Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Traffickers who Sent Indonesian Job Seekers to Myanmar Reported to Police

Jayanty Nada Shofa
May 2, 2023 | 7:31 pm
Indonesian Migrant Worker Union (SBMI) chairman Hariyanto Suwarno speaks to reporters at the police
Indonesian Migrant Worker Union (SBMI) chairman Hariyanto Suwarno speaks to reporters at the police's Criminal Investigation Department (Bareskrim) building in Jakarta on May 2, 2023. The family members of the Indonesians who got trafficked to Myanmar have filed a police report against "P" and "A" for human trafficking. (JG Photo/Jayanty Nada Shofa)

Jakarta. The family members of the Indonesians who got trafficked to Myanmar on Tuesday filed a police report against two fake recruiters for human trafficking.

According to the Indonesian Migrant Worker Union (SBMI),  the scammers, known by their initials “P” and “A”, are both Indonesians who live in Bekasi, West Java. The union alleged that the ring has trafficked 20 Indonesian job-seekers into the conflict-ridden Myawaddy in Myanmar's Kayin State. 

“P” and “A” have taken advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic, during which people were desperately searching for jobs. Countries have also reopened their borders as the pandemic subsided, and this led to tons of job offers to work overseas.

The victims got tricked by offers of a high-paying job in Thailand. After arriving in Bangkok, the unsuspecting job seekers were taken “via non-procedural means” to Myanmar to work as cyber scammers. 


“But if we take a look at the process and the characteristics of the placement, this must be the work of an international syndicate, be it an agency or other institutions. This is for the police to investigate,” SBMI chairman Hariyanto Suwarno told reporters at the Criminal Investigation Agency (Bareskrim) building in Jakarta.

SBMI revealed that the victims would get punished if they tried to find any external sources of information or threatened to report the crime. Based on the images SBMI has received so far, punishments range from a hundred push-ups to electric shocks. 

“The perpetrators would even beat the victims with a table,” he said.

The union is also coordinating with the Foreign Affairs Ministry to bring the victims back to Indonesia. Hariyanto said, “Myanmar is in conflict today. The 1999 Law on International Relations states that [in case of danger,] an Indonesian representative is obliged to repatriate an Indonesian at the state’s expense.” 

SBMI suspected that there could be hundreds of Indonesians who had fallen prey to a similar scheme and were now still stuck in Myanmar. 

A family member said a week had passed since they last contacted the victims.

“So it’s possible that [the victims] are held captive and now tortured. Even the company had told them in Myawaddy that ‘no one would pick them up. Not even President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo himself.’ [...] And to this day, we still cannot get a hold of [the victims],” the family member told the press shortly before filing the report.

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