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Church joins call for Indonesian schools to cover human trafficking

UCA News - July 7, 2022

Katharina R. Lestari, Jakarta – A priest and a nun were part of a three-member team that met Indonesian parliamentarians urging them to include human trafficking issues in the Muslim-majority nation's school curriculum.

Jesuit Father Ignatius Ismartono and Providence Sister Laurentina along with Anis Hidayah from the Migrant Care Center for Migration Studies met with parliamentarians on July 5.

Father Ismartono is the adviser to Sahabat Insan, a charity dealing with issues faced by Indonesian migrant workers, while the nun coordinates the Migrant Care Coalition in West Timor.

The meeting took place eight days after they staged a rally in front of the Malaysian embassy to protest against the acquittal of Ambika M.A. Shan who was accused of murdering an Indonesian maid, Adelina Jemira Sau, in Penang in 2018.

Malaysia's Federal Court dismissed an appeal by prosecutors to overturn High Court and Appeal Court rulings to acquit Shan. According to judges, prosecutors had not presented a good enough reason to overturn the two previous rulings that cited a lack of evidence proving she had physically abused the maid.

"For us, [what happened to] Adelina is the worst tragedy in the history of migration in Indonesia," Hidayah said at the meeting live-streamed on parliament's YouTube channel.

According to her, the government has not yet completely put the 2017 Law on the Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers into practice.

"The law's derivative regulations are there, but they are not implemented yet. The state-run skills training centers, whose formation is mandated by the law, do not operate at all," she said.

"As a result, the placement of migrant workers still uses the 2004 Law on the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers triggering exploitation, modern slavery, human trafficking and so on."

She urged parliament to include human-trafficking issues in the school curriculum to prevent more teenagers from becoming victims.

Speaking to UCA News, Hidayah said an educational approach must immediately be taken to eliminate human trafficking because "many victims were senior high school students or those who had not yet finished vocational school."

According to the Ministry of Women Empowerment and Children Protection, human trafficking cases increased sharply from 213 in 2019 to 400 in 2020. Meanwhile, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Indonesia recorded 154 human trafficking cases in 2020 and victims were mostly teenagers.

"We hope that, by integrating information about, for example, the modus operandi of human trafficking syndicates and how to avoid those involved in the syndicates into the school curriculum, people – particularly women and teenagers – will have better knowledge of the crime," Hidayah said.

Father Ismartono told UCA News that he joined anti-human trafficking activists at the meeting to push politicians into paying serious attention to human-trafficking issues.

He acknowledged that some schools had invited related parties to share information about the crime with students through seminars and webinars.

"But if human-trafficking issues are included in the school curriculum, it will be objective general knowledge," he said.

"The urgency is that human trafficking is there because of a lack of education. Many migrant workers are unskilled people or skilled ones who are not aware of the potential risk that they may become victims of human trafficking."

On July 3, police in Bintan district, Riau province, arrested seven people suspected of smuggling 16 migrant workers who planned to work in Malaysia.

Source: https://www.ucanews.com/news/church-joins-call-for-indonesian-schools-to-cover-human-trafficking/9792