A North Kalimantan city near the border with Malaysia has been highlighted as a human trafficking hotspot, with women from Java being a majority of the victims, Jakarta Globe reported news.
According to the Nunukan Women Empowerment and Family Planning Agency (BPPKBD), nine cases of human trafficking have been documented in Nunukan since last December.
The town’s close proximity to the Malaysian border and limited surveillance resources are believed to be the main drivers behind the illegal trade.
“You could say that our area is a good route for such cases because supervision here is still limited,” Nunukan BPPKBD chief Mardiah said on Tuesday.
Most of the victims were women hailing from East Java, West Java and Central Java.
Women from the provinces are often promised jobs with good salaries in Malaysia but are then forced to work at nightclubs or similar places.
The perpetrators use various modes to transport the victims into Malaysia. Some are sent through the Migrant Workers Placement Agency (PJTKI) while others reach the country acting as tourists.
Cases of human trafficking were discovered by the Indonesian consulate in Sabah, Malaysia, where pimps were legally processed and the victims sent back to Nunukan.
According to Mardiah most of the rescued victims refuse to go back to Malaysia and choose to return to their hometown. A minority decided to remain in Nunukan to seek a new job.
“Every year we allocate a Rp 40 million budget ($4,000) to send victims home. We also have people to accompany them until they reach their destinations to ensure their safety,” Mardiah said.
The victims were usually sent back to their hometowns on a ship, with tickets sometimes paid for by the provincial governments where the victims originate from.
Before being sent home, the victims are counseled and offered support.
Mardiah said that no Nunukan residents have recently been involved in illegal trafficking.
“Luckily, since the last case, we haven’t discovered any Nunukan residents to be the perpetrators,” she said.