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Sex Trafficking Intervention

The Issue

Intervention, or rescue, is the very narrow focus of investigating suspected cases of child trafficking, rescuing victims, addressing their immediate needs, and prosecuting perpetrators. This part of combating modern-day slavery is closely linked with local law enforcement and government structures, though in many places non-government organizations (NGOs) assist law enforcement to maximize effectiveness and reach.

Young girl praying

Every child deserves an opportunity to live an abundant life.

The Weakest Link

In Bali and in the rest of Indonesia, intervention is the weakest link of the anti-trafficking chain. This is largely due to the fact that rescue relies on government recognition of the problem, police cooperation, facilitation of arrests, and prosecution of lawbreakers. The amount of government resources dedicated to rescuing victims is often directly related to the intensity of public pressure to make arrests and prosecute perpetrators.

Rescue is often limited by the allocation of resources, both human and financial, to combat the problem of child sex slavery.

According to the Indonesian National Commission for Child Protection, the government handled 289 cases of trafficked and exploited children in 2015. However, the most recent estimates by UNICEF indicate the number of enslaved children in Indonesia to be between 40,000 and 70,000.

Turning a Blind Eye

Specifically in Bali, the government and police structures are reluctant to publicly acknowledge the need for intervention. In April 2013, both the Balinese governor and the Minister of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection publicly stated that they were “grateful that there had been no reports from the island regarding human trafficking cases.”

This statement from government leaders is inconsistent with findings from the US Department of State which reports that the Indonesian Government has acknowledged that child prostitution and child sex tourism is a major problem, particularly in Bali and the Riau Islands.

In an insightful article that explores the impact of child sex tourism in Bali, one local anti-trafficking NGO leader explained that the local government and police force “feel they have the ‘Bali is Paradise Island’ image to defend — it makes them very sensitive about it.”

However, there are shades of hope on the horizon with the newest Bali Police Chief General Inspector specifying his intention to address organized crime including human trafficking.

Every child deserves an opportunity to live an abundant life that includes protection from predators.

The following organizations are committed to assisting intervention efforts: