H.E. Dr. Meutia Hatta Swasono
State Minister for Women Empowerment
Before International Conference on
Trafficking Women and Girls: Meeting the Challenge Together
New York, 5 March 2007
Let me congratulate you, Mr. Chairperson, for this useful initiative. Indonesia fully supports the need for a collective sense of urgency in addressing the inhuman consequences of trafficking in women and girls.
The determination and commitment of the Government of Indonesia to fight against and eliminate trafficking in women and girls is clearly confirmed by its adoption of various normative measures to deal with this scourge, including National Plans of Action on the Elimination of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and on the Elimination of Trafficking in Women and Children. Apart from those measures, the Indonesian Penal Code has been amended to include articles on trafficking.
In line with those measures, the Government has formulated general policies in the following areas to enable the relevant State agencies to combat trafficking:
- legal norms and legal actions to be taken against perpetrators
- social rehabilitation and reintegration for victims
- advocacy, IEC for the benefit of families and the wider community
- increased coordination and synergy among related agencies
Other measures have been taken to prevent trafficking. They include the provision of credit schemes for poor families without collateral; assistance to the children of poor families to enable them to participate in school operational activities; scholarship for girls; establishment of community learning centres; economic empowerment of women; gender sensitivity training; and a publicity campaign to combat trafficking using electronic and printed media.
For those who have already suffered the indignity of trafficking, their rehabilitation and social reintegration is being accomplished through cross-sector cooperation. The Ministry for Women Empowerment has signed an MoU with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Social Affairs and the State Police on the establishment of Integrated Services Centres at public and police hospitals nationwide. These centres provide counselling, health services and legal assistance to victims of trafficking and violence. Similar facilities have also been established by concerned NGOs.
To strengthen coordination among stakeholders and to intensify work for the elimination of trafficking in women and girls, Indonesia has set up a Task Force consisting of the relevant government agencies, NGOs, as well as police and private agencies. An Act on Anti-Trafficking including trafficking in women and girls, which provides for substantial punishment and sanctions against perpetrators, is scheduled to be adopted by the Parliament this month. With this strategic measure in place, it is hoped court cases dealing with trafficking will be greatly expedited.
Aware of the trans-boundary nature of this problem, Indonesia is also actively engaged in regional cooperation to combat trafficking. Part of the specialized training being given to law enforcers results from regional cooperation between the State Police and their counterparts in Malaysia, Philippines, Australia, Saudi Arabia and Thailand. In addition, a General Border Committee, with representatives from the three participating States, namely, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, has been set up to strengthen cross border supervision. Indonesia has also ratified the Bangkok Accord and Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Women in 1998. This is a regional agreement to combat trafficking in women.
Another important regional initiative is the “Bali Process” on people smuggling and trafficking and related transnational crimes. It was launched by Indonesia and Australia in 2002. This voluntary, non-binding Asia-Pacific grouping has developed links and cooperation with initiatives from other regions and its activities are reviewed annually by senior officials. Its most recent meeting, on victims support, was held in Bali in November 2006 and there will be a joint Bali and Helsinki Process meeting in Bangkok this month, March 2007.
Not only does Indonesia value bilateral cooperation, but we are calling for the strengthening of regional and international cooperation to cope with and combat difficulties linked to trafficking in women and girls. This cooperation should be rooted in the sharing of best practices, lessons learnt and the provision of technical assistance; in bilateral and regional agreements; and in the mainstreaming of gender in development plans. I thank you.