Five underage sex workers between the ages of 14 and 17 have been secured by Bali Police Criminal Investigation Unit after they carried out a raid on Fri, January 4 in the Sanur neighborhood. Working together with a children’s rights group, police were alerted to the illegal operation by Anggrek, a sixteen-year-old girl from Bekasi who had escaped the brothel through a window during the new year.
According to a report in Tribune Bali, Anggrek had been lured from her home in Java on the promise of lawful employment. “When she arrived, she was shocked to discover that she was not going be a waitress or a girl selling drinks, but she would be selling herself, and was immediately displayed in a glass window,” said Luh Putu Anggreni, the Chair of Denpasar Integrated Care Center for the Empowerment of Women and Children (P2PT2).
Thanks to a collaborative effort with Denpasar P2PT2, Bali Police have arrested two suspects in connection with trafficking the child prostitutes. Known only by their initials, NKS, 49, and NWK, 51, the pair were seized at an address on Jl. Sekar Waru, Sanur, as reported by IDN Times Bali.
Bali Police spokesman Hengky Widjadya confirmed that investigations had revealed that the five victims had initially been tempted to travel to Bali by agents in Bekasi, Java, who promised them jobs with monthly salaries of IDR5 million-IDR11 million (US$354.17-US$779.18), and comfortable housing.
“But when they arrived at the crime scene, the victims were instead sold as prostitutes, displayed and sexually exploited at a rate of IDR250,00-IDR300,000 (US$17.75–US$21.27) per hour,” he said to Tribun Bali.
In an official statement on Saturday, Ai Maryati Solihah, the Commissioner of Trafficking and Exploitation of Children from The Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI), expressed her appreciation towards Bali Police for dismantling the trafficking syndicate and closing down the operation. She explained that the victims were traumatized because they faced tremendous pressure at the place.
Luh Putu Anggreni of Denpasar P2PT2 explained some of these pressures. “All the elements of trafficking were present in this case. There is debt bondage, which means as soon as they arrive, they are in debt. The victims must repay their ticket costs as well as various other equipment costs,” she explained.
While the victims have been taken to a safehouse in Tabanan, the perpetrators face charges concerning human trafficking and a maximum 15-year sentence, according to local-language news site, Bisnis.