Prosecutors Having Difficulty Enforcing New Human Trafficking Law

Thursday, 11 May 2017 , 12:00:00 WIB - Law

Human trafficking criminals and evidences found by the police re seen being presented before the public, Medan, North Sumatra, Friday (5/5). (ANTARA)

JAKARTA, GRES.NEWS – The Witness and Victims Protection Agency (LPSK) has revealed that law enforcers are having difficulty proving human trafficking using the new Law No.21/2007 on Eradication of Human Trafficking. As a result, they prefer to charge the perpetrators with Article 296 of the Criminal Code (KUHP), which comes with lighter charges.

LPKS Head, Abdul Haris Semendawai, Law No.21/2007 was passed with hope that it would be able to minimize human trafficking with heavier punishment that ranges between 3 to 15 years.

"The law also stipulates protection and rights for the witnesses and victims of human trafficking," said Semendawai, Pontianak, Wednesday (10/5).

Vice Chief Justice of West Kalimantan High Prosecutor’s Office, Panusunan Harahap, confirms that prosecutors still use Article 296 of the Criminal Code that only threatens human traffickers 1 to 4 years in prison.

"I question why they don’t use the new law on human trafficking that offers heavier punishments," he said.

Assistant Chief of General Crimes, West Kalimantan High Prosecutors Office, Wily Ade Haidir, explained that prosecutors are having difficulty proving a vital element mentioned in the new law.

Article 2, Law No.21/2007 on Eradication of Human Trafficking stipulates, any person recruiting, transporting, sheltering, shipping, transfer or receiving of persons with threats of violence, the use of force, abduction, capture, forgery, fraud, abuse of power or vulnerable situations, debt bondage or pay or benefits even where the consent of the person who is in control of another person, for the purpose of exploiting that person in the territory of the Republic of Indonesia shall be subject to imprisonment of a minimum of 3 (three) years and a maximum of 15 (fifteen) years and a fine of at least Rp 120,000,000.00 and at most Rp600,000,000.00.

"We are having difficulty proving the ‘exploiting’ part," he said.

Abdul from LPSK added that modern human trafficking has become sophisticated as human traffickers follow developments in information technology.

The US Embassy for Indonesia revealed in its annual report on Human Trafficking in 2016 that Indonesia is a primary source and destination of human trafficking. The country is also a transit place for forced labor victims and vitims of the commercial sex industry.

They estimate 1.9 million from the 4.5 million Inodnesians working abroad are women who are vulnerable to become victims of human trade.