base salary of 1,900 Indonesian rupiahs a day, the equivalent of $1.15. Working a six-day week, with a least two hours of overtime each day, she takes home about $17 per week. The company also gives her lunch and a bus ride to work.      "Some days it's hard," she said. "But I'm just happy to have a job."


*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Indonesia

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 10 June 2021]


There were credible reports that forced labor occurred, including forced and compulsory labor by children (see section 7.c.). Forced labor occurred in domestic servitude and in the mining, manufacturing, fishing, fish processing, construction, and plantation agriculture sectors.


Child labor commonly occurred in domestic service, rural agriculture, light industry, manufacturing, and fishing. The worst forms of child labor occurred in commercial sexual exploitation, including the production of child pornography (also see section 6, Children); other illicit activities, including forced begging and the production, sale, and trafficking of drugs; and in fishing and domestic work.

According to a 2019 National Statistics Agency report, there were approximately 1.6 million children ages 10 to 17 working, primarily in the informal economy.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 8 July 2020]


National, provincial, and local authorities set standards for working conditions and compensation, but enforcement is inconsistent. Indonesian workers are trafficked abroad, including women in domestic service and men in the fishing industry.

2017 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, US Dept of Labor, 2018

[accessed 29 April 2020]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

[page 527]

Children, mostly girls, are subjected to forced domestic work and commercial sexual exploitation abroad, primarily in Malaysia, Taiwan, and the Middle East; within the country, children are also subjected to forced domestic work and commercial sexual exploitation, particularly in Batam, Jakarta, Bali, Bandung, Bogor, Surabaya, and Medan. Research suggests between 70,000 to 80,000 children in Indonesia work in the commercial sex trade. (8; 46; 3; 2; 47)

Children work in tobacco farming, especially in the provinces of East Java, Central Java, and West Nusa Tenggara, which exposes them to pesticides, long hours of work, and extreme heat. (6; 3; 48; 11; 49) Children also work on palm oil plantations tending the nursery, collecting fallen fallen palm fruitlets, and spraying toxic herbicides to help adult laborers meet their quotas and earn premium pay. (50; 51; 52; 3; 7).

Human Trafficking Escalates as World Economy Plunges

Judy Lin for UCLA Today, 6/5/2009

[accessed 24 August 2014]

A native of a tiny Indonesian agricultural village, Ima and her family were among that country's estimated 116 million citizens who subsist on less than $2 a day. As a teen, she regularly traveled two hours to the city of Surabaya to bring in a little money cleaning houses. During one such trip, she got an offer she couldn't refuse.   "A woman came to me and said she had a cousin in L.A. who needed a nanny," Ima recalled. "Would I go to the U.S. and work for her for $150 a month? 'Yes!' I told her. 'Of course!'"

It was 1997, and she was 17 when she excitedly arrived in L.A., only to have her "employer" — an affluent Indonesian woman — confiscate Ima's passport, tell her that she would receive her salary in a lump sum after two years; work her 10-to-18 hours a day, seven days a week, as nanny and housekeeper; and beat her – hitting her in the face and slamming her into walls.   Yet Ima was one of the lucky ones. She wasn't raped, fed a meal of rice once a day or made to sleep in the doghouse – as other victims have recounted.

Combating Sex Trafficking in Indonesia through Community Empowerment and Education

Suma Mihardja, Rita Nur Suhaeti, Fitria Sun Pililie, and Alfonsa Ragha Horeng, 2008

[accessed 18 February 2022]

The following are recommendations to combat sex trafficking in Indonesia: (1) set zero tolerance policies for sex trafficking; (2) set an abolitionist approach to sex trafficking and prostitution; (3)redefine prevention; (4) end tolerance for the illegal sex trade, including open advertising of criminal activity; (5) redefine and rename police department units to combat sex trafficking; (6) end discrimination against victims in arrest and prosecution of trafficking and prostitution-related offenses; (7) increase criminal investigation of exploiters; (8) train law enforcer to recognize exploiter behaviour and signs of victimization; (9) devise strategies to combat different markets for victims;(10) review state approaches to prostitution for effectiveness in reducing the demand for victims and for eliminating the markets for victims.

