IOM plans scheme to pair prosecutors to tackle human trafficking
“This innovative effort shows the government’s commitment to improving the successful prosecution of human trafficking cases."
IOM and the Indonesian Attorney General’s Office are planning a mentoring scheme to pair prosecutors throughout Indonesia with senior officials who have experience in conducting successful investigations and pursuing criminal proceedings against human traffickers.
The design of the programme was discussed last week at a two-day meeting in Yogyakarta, Central Java, which brought together experts from law enforcement agencies, social protection bodies, and the judiciary.
“According to data from the Anti-Trafficking Task Force and the Attorney General’s Office, only 160 of 214 trafficking cases in 2016 led to convictions,” said Rudi Prabowo Aji, head of the Attorney General’s Training Centre.
“The response to trafficking is not optimal due to a lack of common understanding about what constitutes ‘trafficking in persons’ among law enforcement officials, as well as a lack of knowledge about gender sensitivity and how to apply a victim-centered approach. This prosecution gap indicates the importance of this mentoring programme.”
During the meeting, which was sponsored by the Australian Department of Home Affairs, the Attorney General’s Office announced that it would launch a pilot programme later this year.
“Moving beyond conventional classroom methods, the mentoring programme will combine online platforms and face-to-face coaching to allow the sharing of knowledge between law enforcement officers,” said Among Resi, head of IOM Indonesia’s Counter-Trafficking and Labour Migration Unit.
“This innovative effort shows the government’s commitment to improving the successful prosecution of human trafficking cases in Indonesia.”
Indonesia remains a source, transit, and destination country for human trafficking. Since 2007 it has been rated Tier 2 by the US State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons report. Tier 2 is applied to countries that do not fully comply with the US Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance.
IOM programmes in Indonesia support the effective prosecution of individuals and transnational networks engaged in human trafficking. Since 2017, IOM has trained 125 prosecutors from provincial and district attorney offices on handling trafficking cases under Indonesian law, with a particular focus on the protection of victims and witnesses.
The training using recently completed guidelines for law enforcement and prosecutors that were also developed with the support of the Australian Department of Home Affairs.
“Working alongside law enforcement is just one way IOM improves protection for victims of trafficking and facilitates their access to justice. We also collaborate with local partners throughout Indonesia to provide legal support to victims, to connect them with lawyers, and to support their rehabilitation,” said Resi.
Since 2005, IOM Indonesia has identified and assisted over 9,000 victims of trafficking. The majority were Indonesian nationals exploited in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Middle East and other migrant destination countries. Many were also foreigners, including hundreds of Cambodian and Myanmar nationals enslaved aboard Thai fishing boats operating in Indonesian waters.