As many as 57 human trafficking victims in West Nusa Tenggara have suffered from mental distress and at one point were treated at Selagalas Mental Hospital in Mataram, said the head of a group concerned with the issue.
"Some of them are still being treated and the condition of the others is improving, but they are still receiving outpatient treatment," Endang Susilowati, director of the Mataram Panca Karsa Foundation (PPK Mataram), told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
Endang said the 57 victims were among the 317 human trafficking victims under the care of PPK Mataram during 2008, 80 percent of whom are women and 40 percent of them children under the age of 18.
Endang said the victims were believed to have suffered severe trauma after being cheated, exploited and abused during their ordeal, as well as being ashamed to return to their home villages.
She added that the trafficking victims were generally recruited by middlemen who promised them jobs as maids earning good salaries, usually overseas or in big cities.
The trafficking network, based on the accounts of victims at PPK Mataram, would recruit in the villages and send the women to Mataram, and then to Jakarta or Surabaya by air or overland, and later possibly overseas.
From Jakarta, they were sent directly to Batam or Tanjung Pinang in Riau Islands province, and to Malaysia or Singapore. Those from Surabaya were usually sent to Malaysia via Dumai, Riau province, or Medan, North Sumatra, or Batam.
She added that the domestic trafficking route was usually from Mataram to Bali, and later to Palopo and Makassar, South Sulawesi, and Pontianak, West Kalimantan.
Endang said that human trafficking in West Nusa Tenggara was a serious problem, because the province not only served as a place of transit and source of human trafficking, but was also now a destination. PPK Mataram is currently taking care of 10 victims from West Java.
They are generally children below the age of 20 who have been exploited in a number of enter-tainment places in Senggigi, West Lombok.
"West Nusa Tenggara has become a destination for human trafficking. Most of the victims come from Subang and Purwakarta in West Java. We are helping to return them to their hometowns. They are currently staying at the local social office's shelter," Endang said.