is this just australian wowserism and self-righteousness? stories like this appeal to the australian sense of superiority, but how widespread is forced prostitution..." /> is this just australian wowserism and self-righteousness? stories like this appeal to the australian sense of superiority, but how widespread is forced prostitution...">
is this just australian wowserism and self-righteousness? stories like this appeal to the australian sense of superiority, but how widespread is forced prostitution in Indonesia in actual fact? i've been here a very long time -- as a resident, not an "expat" -- and i can't say i've seen any of the things described by the journalist, Stephen Fitzpatrick.


From http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/wor...o-1225881248559

Teenage slaves to region's sex trade

by Stephen Fitzpatrick, Jakarta correspondent

Human Trafficking

Suthini in her room at a shelter for human trafficking victims in Jakarta; she was only 14 when she was sold into forced prostitution. Picture: Ed Wray Source: The Australian

SUTHINI was 14 when she was forced to hide in the boot of a car and transported, without documents, across Indonesia's land border into Malaysia to be sold into forced prostitution

Suthini (not her real name) protested vehemently on arrival at the boarding house where her new owner was to keep her captive but was punished with kicks and beatings.

Eventually, after what the Indonesian girl was told was a medical test to verify her virginity, she was raped by two men in a hotel room in Kuching, East Malaysia.

"They took some kind of stimulant [for themselves] and they gave me something to drink so that I didn't know what was going on," the shy village teenager says in an almost-whisper, sitting in an office at the Jakarta women's refuge where she has started rebuilding her life in recent weeks.

She is learning hairdressing at the state-run facility in the hope of breaking out of the cycle of violence and sexual abuse endured by so many Indonesian women, and tentatively remaking contact with family members, most of whom had no idea where she was for the duration of her 18-month ordeal.

Suthini's recall of the men who abused her is limited or at least she has blocked it out: her best description of them was that one of them was "Chinese".

For two days after the rape, she says, she cowered in the dingy hotel room where the assault took place. "I was destroyed,"she whispers. "And they got away."

Eventually she escaped from her new owner, although not before prolonged and repeated beatings, she says, and a subsequent period of several months working as a maid for no pay and little food.

Suthini's story is almost unremarkable for its frequency in Indonesia and across Southeast Asia. Her version of it, however, carries the nuance and scars of her individual experience, beginning with the uncle in the West Java village of her youth who she says tried to rape her, and his wife, who subsequently blamed Suthini for tempting the man.

From there it was a downhill route, with no parental control and few job prospects, to being offered work not just outside of the village but abroad. Initially, the deal was for a maid's position in Singapore, one of the most common options for poor Indonesian girls with little education.

Suthini knew something was amiss when she was shoved into the car boot and driven across the Borneo border, but in truth her experience might have been little different even if she had landed in Singapore. Indonesian maids are famously abused in the city-state as well as in Malaysia by wealthy, often Chinese, employers.

Sexual slavery is rife and there have been alleged cases in Australia involving Asian female victims. The International Labour Organisation estimates 2.5 million people are trafficked worldwide annually, a figure that includes a huge number in forced labour and sexual bondage. Other organisations posit even higher numbers, with the difference relating only to variations in data collection techniques.

Regardless, agencies working in the field believe more than half of all victims of trafficking come from or end up in Southeast Asia.

Now, a high-energy program designed to educate those most at risk, as well as people with the potential for being abusers, is reaching its peak.

The MTVExit campaign -- the Exit part standing for End Exploitation and Trafficking -- has staged 24 high-profile rock concerts since its founding in late 2008. Most recently, the campaign has had the active support of the Australian government, which through its development agency AusAID has helped fund concert tours in Vietnam and Indonesia. The US government's aid program has been a leading player in the MTVExit act from the beginning.

The shows are designed to give mass-saturation exposure to the problem in those areas deemed to be hot spots for human trafficking, campaigning from the stage during concerts, and distributing leaflets among the crowd.

Short documentaries and film clips have been created to be shown on television and used in training programs worldwide.

In Indonesia, concerts were held in the cities of Pontianak, Makassar, Surabaya, Medan and Jakarta in recent weeks.

The final show of the tour, in the Indonesian capital, crammed 80,000 punters into the city's Senayan stadium and the main show was broadcast live on national television.

The next instalment of the campaign will be a historic open-air spectacular in the East Timor capital, Dili, the weekend after next; it's the first time anything like it has been staged in that fragile nation.

The campaign runs worldwide with the support of some of rock's biggest stadium acts, including Coldplay, Muse and Placebo, which have all donated songs to be used as backing for trafficking awareness videos shot by the MTVExit crew.

