Police also arrested five people accused of illegally sending thousands of migrant workers to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, despite a government moratorium. (Antara Photo)

Police Arrest 2 Suspects Who Tricked Young Indonesians Into Forced Labor in Taiwan

BY :FAROUK ARNAZ

OCTOBER 09, 2019

Jakarta. Two people have been arrested for luring unwitting jobseekers into forced labor in Taiwan under false pretenses, police said on Wednesday. 

The human smuggling ring sent at least 40 people from Lampung, West Java and Central Java to Taiwan. The suspects, only identified by the initials R. and L., allegedly promised the victims that they could find work and obtain scholarships to study in Taiwan. Victims were expected to pay Rp 35 million ($2,400) in advance.

"To parents who couldn't afford Rp 35 million, the suspects offered payment assistance on condition that the victims repay their debt using their wages once they got jobs in Taiwan," Senior Comr. Agus Nugroho, deputy director of general crimes at the National Police's Criminal Investigation Agency, told reporters.

The victims were gathered at a shelter in Jakarta where they met several Taiwanese people who convinced them of education and employment opportunities in the East Asian country, Agus said.

Upon their arrival in Taiwan, the victims were forced to work six days a week, while they had to attend language lessons on Sundays, he added.

They never attended schools in Taiwan for formal academic activities.

"In fact, the purpose of the Mandarin lessons was to support their work. After spending 18 months in Taiwan, they realized that the promises made to them in Indonesia were never going to materialize," Agus said.

They were promised wages of around Rp 12.5 million per month, but only received Rp 2 million. Some of them were not paid at all, prompting them to report the case to police, Agus said.

Abu Dhabi

Police also arrested five people accused of illegally sending thousands of migrant workers to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, despite a government moratorium.

The suspects ran a labor export agency that had been operating since 2006.

"They founded a company with the initials AIM," Agus said. They have sent 14,400 workers to Abu Dhabi over the past 13 years. The Indonesian government imposed a moratorium on migrant workers going to the Middle East in 2015.

Agus said most of the victims were from West Nusa Tenggara and West Java. They were promised salaries of Rp 4.5 million per month, but many were not paid at all.

The five suspects were identified by the initials A.S., S.S.I., M.I, H.E. and M.A. 

They are facing up to 15 years' imprisonment under the 2007 Human Trafficking Law.

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