Police foil child trafficking attempt at Tanjung Priok Port
An attempt to smuggle children to Singapore by sea has been foiled by police officers, Tanjung Priok detective unit chief Adj. Comr. Wirdhanto Hadicaksono said in a conference on Saturday.
A 52-year-old man, identified only as HZ, was arrested following a raid on Wednesday on the Lambelu passenger ship at Tanjung Priok Port. The ship was en route to Kijang near Batam from Baubau, Southeast Sulawesi.
Four girls and one boy between the ages of 14 and 17 were on board the ship with HZ.
Wirdhanto said that the five children met HZ and a woman referred to as “Mama L” in a village chief's house in Pasar Wajo, Baubau, on July 5.
HZ and Mama L reportedly offered them jobs at a hotel in Batam.
"HZ and Mama L offered jobs with big salaries, boat tickets and clothes. In exchange, they had to stay at Mama L's house until the departure date and were not allowed to contact their parents," Wirdhanto said.
They boarded the ship on July 8 and later discovered that they would work in Singapore instead of Batam.
Wirdhanto said that the police foiled the smuggling attempt after receiving a report from one of the children's neighbors who was also on board the ship.
Suspicious of HZ, the man immediately reported him to the ship's crew, who contacted the Tanjung Priok Police once the boat called into port.
"The children are now staying at the Tanjung Priok Police station and from Monday, KPAI [Indonesian Child Protection Commission] will take care of them and decide when and how to send them back to Baubau," Wirdhanto said. (aml/iwa)