Beginning in 2014, four human trafficking networks exploited over 1,200 Indonesians to work in Morocco and the Middle East.
Rabat – Police in Indonesia have uncovered four human trafficking networks that sent over 1,200 Indonesians to work in Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Syria. The network promised the majority of the victims jobs with salaries, but upon arrival to the countries the victims were abused and forced to work without pay.
Indonesia arrested eight suspects in connection to the case. The recent discovery is Indonesia’s largest human trafficking bust.
Among the networks, one trafficked Indonesians from West Nusa Tenggara, a province in the south of Indonesia, and Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, to Morocco. Police arrested two suspects, Mutiara and Farhan, linked to the network between Indonesia and Morocco. The traffickers took the victims from Sumbawa in West Nusa Tenggara to Jakarta and then sent them to Malaysia via Batam. From Malaysia they sent the victims to Morocco.
“These migrant Indonesian workers realized that they had been duped after they were forced to suffer many abuses including violence, rape and unpaid salaries. They ran away and reported their cases to the embassies or consulate general offices,” said the Indonesian criminal investigation director general, Herry Rudolf Nahak.
Indonesian police will charge the eight suspects who orchestrated the trafficking networks under Articles 4 and 10 of Indonesian human trafficking law, which carry a maximum punishment of 15 years in prison.
State of human trafficking in Indonesia
According to the US State Department’s 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report, Indonesia is a “major source … for women, men, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking.”
Beginning in 2015, Indonesia prohibited women from going to 21 Middle Eastern countries after a series of abuse cases. However, due to high demand from Middle Eastern countries, traffickers have discovered ways to avoid the law.
“The government has tried to address this issue, but the latest arrests show a lot more needs to be done and it is still a major problem,” said Anis Hidayah from the non-profit Migrant Care, which campaigns for migrant domestic workers.
Human trafficking in Morocco
According to the 2016 Global Slavery Index, 45.8 million people worldwide are victims of slavery. Morocco ranked at number 18 out of the 167 listed countries with the most cases of modern slavery, including human -trafficking.
The U.S. State Department’s t2018 Trafficking in Persons Rreport, says that Morocco “does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.”
The same report cites “criminal networks operating in Oujda on the Algerian border and in the northern coastal town of Nador” asto be some of the regions where traffickers “force undocumented migrant women into prostitution and begging.”