5 Balinese women became human trafficking victims in Sri Lanka: officials

Illustration.
Illustration.

Five Balinese women who worked as spa therapists in Colombo, Sri Lanka, were reportedly the victims of labor exploitation and trafficking, Indonesian officials said.

The five women were identified by their initials: NH, NS, KRL, KS, and KR. All of them are aged between 28 and 35 years old.

Bali’s Labor and Energy and Mineral Resources Agency Head Ida Bagus Ngurah Arda said that the five women were initially apprehended by Sri Lankan immigration officers after they could not show proper work visas during an inspection.

Local outlets reported that their arrests took place in October 2021.

Ida Bagus added that the Indonesian Embassy in Colombo is already on the case and the five Balinese women are currently under their protection.

Separately, the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ citizens protection director Judha Nugraha confirmed that the five women were initially arrested for working illegally in Colombo. However, Indonesian authorities were able to represent them legally during their trials and provided them assistance using diplomatic means. 

They were all later freed by a local court although they still need to remain in Colombo to act as witnesses.

“[They are all] still needed as witnesses so that the charges against their employers as human traffickers can be concluded. Once the trials are over, we will bring them home,” Juda said, adding that the five Indonesian citizens are in good health and all accommodations and logistics are being handled by the Embassy.

Local authorities are currently investigating the case in Indonesia and are looking into the unnamed agent who recruited the women in the first place.

Read also: 25 Balinese men stranded in Turkey after being duped by shady recruiter

Read also: Suspected human trafficker from Bali arrested for attempting to smuggle 26 Indonesians to Australia

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