The number of human trafficking cases is skyrocketing in Indonesia, with incidences increasing from 188 in 2013 to 548 cases in 2015. However, Indonesian police are making some significant breakthroughs. Recently, Indonesian authorities busted a human trafficking syndicate.
The North Sumatra Police foiled two separate attempts by trafficking groups to smuggle 67 workers from the province into neighboring Malaysia. The most recent case was cracked on May 3 in Sei Pasir village in the Asahan regency. The other case was closed a month prior in the Bagan Asahan village, also in the Asahan regency.
According to the North Sumatra Police Chief Inspector General Rycko Amelza Dahniel, the police force’s crime investigation unit arrested 16 perpetrators believed to be part of the syndicate.
Apparently, the victims of the smugglers were tricked in a con scheme. What they presumed to be a prosperous job opportunity in Malaysia soon turned into a living nightmare. According to Dahniel, the unwitting victims paid 1 million to 3 million rupees (about $75 USD) for “transportation” to employers in Malaysia.
Authorities have since found that the alleged human traffickers included local brokers and recruiters. Their operations have purportedly been going on for an indefinite period of time throughout most of Sumatra and Java.
If found guilty, these human traffickers face a potential 15 years of imprisonment and fines of up to 600 million rupees, according to the 2007 Human Trafficking Law.
The head of North Sumatra Police’s General Crime Investigation Division, Senior Commander Nurfalah, informed the press that these cases were in operation for a decade before the police force could finally lock down on the smugglers.
About 19 of the victims of both smuggling operations have been handed over to the region’s Social Affairs Agency to receive therapeutic treatment. Forty-two victims have been reunited with their families and six victims remain in police custody and are undergoing questioning.
Due to the overwhelming human trafficking activity and shortage of manpower and government resources, Indonesia’s garrison of law enforcers is notorious for being two steps behind the perpetrators.
While human trafficking is still a prevalent issue that plagues much of Indonesia, these cases are major breakthroughs and a sign of hope.
With the statistics still in the redzone, Indonesia’s government agencies, specifically the Foreign Ministry, the Law and Human Rights Ministry, the National Police, the Attorney General’s Office,
the Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry, the Social Affairs Ministry, and the Agency for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers are joining forces to fight, stop, and prevent human trafficking and prostitution throughout the country.
Through their combined efforts of victim identification, data exchange, trafficking prevention education and legislation, and rehabilitation programs for victims, these government agencies hope to reduce and eventually eradicate the black market business from the country.
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