Guest Worker May Lose Digits, Toes After Being Tied Up in Bathroom for a Month

Hassan Adawi, Arab News, Jeddah, 23 March 2005

[accessed 12 July 2013]

A 25 year-old Indonesian guest worker will have several of her fingers, toes and part of her right foot amputated because of gangrene after being tied up for a month in a bathroom by her Saudi sponsor.  The Indonesian Embassy noted that 2,000 housemaids have been repatriated to Indonesia so far this year, with many alleging maltreatment, nonpayment of wages or physical abuse.

Human trafficking victims suffer from mental distress

Panca Nugraha, The Jakarta Post, Mataram, 02/04/2009

[accessed 13 February 2011]

As many as 57 human trafficking victims in West Nusa Tenggara have suffered from mental distress and at one point were treated at Selagalas Mental Hospital in Mataram, said the head of a group concerned with the issue.   "Some of them are still being treated and the condition of the others is improving, but they are still receiving outpatient treatment," Endang Susilowati, director of the Mataram Panca Karsa Foundation (PPK Mataram), told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.   Endang said the 57 victims were among the 317 human trafficking victims under the care of PPK Mataram during 2008, 80 percent of whom are women and 40 percent of them children under the age of 18.   Endang said the victims were believed to have suffered severe trauma after being cheated, exploited and abused during their ordeal, as well as being ashamed to return to their home villages.

Police discover new mode of human trafficking

ANTARA News, Jakarta, January 24, 2009

[accessed 23 April 2012]

Police have discovered a new mode of human trafficking, eration by kidnapping and drugging, National Police spokesman Insp Gen Abubakar Nataprawira said here on Friday.   "In the past, human trafficking was carried out by flattery and offering the victims a job, but now the perpetrators get their victims by kidnapping and drugging," Abubakar Nataprawira said.   He made the statement commenting on human trafficking from Indonesia to Malaysia through border crossing point of Entikong, West Kalimantan.

Church slams daily human trafficking and authorities’ complicity

Mathias Hariyadi, AsiaNews, 09/19/2007

[accessed 13 February 2011]

Migrant women abducted by criminal gangs, drugged and then put to work in prostitution rings under false identities, often with complicity of corrupt local officials and police officers is but one typical aspect of human trafficking in Indonesia.

Indonesian Police Arrest 15 For Alleged Human Trafficking

Malaysian National News Agency, May 30, 2007

[accessed 21 November 2010]

Indonesian police have arrested 15 people for alleged trafficking of women and girls to Malaysia who eventually ended up in the flesh trade and at nightspots.  Its security and transnational crime vice-director, Bachtiar Hasanudin Tambunan, said the victims, mostly from West Java, were promised restaurant jobs with large salaries before finding themselves working in cafes, discotheques and brothels.

Human Trafficking Rate in Indonesia Still High

Ninin Damayanti, Tempo Interactive, Jakarta, 15 January, 2007

[accessed 13 February 2011]

The commitment of the Indonesian government in handling human trafficking is still considered to be low.  This can be seen from the amount of human trafficking victims that keep increasing every year.

Child trafficking on rise in Indonesia

Australian Associated Press AAP, Dec 4 2006

[accessed 12 July 2013]

Indonesian authorities are battling a growing trade in child trafficking, including a recent case where hundreds of babies were sold overseas, a report says.  The report, by the Indonesian Ministry of Women Empowerment, found that efforts to retrieve the children in baby trafficking cases were flawed.

The report said one woman was caught in South Jakarta last year after having sold 880 babies abroad. A further 25 babies were saved.

