Academic journal article Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice

Experiences of Trafficked Persons: An Indonesian Sample

Academic journal article Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice

Experiences of Trafficked Persons: An Indonesian Sample

Article excerpt

Much has been written about the paucity of data on trafficking in persons, including barriers to collecting information and the lack of reliable and standardised collection methodologies. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has sought to address this through the development of the Counter Trafficking Module (CTM) Database. In 1999, IOM developed and implemented the CTM, which is the largest global database of its kind, containing primary data on victims of trafficking. The CTM facilitates the management of lOM's direct assistance work, specifically the Return, Recovery and Reintegration Program. In doing so, it maps the trafficking experience of victims and contains a wealth of information regarding the characteristics and histories of trafficked persons, the nature of the trafficking process (including recruitment and transportation methods), patterns of exploitation and abuse, instances of re-trafficking and the nature of assistance provided by IOM. As such, it strengthens the research capacity and knowledge about the causes, processes, trends and consequences of trafficking.

At a global level, IOM has provided assistance to more than 20,000 trafficked persons from over 85 different nationalities trafficked to more than 100 destination countries. Given that the majority of persons trafficked into Australia are known to originate from southeast Asia, examining trafficking patterns in this region will provide valuable insight for more targeted government responses. To this end, the Australian Institute of Criminology has worked collaboratively with IOM Indonesia to analyse the CTM Indonesia database. This is the first of four papers arising from that analysis.

In this paper, the literature regarding trafficking trends and processes in southeast Asia is examined (with a focus on Indonesia) and compares this with an analysis of the IOM Indonesia CTM database. Other papers in the series will examine the support needs of trafficked persons, barriers to involvement in criminal justice proceedings and the experiences of Indonesians trafficked for domestic service, who make up a large proportion of victims in the CTM Indonesia database.

The Indonesian sample

The IOM Indonesia CTM database holds qualitative and quantitative information relating to 3,701 trafficked Indonesians (1 person was Cambodian by nationality) identified between January 2005 and January 2010. Among this group, Javanese was the most common ethnicity (35%; n=1,300), followed by Sundanese (19%; n=716). The overwhelming majority of trafficked persons were female (90%; n=3,343).

Most trafficked persons were aged 1 8 to 24 years (34%; n=1 ,256), followed by those aged 25 to 34 years (26%; n=977). Almost one in four were children aged less than 18years(24%;n=887).

Half (50%; n=1 ,863) of the sample identified their marital status as single, followed by those who were married (28%; n=1 ,053). The largest proportion (39%; n=1,445) identified elementary schooling as their highest level of education. Prior to having been trafficked, most (30%; n=1 ,093) had been employed as domestic workers and the overwhelming majority nominated economic problems/job seeking as their primary reason for leaving their home village (88%; n=3,263). Selected demographic characteristics are presented in Table 1 .

Migration, labour exploitation and trafficking in southeast Asia

There is significant migration within and out of the southeast Asian region that is influenced by a range of factors, but a specific motivator is the desire for better work (and life) opportunities (Joudo Larsen 2010). Migrants are known to travel via both regular and irregular pathways (Joudo Larsen, U'ndley & Putt 2009; UNODC 2009). Where migration is via irregular means, migrants may be particularly vulnerable to exploitative labour due to their illegal work status in the destination country. Such exploitative labour is not necessarily people trafficking (see definition in Box 1), where trafficking exists at the extreme end of a spectrum of exploitative labour practices. …

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