The Jakarta Post
Officials have urged the public not to give money to child beggars or beggars carrying babies as they could be victims of trafficking, used by syndicates hoping to profit from public pity.
We are calling on the public to remain aware and request that people do not give money to street children, South Jakarta Police chief Sr. Cmr. Wahyu Hadiningrat said.
"The more we give, the more the children suffer," he said at the South Jakarta Police office on Sunday as reported by kompas.com.
Many people remain unaware that syndicates traffic children for their own profit, he added.
South Jakarta police revealed details of child trafficking and exploitation in the Blok M area, explaining that investigators had named four people named as suspects for allegedly having forced children to work as both beggars and buskers. The suspects have been identified as SM (18), EH (17) IR, aka Mama Wiwit (35) and NH (43).
Two of the suspects have admitted that they are the parents of a 6-month old baby called Bon-Bon, who had been given a high dose of the sedative Clonazepam, considered to be a tranquilizer, in order for traffickers to take Bon-Bon begging.
Women Empowerment and Child Protection Minister Yohana Yembise has demanded heavy punishment for the perpetrators.
"We have Laws of Child Protection and Human Trafficking to charge them with," she said as quoted by kompas.com.
She also visited Children Safe House in Bambu Apus, East Jakarta, on Sunday where she met Bon-Bon and other victims. According to Yohana, Bon-Bon remains in a very weak condition.
Bon-Bon's parents SM and EH have admitted to dosing their baby with the sedative in order that she may be used for begging purposes.
"My child was fussy and I was told to give her that [medicine], SM explained to Yohana, adding that the couple had received the advice from a street busker named Gimbal, who is alleged to have said that it would ensure that Bon-Bon would not cry when taken to the streets for begging.
Police secured 20 child victims in the exploitation case alongside eight adults on Thursday at an intersection in South Jakarta and at the Blok M Bus Terminal.
Police charged the suspects under the 2007 Law on Human Trafficking and the 2014 Law on Child Protection. The maximum punishment is 15 years in prison and a Rp 300 million ($22,590) fine. However, the penalty could be a term of up to 20 years in prison for the birth parents of the victims.
Police had conducted a two month investigation prior to making the arrests.
Based on the investigation, it has been alleged that police suspects IR and NH rented children for Rp 200,000 per day. They are alleged to have forced the children to work as beggars and or buskers and to use violence if children refused to work. (rin)
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