Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian government handled 44,521 cases related to the protection of Indonesian citizens abroad in 2023, according to Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi.

The cases included the evacuation of 1,119 Indonesians from several dangerous and conflict-ridden areas, including the evacuation of eight Indonesian nationals from Gaza, she informed at a press conference here on Thursday.

"Currently, there are two Indonesians who have chosen to stay in Gaza," she said.

She added that a sharp increase in technology- and online scam-based human trafficking was recorded in 2023.

In early 2023, Marsudi visited Cambodia and met with the Cambodian foreign affairs minister and police chief to explore cooperation for the eradication of online scams in the country.

"Alhamdullilah (thank God), there were so many of our brothers and sisters that were able to be saved," she said.

As per the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' records, Indonesia succeeded in repatriating more than 1,100 citizens who fell victim to human trafficking and were employed by online scam companies in Cambodia.

Marsudi said that challenges related to victims of human trafficking will continue to exist, and the Indonesian government is paying great attention to providing protection to Indonesians who fall victim to human trafficking in various countries.

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Human trafficking eradication is also one of the priorities of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

At the 42nd ASEAN Summit in Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, in May 2023, ASEAN leaders made a declaration on the eradication of human trafficking caused by technology misuse. The declaration has become a reference for the handling of human trafficking in Southeast Asia.

The declaration states that ASEAN will strengthen cooperation and coordination in handling human trafficking through joint training and information exchange.

ASEAN will also strengthen cooperation in the fields of border management, prevention, investigation, law enforcement and prosecution, protection, and repatriation, as well as support such as rehabilitation and reintegration of victims.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs recorded a significant increase in human trafficking cases from 361 cases in 2021 to 752 cases in 2022.

In addition, the destination countries where many cases of human trafficking related to online scams were detected were found to have become more varied. They included Myanmar, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand.

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Translator: Shofi Ayudiana, Raka Adji
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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