Disasters Increase Risk of Human Trafficking

Rofiqi Hasan, TEMPO Interactive, Denpasar, 08 November, 2006 | 18:10 WIB,20061108-87306,uk.html

[accessed 13 February 2011]

[accessed 29 April 2020]

The crimes are many forms: distribution of 880 babies from North Sumatra to Singapore by a foundation, for instance.  The babies, she explained, were re-sold when they arrived in Singapore.  If they were caught in action at sea, the babies were often thrown out of board so as to wipe the evidence.

US Official Urges Indonesia to Crack Down on Human Trafficking

Voice of America VOA News, November 4, 2006

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 6 September 2011]

[accessed 29 April 2020]

On Saturday, at a crisis center in Jakarta run by the International Organization for Migration, Miller met with dozens of Indonesians who were forced to work in neighboring Malaysia. He also spoke to reporters.  "They tell of agents here deceiving them, of employers over there working them 15, 18 hours a day, of being beaten, of having their stomachs stomped on. This is something we must all work together to stop," he said.

Miller says Indonesians are particularly vulnerable to human traffickers because of the country's poverty, widespread slavery rings, and lack of law enforcement due to corruption.

Bangka Belitung fertile ground for human trafficking

Antara News, Pangkalpinang, September 18, 2006

[accessed 12 July 2013]

Bangka Belitung province is a fertile ground for the operations of human trafficking syndicates as the world`s biggest tin producing region is also full of ecoomic activities facilitating their illegal practices, a local women rights protection activist said.  "People from different areas in Indonesia who fell victims of human trafficking were initially offered good jobs with good salaries but in the end they were forced into prostitution in pubs or red-light districts," woman rights` protection activist Radmidha Dawam said here Monday.

Govt still weak in protecting women from human trafficking

Antara News, 09/13/06

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 6 September 2011]

The Indonesian government is still weak in preparing and implementing laws against human trafficking which has been harming women, Executive Director of the Centre for Development of Female Resources (PPSW) Endang Sulfiana, said here Wednesday.

Human trafficking ring busted

Deutsche Presse-Agentur (German Press Agency) DPA, Jakarta, 17 August, 2006 -- DPA

[accessed 13 February 2011]

The victims, aged 14 to 17, were promised jobs in Jakarta as domestic workers, but were then flown to West Kalimantan province on the Indonesian side of Borneo and taken across the border into Malaysia, sometimes using false travel documents.

Microsoft Partners with Asian NGOs to Help in Fight Against Human Trafficking

Xinhua News Agency-PRNewswire, Singapore, June 16, 2006 – Source: Microsoft Corporation

[accessed 13 February 2011]

[accessed 29 April 2020]

Microsoft Corp. has awarded over $US 1 million through its Unlimited Potential grants to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) across six Asian countries. The latest round of grants will deliver IT training courses specifically for people in human-trafficking hot spots across the region - often women and children. Human trafficking has been described as "the emerging human rights issue of the 21st century" by the US State Department.

The Unlimited Potential grants to help combat human trafficking were distributed in Cambodia, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand and will deliver IT skills through training that enhance the employment prospects and economic conditions of people most vulnerable to, or already victimised by, human traffickers.

Sex Trafficking Growing in S.E. Asia

Fayen Wong, Reuters, Singapore, April 26, 2005

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 6 September 2011]

Girls from the villages of Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines are lured into cities or neighboring countries with promises of lucrative jobs as waitresses and domestic helpers, only to end up in massage parlors and karaoke bars.  Others are flown as far as Australia, Japan, South Africa and the United States to be kept as slaves in brothels -- beaten, drugged, starved or raped in the first days of their reclusion to intimidate and prepare them for clients, the experts say.

Indonesia moves to preempt child trafficking after tsunami as UNICEF issues exploitation warning

Bernard Hibbitts, Jurist Legal News and Research Services, January 04, 2005

[accessed 24 August 2014]

The government of Indonesia, concerned over reports of human trafficking in children in the wake of last week's tsunami disaster off the west coast of the country that killed over 100,000 and left other hundreds of thousands homeless, has now placed restrictions on the transport of youngsters out of the country and has brought special guards into refugee camps, directing local police commanders to be on watch against abduction or other exploitation of children.

