IO, Jakarta – On Saturday, July 13, 2019, the Indonesian Migrant Workers Union (Serikat Buruh Migran Indonesia-SBMI) again successfully repatriated 2 women victims of bridal orders in China. As of July 2019, SBMI has received 26 reports of victims of Human Trafficking Crime – TPPO (Tindak Pidana Perdagangan Orang) cases with bride order modus to China. A total of 14 people come from West Kalimantan, 7 from West Java, 2 from Tangerang, 1 from East Java, and 1 from Central Java, with 1 from DKI Jakarta. From the cases that were reported to SBMI, 7 people have been repatriated to Indonesia, 2 people were foiled while trying to leave, and the rest are still being processed.
From the testimonies of 26 victims, they are known to have an impoverished economic background, are victims of domestic violence committed by their partners, or difficulties in accessing employment.
The situations above are some of the driving factors that have resulted in women victims of TPPO “mail-order brides” being easily deceived by matchmakers / recruiters with various lures. Improving their economy, promising her husband will be a child of rich parents, works as an architect, with a salary of 25 million, so she can send money back to her parents who take care of her children and extra money to build their home.
From the matchmaker or recruiter’s offer, the risk for the victim is very small. Getting a Rp15-20 million dowry, after one or two months of marriage, the woman can go home to her family in Indonesia.
To smooth the trade business for women with bride modus, recruiters do not hesitate to falsify victims’ documents. The victim does not realize that with the forgery of personal documents (name, age and religion), the vulnerable victims are removed from their history and become victims of TPPO.
“Some of the victims feel guilty because it turns out that when they get the destination, they do not get married. And if they get married, they will get married with a man whose religion is different from the religion they adhere to, while the victims cannot refuse sexual approaches from their husbands,” explained Hariyanto, Chairperson of SBMI.
Not only that, when the victim refuses to have sex, the victim will get violent. Starting from the beating, the neck is tied with a rope and pulled from behind, the palm of the hand is sliced with a knife until it bleeds.
Other violence also occurred: for example, the woman got an infusion for more than a week even though she did not feel sick. As a result of this malpractice, the victim experienced dizziness, almost fainted and could not sleep until 5am, and was told to sleep in the courtyard of the house in the winter without a blanket.
The sad stories do not stop there: victims are often punished by not being fed. All food is put in the parent-in-laws’ room and locked. There were even victims who were forced to work from 7am to 7pm, even continuing until 9pm. “Work hard without holidays, and wages are taken by the husband’s family,” explained Hariyanto.
From the testimonies of the victims, according to Hariyanto, when the victim was discovered trying to escape, she was held into a room and locked from the outside; even her cellphone was confiscated.
Some victims who managed to complain to the police were also uncertain they would get help because the understanding of the police was different: some of them understood and some others did not understand the Domestic Violence law. “If at the time of the complaint the police did not understand, the police would return the woman to the family of her husband. Some others were jailed because they were considered as having committed immigration violations,” explained Hariyanto.
Based on this situation, SBMI urged the Indonesian government to act decisively against TPPO criminals doing a “mail-order bride” business, hoping that this bad situation can be improved through various approaches carried out by the central, provincial and regional governments and law enforcement officials.
In this case, people must support the efforts of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to repatriate all victims of TPPO who are still in China, through diplomatic efforts, as well as supporting Regional Governments (Provinces, Districts and Villages) in making prevention efforts through socialization and information services for one village, one large banner. “Supporting the Director General of the office of demographic affairs (Disdukcapil) to impose sanctions on ASN members who are proven to participate in providing fake documents and support the Immigration Directorate General to impose punishments on immigration officials who falsify passport documents, and tighten supervision over women who will travel abroad; in fact, they will be traded through the mail-order bride scheme,” concluded Hariyanto. (dsy)