Saturday, 5 April 2008

Illegal logging causes trafficking

Friday, April 4, 2008 10:59 PM

Illegal logging causes trafficking

The Jakarta Post

Illegal logging is causing more than the destruction of forests -- it is destroying human lives through trafficking of girls to logging camps.

Roostien Ilyas of the National Commission for Child Protection (KPA) said recent cases of women and children trafficking had been uncovered in illegal logging spots in West Kalimantan.
"We found around 150 girls aged between 14 and 16 who were being forced to provide sexual services for illegal loggers," Roostien said Thursday in a discussion during the second Asia-Pacific Congress for the International Council of Women in Jakarta.

The non-governmental organization investigating the case, Nanda Dian Nusantara Foundation, failed to get cooperation from local police because some police officers and local government officials were allegedly involved in the crime, said Roostien, who is also the foundation chairwoman.

"We had to ask the National Police and the Social Services Ministry to help with this," she said, adding that these cases were just some of the many children trafficking cases that have never been reported to the public.

The Indonesian representative of the International Council of Women, Tanya Alwi, said such cases were overlooked by the public because they happened in remote areas where the government's supervision and law enforcement were weak.

"That's why we demand that local administrations keep a close eye out for cases of human trade in their regions," she told The Jakarta Post.

The congress, attended by dozens of women from Asia-Pacific countries, also urged the National Police to adopt a better gender-perspective when dealing with cases of women and child trafficking.

"The police should hire more women, who can be trained to handle sensitive cases, because the culture in Indonesia is not conducive to facilitate women to report if they are victims of sexual violence. In fact, they usually pull away from the community because they are ashamed of what happened to them," Tanya said.

Despite the fact that police have established a special division called the Complaints Unit for Women and Children, the service is only available at the provincial and municipality levels, she said.
"The police should also provide the service at subprecincts because crimes usually happen at the subdistrict level," she added.

The police have provided a special unit for women and children at a subprecinct level, but only in border areas, National Police detective Adj. Sr. Comr. Sundari said.
"What we considered is that human trafficking mostly occurs in border areas," she told the Post.
The National Police chief takes human trafficking cases seriously and has ordered all police officers to use a special approach when dealing with victims, Sundari said.

"The police have also considered opening special shelters for victims, but haven't got the budget for now. All we can do for the moment is work with non-governmental organizations to provide shelters, as well as counseling," she said. (dia)