Exploitation of Children in General
Child exploitation refers to using children to benefit others, satisfaction or profit, which often results in children’s unfair, cruel and harmful treatment. Elucidation of Article 13 paragraph (1) letter b of the Child Protection Law states that exploitation treatment includes exploiting, using, or extorting children for personal, family, or group gain. In general, there are two recognized forms of child exploitation:
Sexual exploitation: abuse of a vulnerable position, power, influence or use of a child’s beliefs for sexual purposes, including obtaining economic, social or political benefits from child exploitation and personal sexual gratification. Example: child prostitution, child trafficking, child pornography, child sexual slavery etc.
According to ECPAT International, sexual Exploitation of children is a basic violation of children’s human rights which consists of sexual violence by adults and the provision of monetary rewards or something that is valued in money where children are made sex objects and commercial objects. In the elucidation of Article 66 of the Child Protection Law, it is stated that what is meant by “sexually exploited” is all forms of use of the sexual organs or other organs of children for profit, but not only in prostitution and obscene activities.In various human rights instruments today, sexual Exploitation of children is further grouped into five forms of criminal acts, namely:
Offering services or direct services to a child to perform sexual actions for money or other rewards.
Any display including photographs, visuals, audio, writing or otherwise involving children in sexual activity.
- Child Trafficking for Sexual purposes
The process of recruiting, harboring, and accepting children for sexual Exploitation.
Sexual Exploitation of children by people who travel from one place to another. Often involves the use of various accommodation, transportation and tourism services that can facilitate contact with children. This allows the perpetrator to remain invisible in the community and the surrounding environment.
Marriage involving children and adolescents under the age of 18 may be considered a form of exploitation if a child is used for sexual purposes to obtain goods or payments in the form of money or services.
Next, the newest form of crime is online sexual exploitation of a child (OSEC). OSEC is all sexual exploitation committed against children online, including grooming, sextortion, sexting, child sexual abuse material (CSAM), and live broadcasting of sexual violence against children.
- Economic exploitation: the use of children in work or activities for the benefit of others, but not limited to child labour. Economic Exploitation is related to certain benefits derived from the production, distribution, and consumption of goods/services (supply chain) in which children are employed in the cycle. The importance of this material impacts the economy of a certain unit, both the state, society and family. For example, Child Domestic Workers (PRT), Child Soldiers (involved in armed conflict), child slavery, use of children for criminal purposes (drug dealers), involvement of children in dangerous work etc.
In the explanation of Article 66 of the Child Protection Law, it is stated that what is meant by “economically exploited” is an act without the child’s consent which includes prostitution, forced labor or services, slavery, oppression, extortion, use of physical/sexual reproductive organs to be transferred or transplanted by another party. For material gain.
It should also be understood that exploitation is different from violence. The exploitation of children occurs in the form of acts of violence where the perpetrator aims to obtain commercial/economic benefits. In the case of child exploitation, children are not only sex objects but also commodities to obtain money, goods, or services for the perpetrators and other people involved.
In principle, every child has the right to be protected from exploitation in any form that harms him. This is the obligation of parents, guardians, or other parties such as the government and related state institutions. This principle has been accepted both through international legal instruments (Convention on the Rights of the Child) and national legal instruments (Child Protection Law) and other regulations.
