After 3 years, online trafficking rings are still growing in Indonesia

From a recent tweet of Ricky Martin Foundation there is a link about a 14-year-old Indonesian girl trafficked by a Facebook “friend”. The girl was found dumped at a bus station on September 30, while in the same month there were at least seven reports of young girls in Indonesia being abducted by people they met on Facebook, 27 altogether so far this year. An ECPAT International report estimates that each year, 40,000 to 70,000 children are involved in trafficking, pornography or prostitution in Indonesia. In recent years, social media has become a new tool to hunt for victims.

Social networks like Facebook are wildly popular in Indonesia. It’s said that many teenagers post their personal information like addresses and phone numbers publicly, and both youngsters and parents are unaware of the dangers.

Although most people started talking about the online trafficking in Indonesia by the end of October, it was not the first time to raise that topic in the country. On February 17, 2010, cases about trafficking on Facebook  was in discussion on Jakarta Globe. There were 25 reports about child kidnapping and blackmailing using Facebook as the method of contact.

Nothing changed after 3 years, except that there are more victims. Arist Merdeka Sirait, the previous secretary general of National Commission for Child Protection once encouraged parents to play a more active role in monitoring their children’s Internet interaction. But for many parents of teens, it doesn’t work. Trafficking also occurred via networking apps on the phone and text messages. Sirait, now the chairman of the commission, says they are racing against time, and police should move faster or many more girls will become victims.