Oration on Child Protection by Secretary of Batam City Children Forum

Greetings, may peace be upon you.

Hello everyone, let me introduce myself. My name is Weni Rogate Silalahi from the Batam City Children Forum, who will deliver an oration on End the Violence Against Children in Batam City.

Batam city is the place where I was born, grew up, and developed. I love this city because of its diverse population and beautiful nature. I like the beaches a lot. But unfortunately, I often hear that there are still many violent cases against children in Batam City. Moreover, some children are trafficked for exploitation and child prostitution.

At the end of 2019, there were two girls trafficked to Batam from Jakarta for prostitution. One is 11 years old and the other is 15 years old who were my age. The two girls were offered a job at a restaurant, but upon arrival in Batam, they worked in a karaoke serving male guests instead. This made me sad and I questioned myself, “why are these two girls must get trafficked?”. They should be at school, not at work.

Child trafficking is the same as modern slavery. Perpetrators deprive children of their independence and freedom. Children who are supposed to play, learn, be beloved, and be cherished are tortured and suffer. Of course, child trafficking will have an impact on the children themselves. They will be traumatized, afraid, depressed, anxious, lack self-esteem, at greater risk infected by sexually transmitted infections, and some even die.

Children are vulnerable to becoming victims of violence primarily because of economic problems, unharmonious families, and dropping out of school, especially in a pandemic situation. Some of our families have lost their jobs, thus adding to the burden of thoughts.

Ladies, gentlemen, and all my friends,

We often hear these stories, but we consider it just an ordinary matter. That is probably because the victims are not our brothers, sisters, or our own family. We often ignore the voices of children and ignore those who are weak and powerless. Silence is the same as allowing crimes to happen to children and women.

So what can we do? 

We can take a role starting from ourselves. We help victims to be able to articulate what happened to them. Thus will reduce the burden of suffering. As a forum for children’s participation, the Children Forum is going to campaign for #StopViolence. We invite our friends, brothers, parents, and teachers to protect our children from violence. No more victims. Every child is created so special to be the next generation of the nation.

On Kartini Day, let’s unite our intention to voice the voices of Indonesian children so that they can be heard and trusted. Happy Kartini Day, and Greetings, Indonesian Children.

(The oration delivered online at the Campaign and Declaration of the Protection of Children and Women in Nongsa District on April 21, 2021)

Orator: Weni Rogate Silalahi (15 tahun)
Editor: Lina Yanti
Proofreader: Mellysa Anastasya
Translator: Hasna Fatina