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Jakarta Post

Couple named suspects of human trafficking

  • Ganug Nugroho Adi

    The Jakarta Post

Surakarta, Central Java   /   Wed, May 18, 2016   /  07:06 pm
Couple named suspects of human trafficking Activists rally against sexual violence on Jl. Slamet Riyadi, Surakarta, Central Java. ( Nugroho Adi)

The Surakarta Police have named two people suspects for allegedly forcing 19 underage girls to work as nightclubs hostesses in East Kalimantan.

Wisnu Subroto and wife Indah Winarno were named suspects recently for allegedly sending19 girls aged 15 to 17 years old to West Kutai regency, East Kalimantan, Surakarta Police chief Sr. Comr. Ahmad Luthfi said on Wednesday.

The couple, who hail from Karanganyar in Central Java, allegedly sent the girls from Surakarta to East Kalimantan in January. The Central Java Police are investigating the case and have questioned the two suspects.

The case emerged when one of the girl’s mothers, Katinem, 40, reported that her daughter, Maryati, 16, had not been home for three months. Maryati had told her family that she was working in Barong Tongkol, Kutai. Maryati lived in premises that had high security and she and the other workers were told by their employers that they could not quit and leave the premises unless they each paid Rp 5 million ($373), Luthfi said.

Katinem discussed the matter with a member of the Surakarta branch of Nahdlatul Ulama Muslim organization, Nur Hidayah Idris. Hidayah and several activists of Sayang Anak (Love for Children) in Surakarta reported the case to the Surakarta Police in April.

Maryati returned home to Surakarta earlier this month, which helped the police discover the alleged involvement of Wisnu and Indah.

"Information from the victim helped the police uncover the child trafficking case," Luthfi said without explaining how Maryati managed to leave East Kalimantan.

Meanwhile, Hidayah said that based on information from Maryati, at least 19 underage girls from Surakarta were working in several nightclubs in Barong Tongkol.

Maryati told Hidayah that she was taken to Kutai by the two suspects, who promised her a job at a plywood factory.

The teenage girls reportedly work as karaoke hall hostesses, escorts and sex workers in Kalimantan. Their fee starts at Rp 70,000 per hour and they are paid an extra Rp 50,000 per hour if they accompany guests who are drinking.

"They get more if they serve guests in bed. The karaoke centers are located in the middle of the woods and the girls are too afraid to try to escape, especially as there are many security guards at the locations," Hidayah said.

Nahdlatul Ulama also plans to report the case to Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa to help end child trafficking amid rising reports of sexual violence against children, Hidayat said. (rin)

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