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Jakarta Post

Children of migrant workers most vulnerable to abuse

  • thejakartapost.com

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, May 10, 2016   /  11:48 am
Children of migrant workers most vulnerable to abuse Activists conduct a protest against violence against women and children at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta on Jan. 29. (Tempo/Eko Siswono Toyudho)

Cases of sexual violence involving child victims in Brebes, Central Java, are at an alarmingly high rate, with 70 percent of the incidents occurring among Indonesian migrant workers' families.

Brebes is experiencing a sexual violence emergency, said the women and children's empowerment division head at the Brebes Family Planning and Women's Empowerment Agency (BKBPP), Rini Pujiastuti. on Monday.

There were 85 cases of violence against women and children in Brebes in 2015 according to police and hospital data, Rini said. Of the total number of cases, 80 percent of the victims were children and 90 percent were cases of sexual violence. 

However, in reality the number could be even larger,  Rini said as reported by tempo.co.

The majority of the cases involving child victims occur in areas where it is predominantly wives who move abroad to work as migrant workers. The absence of the wife leaves the husband lonely and more likely to expend his sexual urges on his children, she added.

"The mom is busy making money while the dad is unemployed at home," said Rini. 

Cases of sexual violence against children were seldom revealed because very few victims felt capable of reporting the crime, Rini continued, adding that children were fearful of being threatened by the perpetrator.

"In one of the cases that we are handling, the victim's father is vicious and is a shaman," she said as quoted by tempo.

In the southern region of  Brebes regency, the agency is currently handling a case of a man who abused 11 children over the course of four months. 

The perpetrator would lure the children into the woods by inviting them to find birds and also by giving the children some snacks. Once they were in the woods,  he would abuse his victims.

"During that time, none of the children were brave enough to report thecrime. There were only four children who were brave enough to do so," she added. 

The agency is currently providing guidance to the families of migrant workers and also creating a network of task forces to protect children from violence. At the moment there are already 17 villages involved, she said. 

"The plan is for every village to have a children's task force," Rini added. 

Muhammad Subhan, a 43-year-old resident of Tegalglagah village in Bulakamba district, Brebes, agreed that areas home to a large number of migrant families were vulnerable to cases of sexual violence against children; Tegalglagah contributes more migrant workers than almost any other village in Brebes.

Subhan acknowledged that there had been repeated cases of sexual abuse of children being committed by husbands whose wives had left to work overseas. (liz/rin)

  

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