Tsunami orphans available for the right price

Mathias Hariyadi,, 01/02/2005

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 6 September 2011]

Volunteers from the Muslim-based Justice and Prosperity Party (PKS) claim that "human lives" are being bought and sold in some of the refugee camps in North Sumatra's provincial capital of Medan.  Unidentified individuals have seemingly tried to buy tsunami-orphaned children or children whose parents are missing in order to resell them.

Confirmed Child Trafficking in Indonesia

George Nishiyama, Reuters, Jakarta, January 07, 2005

[accessed 13 February 2011]

[accessed 29 April 2020]

"An NGO has reported seven trafficking cases in Indonesia," Richard Danziger, head of IOM's counter-trafficking unit, told Reuters. He declined to name the agency.

US issues guidelines to prevent human trafficking in tsunami-hit Asia

Agence France-Presse AFP, Washington DC, Jan 5, 2005

[accessed 23 April 2012]

The US State Department said Wednesday it was issuing guidelines to officials and volunteers in tsunami-hit Asia to prevent human trafficking which has become a serious problem.  The move came amid reports that thousands of vulnerable children orphaned by the disaster face the risk of being picked up by gangs of unscrupulous human traffickers.  "I think that there are sufficient, credible reports for us to conclude that this is a real danger and that decisive action must be taken now to prevent abuse," State Department spokesman Adam Ereli told reporters.

Call for legal reforms to protect children in Indonesia

Indonesia report, ECPAT International

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 6 September 2011]

The report highlights concerns about inconsistencies and gaps in the law, especially with regard to the treatment and protection of children. For example, prostitution is one of the main forms of commercial sexual exploitation of children in Indonesia. But the law does not provide for children who are sexually exploited in the streets and brothels to be treated as victims of a crime. Instead, they are more likely to be treated as criminals. This is because the Criminal Code contains no provisions relating to commercial sexual transactions with a child even as it allows for punishment of children forced into street prostitution, either for offences against public order or as vagrants.  Meanwhile, people who pay for sex with a child and those who facilitate this action commonly escape punishment due to the lack of explicit laws targeting people who buy sex with children and weak enforcement of existing laws on pimping.

Report On Laws And Legal Procedures Concerning The Commercial Sexual Exploitation Of Children In Indonesia

ECPAT International in collaboration with Antarini Arna, Director, Yayasan Pemantau Hak Anak, and Mattias Bryneson, Legal Consultant, December 2004

[accessed 12 July 2013]

[accessed 10 February 2019]

This study finds that in Indonesia, general awareness and understanding of the grave nature of sexual crimes against children is low. Accordingly, Indonesian laws and legal procedures fail to protect children sufficiently from commercial sexual exploitation and are not in compliance with international standards, such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and other international instruments.

Indonesia's Shameful Export blog!, Jakarta, 09 June 2004

[accessed 13 February 2011]

It is not something any government likes to make public, but the figures say it all: Indonesia is one of the world's largest exporters of sex workers, mainly children.  The UNICEF says as many as 70,000 Indonesian children have been sold across the country's borders as sex commodities. They are employed in countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore.  Similarly, nearly half of the 400,000 estimated sex workers in Indonesia are children under 18 years old.

UNICEF Urges Action On Child Trafficking

ECPAT International, Online Newsdesk, 31 March 2004

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 6 September 2011]

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has called on Indonesia to follow Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines in taking strong measures to combat child trafficking for sexual exploitation.

