Komnas HAM Advocates Human Rights Approach in ASEAN Human Trafficking Cases

Badung, Bali - The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) emphasized the importance of a human rights-based approach in addressing human trafficking cases within ASEAN, highlighting the severe violation of basic human rights involved in these crimes. Komnas HAM chairperson Atnike Nova Sigiro made this statement on Tuesday during the ASEAN Regional Conference on human trafficking in Kuta, Bali.

According to Antara News Agency, various Indonesian agencies, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Manpower, Ministry of Women's Empowerment and Child Protection, the Witness and Victim Protection Agency (LPSK), and the police, are actively involved in combating human trafficking. She pointed out that human trafficking encompasses a range of abuses such as slavery, sexual exploitation, forced labor, and forced marriage, significantly impacting women, children, migrants, refugees, and people with disabilities.

Sigiro also highlighted that ASEAN is a region with a high flow of migrant workers, estimated at 10 million annually, half of whom are women. She stressed the necessity of equipping prospective workers with sufficient knowledge and protection before departure and ensuring their safety in destination countries.

The increase in human trafficking cases is alarming. Data from the Ministry of Women's Empowerment and Child Protection showed that the number of trafficking victims rose from 297 in 2018 to 752 in 2022. In June 2023, the National Police reported that 1,006 people fell victim to human trafficking, often ending up as illegal or domestic workers abroad.

Komnas HAM has also observed cases involving Indonesian citizens who became victims of human trafficking through scams or online fraud in Vietnam, Cambodia, and other ASEAN countries. Additionally, the commission dealt with trafficking cases of Thai and Cambodian nationals employed as ship crew members in Benjina, Aru Islands, Maluku, in 2015.

Given the transnational nature of human trafficking, Sigiro affirmed the necessity of a human rights approach that offers protection and prioritizes human rights, irrespective of jurisdiction, including for non-Indonesian citizens. This perspective underscores the need for comprehensive and cooperative efforts across ASEAN to combat human trafficking effectively.