Australia's Kate Miller-Heidke also has been involved in the program, participating with her band in a series of concerts in Nepal last year.

The recent AusAID participation is part of Canberra's regional anti-human trafficking efforts, specifically with a program that works at the operational level, training judges, prosecutors and district police in how to spot instances of human trafficking and successfully prosecute.

The Australian scheme is called ARTIP, which stands for Asia Regional Trafficking in Persons Project. Part of ARTIP's operation in Indonesia is the Australian Federal Police's liaison with the Indonesian National Police, particularly since the introduction in 2007 of legislation in Indonesia to combat human trafficking.

Brigadier General Saud Usman Nasution, head of the Indonesian police's transnational crime unit, acknowledges there is a link between the human trafficking cases addressed through the ARTIP initiative and the people smuggling activities more commonly associated with routes taken by asylum-seekers and other irregular migrants trying to reach Australia.

"Indeed, they're related," he says, adding that he hopes the main outcome from ARTIP will be "an improvement in policy, with more support [for anti-trafficking efforts] and better problem-solving".

The US government's 2010 trafficking in persons report, released by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this week in Washington, commends Canberra's Southeast Asia-wide response to the problem, noting that ARTIP "promotes a co-ordinated response to trafficking in persons by criminal justice systems throughout the region".

ARTIP is due to wind up next year, having been launched initially as a five-year scheme, but there are hopes in the Indonesian system and elsewhere that it may be extended.

For child welfare activist Ahmad Sofian, the AusAID interest in the trafficking problem is of crucial importance. AusAID helps fund the agency he runs in Medan, on the large Indonesian island of North Sumatra. It's called the Centre for Study and Protection of Children and has a particular focus on sexual exploitation of minors, with domestic sexual abuse and forced sexual slavery high on the agenda.

The fieldwork Sofian has conducted paints a grim picture and that's not even extending the problem to those trafficked outside the country but simply acknowledging the seedy underbelly of Indonesia's domestic brothel industry.

"We know that 70 per cent of trafficking in persons is for sexual purposes and, of that 70 per cent, around 65 to 70 per cent are children and young people, meaning those below 24 years," Sofian says.

Outside of Jakarta, Indonesia's two biggest centralised prostitution industries are in the East Java port city of Surabaya and on the island of Batam, just a quick ferry hop across the strait from Singapore.

"We don't have official figures but we can calculate that every week around 6000 people from Singapore and Malaysia go to Batam to look for prostitutes," he says.


Many of the women in these brothels are rural teens who have been tricked into the business, with promises of easy work in restaurants and karaoke bars.

"That means also to give services for sex and they cannot refuse," Sofian says.

Surabaya's red-light district, known euphemistically as Dolly, is a key centre for the trafficking of young women from rural areas of Java, Madura and Sumatra.

Sofian says he has documented cases of Dolly prostitutes as young as 13 being kept in secret houses with the knowledge of police, who receive kickbacks for turning a blind eye.

"A lot of customers look for young girls," he says. "But if they come to the brothel, they will not find this, so they say to the official at the brothel, 'I'm looking for 14-year-old, 15-year-old.'

"Almost all the brothel owners have a secret house where they put the youngest girls. Only certain customers can access the place and the owner wants to make sure that you are not police, not intel [secret police], not a detective, not a journalist.

"The owner wants to be sure that you are only there to buy young girls. Usually that means it's Indonesian men.

"But we are sure police know about these secret places, if not officially from within the police then still individuals from the police who protect and get benefits from child prostitution."

At the most basic of levels, however, Sofian admits it's an uphill battle to get police to acknowledge there is a problem.

Whatever their age, he says, women working in the industry are almost always viewed as doing so voluntarily.