Help Wanted: Abuses against Female Migrant Domestic Workers in Indonesia and Malaysia

Human Rights Watch Report, Vol. 16, No 9(C), July 2004

[accessed 13 February 2011]

I. SUMMARY - The agent came to my house and promised me a job in a house in Malaysia… He promised to send me to Malaysia in one month, but [kept me locked in] the labor recruiter’s office for six months….   I think one or two hundred people were there.  The gate was locked.  I wanted to go back home.  There were two or four guards, they carried big sticks.  They would just yell.  They would sexually harass the women. — Interview with Fatma Haryono, age thirty, returned domestic worker, Lombok, Indonesia, January 24, 2004

I worked for five people, the children were grown up.  I cleaned the house, the kitchen, washed the floor, ironed, vacuumed, and cleaned the car.  I worked from 5:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. every day.  I never had a break; I was just stealing time to get a break.  I was paid just one time, 200 ringgit [U.S.$52.63].  I just ate bread, there was no rice [for me].  I was hungry.  I slept in the kitchen on a mat.  I was not allowed outside of the house. ─ Interview with Nyatun Wulandari, age twenty-three, returned domestic worker, Lombok, Indonesia, January 25, 2004.

In Indonesia, prospective migrant workers secure employment in Malaysia through both licensed and unlicensed labor agents who often extort money, falsify travel documents, and mislead women and girls about their work arrangements.  In both Indonesian training centers and in Malaysian workplaces, women migrant domestic workers often suffer severe restrictions on their freedom of movement; psychological and physical abuse, including sexual abuse; and prohibitions on practicing their religion.  Pervasive labor rights abuses in the workplace include extremely long hours of work without overtime pay, no rest days, and incomplete and irregular payment of wages.  In some cases, deceived about the conditions and type of work, confined at the workplace, and receiving no salary at all, women are caught in situations of trafficking and forced labor

INDONESIA: Indonesian military, police accused of human trafficking

Asia Pacific, ABC Radio Australia, 2/08/2004

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 6 September 2011]

There are claims that the Indonesian military and police have been extorting bribes from Acehnese asylum seekers and selling them into slavery. The claims have been backed by refugee advocates working closely with the UN refugee agency in Malaysia, where thousands of Acehnese are facing expulsion under a government crackdown on illegal workers.

Fighting sexual exploitation and trafficking in Indonesia

UNICEF, At a Glance: Indonesia, 15 December 2004

[accessed 13 February 2011]

[accessed 29 April 2020]

Yani was 15 when her boyfriend lured her away from home with false promises of a lucrative job and a chance to continue her education. After a long journey by car to an unknown destination, she was raped by a middle-aged Indonesian man who beat her unconscious after she refused his advances. She was immediately sold to a brothel where she was guarded day and night.

RI to continue with battle against people trafficking

Moch. N. Kurniawan, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta, 13 June 2003

[accessed 30 August 2012]

An estimated 230,000 Indonesian women and children have been trafficked from their home villages in Java, Sumatra, West Nusa Tenggara and Sulawesi to be employed as sex workers and cheap labor in urban areas at home and the sex trade overseas.  The government has recently brought home more than 300 women who were employed as sex workers in Saudi Arabia and Malaysia.

Forced labour and exploitation of Indonesian migrant workers

Anti-Slavery International, the Indonesian Migrant Workers' Union and the Asian Migrant Centre

-- Submission to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Geneva 16 - 20 June 2003

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 6 September 2011]

Since the early 1980s, poverty, high unemployment and lack of educational opportunities have been driving Indonesian migrants abroad in search of work, and by the late 1990s, they were among the fastest-growing migrant population in Asia. By mid-2001, over 70 per cent of Indonesian migrants were women, and 43 per cent worked in the informal employment sector as domestic workers, factory workers or construction workers. 1 Most of these workers, considered low-status or "unskilled," must endure highly-exploitative or abusive treatment, and many work in conditions which meet the International Labour Organization's (ILO) definition of forced labour as set out in Convention No.29.

Slavery continues to plague Indonesian migrant workers

Allan Chernoff, Jakarta Post, December 26, 2003

[accessed 12 July 2013]

How tragic and terrible has been the violence against a great number of Indonesian women employed overseas this year! Not only were they harassed, physically abused or even raped but were also sent home without proper payment or traded from one employer to another.

