Batam, Riau Islands (ANTARA) - Fifty percent of human trafficking cases recorded in Indonesia in the period from 2017 to 2022 involved child victims, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Mahfud MD has informed.

"During 2017 to 2022, there were 2,605 cases of human trafficking in Indonesia. Of these, 50.97 percent involved children and 46.14 percent involved women as victims," he said during a discussion on the war against illegal migrant workers syndicates here on Thursday.

The number of cases is increasing every year due to the development of the modus operandi of traffickers, especially concerning their use of social media to lure victims, he added.

Mahfud stressed that syndicates involved in the illegal placement of migrant workers have a clear pattern in their operation, hence law enforcement officials should build a comprehensive understanding of the handling of illegal worker placements.

“(They must track) Who sends (the workers), who receives them, who handles the immigration, who is the immigration officer. They make a list of it, paid some money," the minister elaborated.

Indonesia has issued Law Number 5 of 2009 on the Ratification of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and Law Number 12 of 2017 on the Ratification of the ASEAN Convention against Trafficking in Persons.

However, Mahfud said, he has yet to see a strong commitment and unified movement involving the government and the people for eradicating human trafficking.

The Indonesian Police's Criminal Investigation Division (Bareskrim) recorded 184 human trafficking cases in 2018, 191 cases in 2019, 383 cases in 2020, 624 cases in 2021, and 528 cases in 2022.

At least 85 percent of the cases were detected in border areas, mostly in North Sumatra, Riau Islands, and North Kalimantan.

Border areas are prone to smuggling of Indonesian migrant workers, the minister noted.

"There are rat routes, too. But during the discussion yesterday, I found out that many of them used formal routes and no one has given a yellow light (warning)," he said.

In Riau Islands alone, based on data for the period from 2021 to 2023, there have been 62 cases of people smuggling involving 118 suspects and 546 victims.

The high number of smuggling cases at the border is due to the lack of public awareness on safe migration and the lack of officers who can safeguard the area, he said.

There are also officers and some residents who are helping smuggle Indonesian migrant workers, Mahfud noted.

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Translator: Ilham Yude Pratama, Sri Haryati
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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