"The polsek [district police] are stupid. They think that someone is working in prostitution, she chooses to do that. But if you are not an adult, you cannot make this choice. It is forced prostitution."
<span style="font-style: italic">is this just australian wowserism and self-righteousness? stories like this appeal to the australian sense of superiority, but how widespread is forced prostitution in Indonesia in actual fact? i've been here a very long time -- as a resident, not an &quot;expat&quot; -- and i can't say i've seen any of the things described by the journalist, Stephen Fitzpatrick.</span><br /> <br /> <br /> From <a href="http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/teenage-slaves-to-regions-sex-trade/story-e6frg6so-1225881248559" title="httpwwwtheaustraliancomaunewsworldteenageslavestoregionssextradestorye6frg6so1225881248559" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/wor...o-1225881248559</a><br /> <br /> <span style="font-size: 14pt"><span style="font-weight: bold">Teenage slaves to region's sex trade</span></span><br /> <br /> by Stephen Fitzpatrick, Jakarta correspondent<br /> <br /> Human Trafficking<br /> <br /> Suthini in her room at a shelter for human trafficking victims in Jakarta; she was only 14 when she was sold into forced prostitution. Picture: Ed Wray Source: The Australian<br /> <br /> SUTHINI was 14 when she was forced to hide in the boot of a car and transported, without documents, across Indonesia's land border into Malaysia to be sold into forced prostitution<br /> <br /> Suthini (not her real name) protested vehemently on arrival at the boarding house where her new owner was to keep her captive but was punished with kicks and beatings.<br /> <br /> Eventually, after what the Indonesian girl was told was a medical test to verify her virginity, she was raped by two men in a hotel room in Kuching, East Malaysia.<br /> <br /> &quot;They took some kind of stimulant [for themselves] and they gave me something to drink so that I didn't know what was going on,&quot; the shy village teenager says in an almost-whisper, sitting in an office at the Jakarta women's refuge where she has started rebuilding her life in recent weeks.<br /> <br /> She is learning hairdressing at the state-run facility in the hope of breaking out of the cycle of violence and sexual abuse endured by so many Indonesian women, and tentatively remaking contact with family members, most of whom had no idea where she was for the duration of her 18-month ordeal.<br /> <br /> Suthini's recall of the men who abused her is limited or at least she has blocked it out: her best description of them was that one of them was &quot;Chinese&quot;.<br /> <br /> For two days after the rape, she says, she cowered in the dingy hotel room where the assault took place. &quot;I was destroyed,&quot;she whispers. &quot;And they got away.&quot;<br /> <br /> Eventually she escaped from her new owner, although not before prolonged and repeated beatings, she says, and a subsequent period of several months working as a maid for no pay and little food.<br /> <br /> Suthini's story is almost unremarkable for its frequency in Indonesia and across Southeast Asia. Her version of it, however, carries the nuance and scars of her individual experience, beginning with the uncle in the West Java village of her youth who she says tried to rape her, and his wife, who subsequently blamed Suthini for tempting the man.<br /> <br /> From there it was a downhill route, with no parental control and few job prospects, to being offered work not just outside of the village but abroad. Initially, the deal was for a maid's position in Singapore, one of the most common options for poor Indonesian girls with little education.<br /> <br /> Suthini knew something was amiss when she was shoved into the car boot and driven across the Borneo border, but in truth her experience might have been little different even if she had landed in Singapore. Indonesian maids are famously abused in the city-state as well as in Malaysia by wealthy, often Chinese, employers.<br /> <br /> Sexual slavery is rife and there have been alleged cases in Australia involving Asian female victims. The International Labour Organisation estimates 2.5 million people are trafficked worldwide annually, a figure that includes a huge number in forced labour and sexual bondage. Other organisations posit even higher numbers, with the difference relating only to variations in data collection techniques.<br /> <br /> Regardless, agencies working in the field believe more than half of all victims of trafficking come from or end up in Southeast Asia.<br /> <br /> Now, a high-energy program designed to educate those most at risk, as well as people with the potential for being abusers, is reaching its peak.<br /> <br /> The MTVExit campaign -- the Exit part standing for End Exploitation and Trafficking -- has staged 24 high-profile rock concerts since its founding in late 2008. Most recently, the campaign has had the active support of the Australian government, which through its development agency AusAID has helped fund concert tours in Vietnam and Indonesia. The US government's aid program has been a leading player in the MTVExit act from the beginning.<br /> <br /> The shows are designed to give mass-saturation exposure to the problem in those areas deemed to be hot spots for human trafficking, campaigning from the stage during concerts, and distributing leaflets among the crowd.<br /> <br /> Short documentaries and film clips have been created to be shown on television and used in training programs worldwide.<br /> <br /> In Indonesia, concerts were held in the cities of Pontianak, Makassar, Surabaya, Medan and Jakarta in recent weeks.