Many women workers who had just arrived home from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Malaysia and Singapore said how they were insulted and beaten if they made mistakes in performing their daily tasks, how they had to work overtime without extra pay, how they were sexually harassed or raped by their male employers or their relatives and how they were physically attacked by their female employers    after they had been forced to have sex with their male employers.

Behind "the success story" of most migrant workers, many have to endure brutality and undergo a form of slavery to gain 600 riyal per month in Saudi Arabia, or 300 ringgit in Malaysia.

ILO Cites Child Labour, Forced Prostitution in Indonesia

Asia Child Rights ACR Weekly Newsletter Vol.2, No.29, 16 July 2003

[accessed 13 February 2011]

Children as young as 13 are involved in the drug trade in Jakarta, according to a survey of the five worst forms of child labour in Indonesia released today by the International Labour Organization. Reporting on various parts of Indonesia, the ILO cited trafficking of children for prostitution on Java and child labour in offshore fishing in North Sumatra, gold mining in East Kalimantan and the shoe industry in West Java. According to the survey, children in the country enter the commercial sex market at between 15 and 17 years of age, sometimes with the support of parents and other relatives. Although the survey does not contain figures, an ILO report released last month reportedly indicated that more than 10,000 children under 18 years of age are prostitutes in five major cities in Indonesia. Children who work in the shoe industry in West Java are often exposed to hazardous substances such as glue and leather dust and usually "work long hours in cramped, dusty workshops," the ILO said. Other children work long hours in dangerous conditions in offshore fishing and in gold mines, where they are "exposed to multiple hazards, such as cave-ins, (becoming) trapped in underground mines, exposure to dust and chemicals," reads the survey.

Women Rescued from Sex Ring

Muguntun Vanar, “13 Indons rescued from forced prostitution," The Star, 1 February 2003

[accessed 13 February 2011]

WOMEN RESCUED FROM SEX RING - Malaysian police and the staff of the Indonesian consulate have rescued 13 Indonesian women allegedly forced into the sex trade in the interior Keningau district. The rescue came a week after two of them escaped from the hotel.  The women, aged between 14 and 24, were sent back to Indonesia through Tawau.  The Keningau police are reportedly questioning the alleged pimp and three of his assistants.

Trafficking of Women and Children in Indonesia

American Center for International Labor Solidarity (Solidarity Center), Ruth Rosenberg, Editor, 2003

[accessed 13 February 2011]

[accessed 31 January 2018]

This 300-page report was published as part of a joint Solidarity Center/ International Catholic Migration Committee countertrafficking campaign in Indonesia, where hundreds of thousands of young girls are lured away from their homes each year under false pretenses, sold into bondage, physically and sexually abused, sent out into the streets as beggars, or worse.

Indonesia’s President Wahid joins ILO Battle Against Child Labour

International Labour Organisation (ILO) News, Bangkok & Jakarta, 8 March 2000

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 6 September 2011]

Indonesia becomes first Asian country to ratify the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention and the first to ratify all eight core labour standards.

The Stolen Children Of Timor

Lindsay Murdoch, Sydney Morning Herald, October 25, 2000

[accessed 24 August 2014]


Investigators believe the children - aged between 6 and 17 - are among up to 1,000 separated from their parents at the height of violence in East Timor last year and later from refugee camps in West Timor. Investigators fear many of the children have been forced to work in factory sweatshops, plantations or as prostitutes.


Lindsay Murdoch, Sydney Morning Herald, March 5, 2012

[accessed 31 January 2018]

''Those who took children acted out of mixed and varied motivations, ranging from genuine compassion and good intentions to the less benevolent manipulation and use of vulnerable children for economic, political and ideological ends,'' Dr Van Klinken says. While white Australian officials removed Aboriginal children from their families last century with the stated claim of educating them, she says, the Indonesians removed many Timorese children because they did not have children of their own or to work for their families.

