Indonesia arrests eight in major human trafficking bust

Suspects face the wall during a press conference by Indonesian officials in Jakarta, on April 9, 2019, about trafficking-related of fences. (AFP)
Updated 09 April 2019

Indonesia arrests eight in major human trafficking bust

  • Police said they had uncovered four syndicates that trafficked victims to Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey
  • When the victims arrived, their wages were withheld and some were sexually abused

KUALA LUMPUR: Indonesia has arrested eight suspects in what police on Tuesday called the country’s biggest ever human trafficking bust, involving 1,200 victims taken abroad as domestic workers.
Police said they had uncovered four syndicates that trafficked victims to Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey with the promise of high-paying jobs since 2014.
When the victims arrived, their wages were withheld and some were sexually abused.
“This is the biggest case that the national police have uncovered because it involved more than 1,000 victims,” national police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said on an official Twitter account.
He did not say whether the victims were male or female, but most of the Indonesians who go abroad to do domestic work are women.
The suspects were arrested in March, according to local media, and are expected to be charged under anti-trafficking laws that carry a jail term of up to 15 years.
Hundreds of thousands of Indonesian women go to Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan every year for domestic work, despite reports of widespread abuses and near slave-like living conditions.
Since 2015, Indonesia has banned women from going to 21 Middle Eastern countries following a series of abuse cases, but high demand for maids has encouraged traffickers to find ways around the curbs.
Labour rights campaigners lauded the announcement on Tuesday but said it showed human trafficking remained widespread in the country of 260 million people.
“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.
“We hope the arrests will serve as a deterrent,” the executive director told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from Jakarta.


Afghan security forces fail to reach ‘Taliban-mined’ site of US military plane crash

Updated 28 January 2020

Afghan security forces fail to reach ‘Taliban-mined’ site of US military plane crash

  • Probe launched into cause of Monday’s incident as Taliban claim responsibility for shooting down jet

KABUL: Afghan security forces have so far been unable to reach the crash site of a US military aircraft which went down during a mission on Monday in a Taliban-controlled area of the country.
An investigation is underway to determine what caused the Bombardier E-11A plane to crash in the Deh Yak district of Ghazni province, about 120 km southwest of Kabul, although the Taliban have claimed responsibility for shooting it down.

“The Taliban have mined the area, and security forces could not make it to the site to retrieve the bodies and recover the aircraft last evening. The Taliban had laid an ambush as security forces tried to reach the site,” Nasir Ahmad Faqiri, head of Ghazni’s provincial council, told Arab News.
He added that other US aircraft had attempted to land in the area overnight but were forced back due to bad weather.
Aref Noori, a spokesman for Ghanzi’s governor, said: “Afghan and foreign forces are preparing a joint plan to go to the site to see what they can do.”
Authorities have yet to determine how many passengers and crew were on board.
Several members of the provincial council said they had heard from locals that four people on board the plane had escaped the site of the crash soon after it came down. However, the reports could not be confirmed by the US military or other officials.
The crash comes amid a push by the Taliban and US diplomats to restart peace talks which are aimed at ending the 18-year-old conflict in the country.