Human Trafficking is a Reality, and is Closely Tied to Poverty and Development
By admin November 14, 2016

Tags: , ,



Even if it is something difficult to imagine, human trafficking is still a reality in 2016. According to a 2014 report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), some 70 per cent of victims in the global trafficking trade are women (49 per cent) and girls (21 per cent). Apart from forced labor, women are also sexually exploited. The UNODC report notes that 53 per cent  of trafficked women were forced into the sex trade, 40 per cent  were forced laborers, and 7 per cent  had organs removed for trade or were put to other uses.

Human trafficking is deeply connected with poverty and development. The example of Indonesia clearly demonstrates its prevalence: the country is one of the major source country for trafficking in women and children, both across and within its borders. And according to the World Bank, more than 10 per cent of Indonesians lived below the poverty line in 2014. The country also has a high rate of unemployment (5.5 per cent in February 2016, which is about 7.02 million people), making it easy for traffickers to recruit victims.

What makes matters worse is that these workers are often younger than 18. A report shows that around 30 per cent of sex workers in Indonesia are mostly young women and children which are promised positions as cultural ambassadors or traditional dancers in countries such as Japan, Malaysia and Singapore. They are also victims of sex tourism, which is increasing across the country, such as in Bali and Lombok, which cater to both local and foreign tourists.

However, action has been taken to curb this trend. In 2007 Indonesia enacted a law criminalizing all kinds of human trafficking at home and overseas. In the same year, the Australia government partnered with intergovernmental organizations to help the Indonesian government’s efforts by providing financial investigation and legal reviews in human trafficking cases.

Moreover, Indonesia is working with UNICEF to address the issue of trafficking and sexual exploitation of children. It adopted a Child Protection Law in 2002 to protect minors from abuse, violence, exploitation and discrimination. Indonesia, along with the member countries also signed  Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women and the Elimination of Violence against Children in ASEAN in 2004, and the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration in 2012.

However, despite these policies and agreements, Indonesia is still seeing an increase in the number of people being trafficked. Data from the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs showed a growth of human trafficking from 188 cases in 2013 to 548 cases in 2015. Most were women and children.

This is happening for a specific reason: even if there are regional agreements in place to combat trafficking, there are no strict regulations in the regional framework to adopt at the domestic level. To date, only Singapore, Cambodia and Thailand have ratified the ASEAN Convention on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, which actually imposes States to define human trafficking as an international crime.

Indonesia declared in September 2016 that it was still in the process of harmonizing the Convention with its national laws, but there’s been no word on when the process can be expected to be completed. A stronger effort should be made by Indonesia in fighting human trafficking and in refocusing economic development to address unemployment, to put an end to a phenomenon which destroys the lives of many children and young women across the world.

For more information:

Indonesia is paying lip service to stopping human trafficking – it’s time to do more

UNODC, Global Report on Trafficking in Person 2014

A Human Rights Report on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children

World Bank Data on Indonesia

Child Protection Law in 2002

Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women and the Elimination of Violence against Children in ASEAN

ASEAN Human Rights Declaration in 2012

ASEAN Convention on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children

RI to ratify anti-trafficking pact soon

Thanks for sharing !

Comments are disabled.