''They also wanted to adopt the children of the resistance as a way to punish, weaken and humiliate the enemy,'' Dr Van Klinken says in a new book, Making them Indonesians, published by Monash University Publishing.

Child Labour on Indonesian Fishing Platforms

The Indonesian NGO, KKSP Foundation and Anti-Slavery International -- Submission to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, 25th Session, Geneva, 14-23 June 2000

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 6 September 2011]

The Indonesian NGO, KKSP Foundation and Anti-Slavery International have long been concerned about the use of children on hundreds of rickety fishing platforms, known locally as jermals, in the seas off the northeast coast of Sumatra. Apart from a supply boat that comes every two weeks, there is no contact with the shore. Each jermal is likely to have three or four children on it who haul in and mend the nets as well as boil, dry and sort the fish. The children stay for a minimum of three months and are not free to leave. In this time the children obviously cannot see their families or go to school.

Children can fall or be carried off by large waves during storms and there are no life jackets on the platforms. The children suffer from fatigue because of the very long hours they work and interrupted sleep patterns. In such a state it is easy to lose concentration and fall from the platform or let a hand slip from the winch.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 30 January 2004

[accessed 13 February 2011]

[51] The Committee is concerned that the current adoption legislation discriminates between groups of different ethnic origins, does not provide sufficient safeguards against abusive practices, including trafficking of children, and does not take sufficiently into account the principle of the best interest of the child.

[87] The Committee welcomes the endorsement by the State party of relevant international and regional agreements such as the Regional Commitment and Action Plan of the East Asia and Pacific Region against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children of 2001 and the Yokohama Global Commitment of 2001.  The Committee further welcomes the launching of the National Plans of Action for the Elimination of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and on the Elimination of Trafficking in Women and Children in 2002.

[88] The Committee is nonetheless concerned at the lack of awareness in the State party on this phenomenon, at the insufficient legal protection for victims of trafficking, and that few measures have been taken to prevent and protect children from sale, trafficking and abduction.

Human Rights Overview

Human Rights Watch

[accessed 13 February 2011]


Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 9 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – The Singkawang District of West Kalimantan remained well known as an area from which poor, ethnic Chinese women and teenage girls between the ages of 14 and 20 were recruited as "mail order" brides for men, primarily in Taiwan but also in Hong Kong and Singapore. In some cases the women were trafficked for sex work and slave-like servitude.

In many cases traffickers recruited girls and women under false pretenses. One tactic was to offer young women in rural areas jobs as waitresses or hotel employees in distant regions, including island resorts. After the new recruits arrived and incurred debts to their recruiters, they learned that they had been hired as prostitutes. In October Jakarta police arrested 2 persons for duping at least 51 women with offers to work in Japan as "cultural performers." Once in Japan, the women were exploited as prostitutes. At year's end the two suspects remained in custody awaiting trial.

Many victims became vulnerable to trafficking during the process of becoming migrant workers. Many unauthorized recruiting agents operated throughout the country and were involved in trafficking to various degrees, and some government-licensed recruiting agents also were implicated in trafficking. Recruiting agents often charged exorbitant fees leading to debt bondage and recruited persons to work illegally overseas, which increased the workers' vulnerability to trafficking and other abuses

The Department of Labor’s 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

[accessed 13 February 2011]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - Indonesia is a source, transit and destination country for a significant number of international and internal trafficking victims, including children.  Children are also engaged in the production, trafficking, and/or sale of drugs.  In addition, paramilitary groups and civilian militias, such as The Free Aceh Movement, have recruited children to serve as child soldiers.

The December 26 tsunami left thousands of children in Indonesia orphaned or separated from their families and without access to schooling, increasing their vulnerability to trafficking and other forms of labor exploitation.  However, the impact of the disaster on children's involvement in exploitive child labor has yet to be determined.

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