The House of Representatives has passed a long-awaited bill on human trafficking carrying a maximum 15-year jail sentence and/or a maximum fine of Rp 5 billion for involvement in the human trade.
The bill requires traffickers to pay compensation for victims' material and immaterial losses suffer. All 10 factions at the legislature registered their full support for the bill in a plenary session presided over by House Deputy Speaker Muhaimin Iskandar. Legislators emphasized that the bill criminalized all kinds of human trafficking at home and overseas. The bill stipulates ordinary people, public officials, corporations and syndicates that recruit and transfer people by force, abduction or deceit in order to exploit them face three to 15 years imprisonment and/or fines of Rp 120 million to Rp 600 million.
It also threatens similar sanctions on anyone bringing foreigners here for exploitation or adopting children for a similar purpose. The bill raises the punishment by one-third for crimes that cause victims severe injuries, death, pregnancy or loss of their reproductive functions. In cases of the victim's death, the fine ranges from Rp 200 million to Rp 5 billion. Latifah Iskandar, chairwoman of the House special committee that prepared the bill, said it would protect millions of women and children from abuse.
"With the bill's endorsement, we are sending a very important message to those involved in human trafficking to halt the exploitation of vulnerable groups such as women, children and the poor," she said after the plenary session. Latifah, a legislator from the National Mandate Party (PAN), called on the nation to crack down on all forms of trafficking.
"Law enforcers must be consistent in eliminating these rife practices which are inherently forms of human exploitation," she said. "With such an emphasis, there will no more excuses and reasons for agents involved in the human trade to hide behind official licenses to employ migrant workers overseas or send cultural delegations overseas, marriages of couples of different citizenships and adoption of children."
The labor export program has frequently been manipulated by unauthorized labor exporters to traffic women and children as sexual workers in other countries. "The government-sponsored labor export program, which sends around 450,000 migrant workers annually, is quite prone to human trafficking," said Latifah.
The country's largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama, recently found that loan sharks in East Java were forcing people to work under unfair conditions to pay off their families' debts. Minister for Women's Empowerment Meutia Hatta hailed the bill, saying it gave legal protection to victims. "Besides threatening harsh sanctions, the bill requires anyone, corporations, public officials and syndicates involved in human trafficking, to pay compensation for material and immaterial losses suffered by victims," she said.
Adapted from: Ridwan Max Sijabat. "Legislature Approves Harsh Bill to Combat Human Trafficking." The Jakarta Post. (Source: Migrant Care email@example.com)
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