<br /> <br /> The final show of the tour, in the Indonesian capital, crammed 80,000 punters into the city's Senayan stadium and the main show was broadcast live on national television.<br /> <br /> The next instalment of the campaign will be a historic open-air spectacular in the East Timor capital, Dili, the weekend after next; it's the first time anything like it has been staged in that fragile nation.<br /> <br /> The campaign runs worldwide with the support of some of rock's biggest stadium acts, including Coldplay, Muse and Placebo, which have all donated songs to be used as backing for trafficking awareness videos shot by the MTVExit crew.<br /> <br /> Australia's Kate Miller-Heidke also has been involved in the program, participating with her band in a series of concerts in Nepal last year.<br /> <br /> The recent AusAID participation is part of Canberra's regional anti-human trafficking efforts, specifically with a program that works at the operational level, training judges, prosecutors and district police in how to spot instances of human trafficking and successfully prosecute.<br /> <br /> The Australian scheme is called ARTIP, which stands for Asia Regional Trafficking in Persons Project. Part of ARTIP's operation in Indonesia is the Australian Federal Police's liaison with the Indonesian National Police, particularly since the introduction in 2007 of legislation in Indonesia to combat human trafficking.<br /> <br /> Brigadier General Saud Usman Nasution, head of the Indonesian police's transnational crime unit, acknowledges there is a link between the human trafficking cases addressed through the ARTIP initiative and the people smuggling activities more commonly associated with routes taken by asylum-seekers and other irregular migrants trying to reach Australia.<br /> <br /> &quot;Indeed, they're related,&quot; he says, adding that he hopes the main outcome from ARTIP will be &quot;an improvement in policy, with more support [for anti-trafficking efforts] and better problem-solving&quot;.<br /> <br /> The US government's 2010 trafficking in persons report, released by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this week in Washington, commends Canberra's Southeast Asia-wide response to the problem, noting that ARTIP &quot;promotes a co-ordinated response to trafficking in persons by criminal justice systems throughout the region&quot;.<br /> <br /> ARTIP is due to wind up next year, having been launched initially as a five-year scheme, but there are hopes in the Indonesian system and elsewhere that it may be extended.<br /> <br /> For child welfare activist Ahmad Sofian, the AusAID interest in the trafficking problem is of crucial importance. AusAID helps fund the agency he runs in Medan, on the large Indonesian island of North Sumatra. It's called the Centre for Study and Protection of Children and has a particular focus on sexual exploitation of minors, with domestic sexual abuse and forced sexual slavery high on the agenda.<br /> <br /> The fieldwork Sofian has conducted paints a grim picture and that's not even extending the problem to those trafficked outside the country but simply acknowledging the seedy underbelly of Indonesia's domestic brothel industry.<br /> <br /> &quot;We know that 70 per cent of trafficking in persons is for sexual purposes and, of that 70 per cent, around 65 to 70 per cent are children and young people, meaning those below 24 years,&quot; Sofian says.<br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold">Outside of Jakarta, Indonesia's two biggest centralised prostitution industries are in the East Java port city of Surabaya and on the island of Batam, just a quick ferry hop across the strait from Singapore.<br /> <br /> &quot;We don't have official figures but we can calculate that every week around 6000 people from Singapore and Malaysia go to Batam to look for prostitutes,&quot; he says.</span><br /> <br /> Many of the women in these brothels are rural teens who have been tricked into the business, with promises of easy work in restaurants and karaoke bars.<br /> <br /> &quot;That means also to give services for sex and they cannot refuse,&quot; Sofian says.<br /> <br /> Surabaya's red-light district, known euphemistically as Dolly, is a key centre for the trafficking of young women from rural areas of Java, Madura and Sumatra.<br /> <br /> Sofian says he has documented cases of Dolly prostitutes as young as 13 being kept in secret houses with the knowledge of police, who receive kickbacks for turning a blind eye.<br /> <br /> &quot;A lot of customers look for young girls,&quot; he says. &quot;But if they come to the brothel, they will not find this, so they say to the official at the brothel, 'I'm looking for 14-year-old, 15-year-old.'<br /> <br /> &quot;Almost all the brothel owners have a secret house where they put the youngest girls. Only certain customers can access the place and the owner wants to make sure that you are not police, not intel [secret police], not a detective, not a journalist.<br /> <br /> &quot;The owner wants to be sure that you are only there to buy young girls. Usually that means it's Indonesian men.<br /> <br /> &quot;But we are sure police know about these secret places, if not officially from within the police then still individuals from the police who protect and get benefits from child prostitution.&quot;<br /> <br /> At the most basic of levels, however, Sofian admits it's an uphill battle to get police to acknowledge there is a problem.<br /> <br /> Whatever their age, he says, women working in the industry are almost always viewed as doing so voluntarily.<br /> <br /> &quot;The polsek [district police] are stupid. They think that someone is working in prostitution, she chooses to do that. But if you are not an adult, you cannot make this choice. It is forced prostitution.&quot;<br />
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