Academic journal article Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice

Exploitation of Indonesian Trafficked Men, Women and Children and Implications for Support

Academic journal article Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice

Exploitation of Indonesian Trafficked Men, Women and Children and Implications for Support

Article excerpt

The diverse, evolving and often transnational nature of people trafficking means that trafficked men, women and children can have very different experiences of exploitation and needs for support. That trafficked persons experience a range of exploitative situations across a range of industries (IOM 2007; OWWA-ILO 2009) raises issues about how victim services should respond. There is currently a range of anti-trafficking assistance and support measures available to trafficked persons, although availability differs across regions and countries. These are based around an assessment of health consequences, safety and security, identification, economic consequences, social consequences, legal issues, gender/ sex, type of exploitation, and return and reintegration.

In this paper, the nature of the assistance that should be provided to trafficked persons is considered through an assessment of the exploitation and abuse of Indonesian victims of trafficking collected by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Indonesia CounterTrafficking Module (CTM). Prior research, academic literature and a variety of victim support materials are used to examine the different support needs of men, women and children trafficked for both sexual and labour exploitation.

Brief consideration is given to the situation of trafficked persons who reject or choose not to seek support, the reasons behind these decisions and their consequences, particularly the distinctive situation of men.

Experiences of trafficking among Indonesian men, women and children

Southeast Asia is known to be a significant source of trafficked persons. This paper draws on data collected by IOM Indonesia in its CTM regarding the experiences of 210 men, 2,604 women and 887 child victims of trafficking (see Box 1). Analysis of this dataset revealed that a large proportion of domestically and transnational^ trafficked Indonesians reported having been subjected to exploitative conditions, including sexual and labour exploitation in both sex and non-sex labour contexts. During their exploitation, victims experienced a range of abuses, such as psychological abuse (77%; n=2,766), physical abuse (48%; n=1 ,763), sexual abuse (including rape- all references to sexual abuse within this paper include incidents involving rape- 30%; n=1 ,108), deprivation of supply of food and water (53%; n=1 ,970), ideological pressure (35%; 1 ,294), forced consumption of alcohol (7%; n=262) and forced consumption of drugs (5%; n=196). Further, 96 percent (n=3,343) of women and 90 percent (n=323) of men reported having been subject to one or more forms of abuse when trafficked.

Exploitation in non-sex labour industries

The vast majority of trafficked persons were exploited for labour outside of the sex industry (84%; n=3,108)-of whom 11.5% were males and 88.5% were females.


All trafficked males in the dataset were exploited for labour in non-sex sectors, most commonly as plantation, factory and construction workers. A large proportion of workers exploited in these sectors experienced psychological abuse and were deprived of food and water. Factory workers were more likely to report psychological abuse (76%) than plantation (67%) or construction workers (60%). They were also more likely to be forced to consume drugs (9% cf 1 % for plantation workers and 4% for construction workers), which is most likely a result of offenders seeking to make individuals work longer and harder.

A larger proportion of plantation workers were exposed to ideological pressure (42%) compared with construction workers (21 %) or factory workers (5%).


Women were most likely to be trafficked for the purpose of domestic service (62%; n=2,075) and reported high levels of a range of abuses, including being subjected to the highest level of psychological (85%) and physical abuse (60%). They were also more likely to report being deprived of food or water (62%) and suffering ideological pressure (41%). …

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