Denpasar, Bali (ANTARA) - Contract marriages have become the new modus operandi of individuals looking to grab victims for human trafficking and modern slavery, Indonesia's Deputy Minister of Women Empowerment and Child Protection Vennetia Ryckerens Danes said. "The modus is much more related to sexual exploitation, prostitution and modern slavery. The newest modus is related to contract marriage," she told journalists after speaking at the opening session of a seminar on preventing human trafficking in Denpasar Thursday.
Contract marriages had always been rampant in Indonesia in which several Indonesian women were married to Chinese men and then became victims of human trafficking in China.
"These unregistered marriages do not involve the government. But, for the Chinese Government, the married couples are regarded as legal because they are married. Once they move to China, Indonesian women do not play the role of wives. Instead, they are abused and forced to work like slaves," she said.
The victims of these contracts and unregistered marriages often escape from their homes owing to the abusive acts. They attempted to run away and find refuge in the Indonesian consulates, Danes said.
These victims of human trafficking were often rescued and assisted by Indonesian students in China. "At present, there are two Indonesian women who have yet to meet with the officials of the Indonesian consulates but their husbands have persuaded them to return," she said.
Rescuing the Indonesian women who fall victim to human trafficking is not easy because it needs the diplomatic processes of the two countries and a lot of money, Danes said.
Regarding the cases of contract and unregistered marriages involving Chinese men, the Embassy of Indonesia in Beijing had reportedly repatriated some 40 Indonesian women trafficked to several regions in China in 2019.
The year 2019 bore witness to the maximum complaints as well as the accommodation of bride trafficking cases and victims in comparison with the previous years.
Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi held several meetings with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi to deliberate on this case.
"What matters is how all victims will be returned to Indonesia, safely and smoothly," Indonesian Ambassador to China Djauhari Oratmangun said recently.
Chinese men marry Indonesian women after paying a "broker" some Rp100 million. Wedding processes are conducted in Indonesia, and later, the grooms bring their wives to China.
In China, the wives are mistreated, and they escape to seek support from the embassy in Beijing. Some of them hitchhiked on trucks to undertake trips spanning hundreds of kilometers.
The repatriation process encountered some hurdles, as the husbands also filed complaints with the police of their wives going missing.
Owing to the seriousness of the cases of sexual exploitation and abuse in many countries around the world, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has warned that these crimes will not be tolerated.
As published in the United Nations' official website, Guterres said, "Let us declare in one voice: We will not tolerate anyone committing or condoning sexual exploitation and abuse. We will not let anyone cover up these crimes with the UN flag. ... Let us make zero tolerance a reality."
Source: Antara News