The ones apprehended by the Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force are the scalpers, right hands, and the (members of the) illegal placement syndicates themselves
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Human trafficking syndicates are trying to thwart the activities of the Task Force for the Eradication and Prevention of Human Trafficking (TPPO) by spreading misleading reports and rumors, the Migrant Workers' Protection Agency (BP2MI) has said.

Those syndicates are attempting to mislead the public by using the media to try and make it seem like the task force is arresting migrant workers, BP2MI Head Benny Rhamdani said.

"This must be cleared. The ones apprehended by the Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force are the scalpers, right hands, and the (members of the) illegal placement syndicates themselves," he informed at a press conference on the task force's work performance in the past month

The press conference was held at the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs' office on Tuesday.

Rhamdani said that spreading misinformation is one of the syndicates' moves to weaken the task force in carrying out its duty of eradicating human trafficking networks.

"(Misleading framing) must be an order. This must be an order from the illegal placement syndicates," Rhamdani stressed.

He also clarified some misleading rumors that are often spread by the syndicates, for instance, rumors saying that the law enforcement measures undertaken by the task force through the police force often hinder migrant workers' placements.

"This is also wrong. I will give the data," he stressed.

In 2020, at the beginning of COVID-19, the number of migrant workers sent overseas was 113,436. In 2021, the COVID-19 situation at that time was really bad, and only 72,624 migrant workers were sent overseas, he said.

"In 2022, post COVID-19 situation became better, there was a positive trend, the placement was at 200,761 people who went overseas. In 2023, January 1 to July 4, as of today, one semester of placement is capped at 137,038 migrant workers," he informed.

He said that there has been a positive increase in the number of migrant workers sent overseas from year to year since the pandemic struck to the current time.

"We can predict that at the end of the year, the placement can exceed 270 thousand. If it exceeds 270 thousand, it means that our placement rate has returned to normal because on average, each year, Indonesia (sent) 270 thousand migrant workers prior to the pandemic," he elaborated.

He stressed that the rumors spread by syndicates about the task force are wrong.

From June 5 to July 3, the task force, led by National Police Chief General Listyo Sigit Prabowo managed to rescue 1,943 human trafficking victims and named 698 people as suspects.

Of the victims, 65.5 percent were migrant workers, 26.5 percent were sex workers, 6.6 percent were exploited children, and 1.4 percent were ship crew.

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Translator: Genta Tenri M, Mecca Yumna
Editor: Sri Haryati
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