Facts of Child Exploitation in Indonesia
According to the 2016-2020 Child Complaints Case Data published by KPAI on its official website, there are 29 cases of child prostitution, 23 cases of child commercial sex exploitation (ESKA), 54 cases of child labor exploitation, 11 cases of illegal adoption, and 4 cases of child commercial sex recruitment (pimp)
Furthermore, KPAI recorded 35 cases of sexual exploitation, child trafficking, and child labor during the January-April 2021 period. Of these, 60% of them were done online, where the MiChat application was the most widely used medium (41%). Its position is followed by WhatsApp (21%) and Facebook (17%)
- The 1945 Constitution;
- Law Number 23 of 2002 concerning Child Protection has been amended twice, namely Law Number 35 of 2014 and Government Regulation in place of Law Number 1 of 2016. The Government Regulation is now stipulated as a law through Law Law Number 17 of 2016 (“Child Protection Law“);
- Law Number 4 of 1979 concerning Child Welfare;
- Law Number 39 of 1999 concerning Human Rights;
- Law Number 13 of 2003 concerning Manpower as last amended by Law Number 11 of 2020 concerning Job Creation (“Labor Law“);
- Law Number 1 of 2000 concerning Ratification of ILO Convention No. 182 concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour;
- Law No. 20/1999 on Ratification of ILO Convention No. 138 concerning the Minimum Age for Admission to Employment;
- Law Number 11 of 2012 concerning Ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child concerning Children Trafficking, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography;
- Law Number 11 of 2012 concerning the Juvenile Criminal Justice System;
- Law Number 44 of 2008 concerning Pornography (“Pornography Law“);
- Law Number 11 of 2008 concerning Electronic Transaction Information as last amended by Law Number 19 of 2016 (“UU ITE“);
- Law Number 13 of 2006 concerning the Protection of Witnesses and Victims as last amended by Law Number 31 of 2014 (“Law No. 13/2006“);
- Law Number 23 of 2004 concerning Elimination of Domestic Violence;;
- Law Number 8 of 1981 concerning Criminal Procedure Code;
- The Criminal Code (“KUHP“);
- Government Regulation Number 78 of 2021 concerning Special Protection for Children (“PP No. 78/2021“);
- Government Regulation Number 43 of 2017 concerning the Implementation of Restitution for Children Who Become Victims of Crimes (“PP No. 43/2017“);
- Government Regulation Number 7 of 2018 concerning the Provision of Compensation, Restitution, and Assistance to Witnesses and Victims as lastly amended by Government Regulation Number 35 of 2020 (“PP No. 7/2018”);
- Presidential Decree Number 36 of 1990 concerning Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child;
- Presidential Decree Number 59 of 2002 concerning the National Action Plan for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor;
- Regulation of the National Police Chief Number 10 of 2007 concerning the Organization and Work Procedure of the Women and Children Service Unit (PPA Unit) within the Indonesian National Police (“PerKapolri No. 10/2007“)
In the implementation of child protection, law enforcers ensure that victims receive justice and
recovery. Some of the laws that are often used, they are:
- Child Protection Law: Article 13, Article 15, Article 20, Article 59, Article 66, Article 76 paragraph (I), Article 88.
- Criminal Code: Article 281, Article 282, Article 283, Article 287, Article 289, Article 290, Article 292, Article 293, Article 294, Article 295, Article 301.
- Law no. 39/1999: Article 52, Article 58, Article 63, Article 64, Article 65.
- Ketenagakerjaan Law: Article 68, Article 69, Article 70, Article 71, Article 72, Article 73, Article 74, Article 75, Article 185.
- ITE Law: Article 27 paragraph (1), Article 45 paragraph (1), Article 52 paragraph (1).
- Pornography Law: Article 4, Article 5, Article 11, Article 12, Article 16, Article 34, Article 35, Article 36, Article 37.
Institutions - Case Reporting and Law Enforcement
Case Reporting and Law Enforcement
Case Reporting to Police or Other Supporting Institutions
When a child becomes a victim of sexual and/or economic exploitation, the family can report the case to the police. In addition, cases can also be reported to the government agencies responsible for child protection and women’s empowerment and private institutions dealing with child protection issues.
Victims, relatives, and anyone who has experienced, seen/witnessed an alleged criminal act of child exploitation can report it to the police at all levels (Police Headquarters, Polda, Polres and Polsek). Parties who intend to report can immediately go to the Integrated Police Service Center to submit a report or contact the Police Call Center 110, which receives reports 24 hours, seven days a week.
Furthermore, the police will first investigate to determine whether the reported act is a criminal act or not. Suppose the reported action is proven to meet the elements of a criminal act. In that case, the police investigator/deputy will carry out an investigation process based on the police report and Investigation Order.
Since 2007, the Indonesian National Police has established the Women and Children Service Unit (UPPA), which is tasked with providing services in the form of protection for women and children who are victims of crime and law enforcement for the perpetrators. Investigating Unit officers under this UPPA will conduct investigations and investigations of perpetrators of crimes against women and children. When victims and/or witnesses report child exploitation cases, they must be placed in a special examination room (RPK). If the victim and/or witness is traumatized/stressed, the investigator must take them to P2TP2A or the nearest hospital for treatment before continuing the interview.
Other Supporting Institutions
Suppose the victim is reluctant to report child exploitation cases to the police because of trauma, shame, fear, and discomfort. In that case, the victim can report it to other supporting institutions that are responsible for protecting children and women, both government and private, including::
- Integrated Service Center for Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection (P2TP2A)
P2TP2A, both at the Central, Provincial, and Regency/City levels, provides integrated services to witnesses and victims of child exploitation crimes. The aim is to obtain complaint/identification services, health rehabilitation, social rehabilitation, repatriation, legal assistance, and social reintegration as regulated in Article 20 PP No. 78/2021.
Victims can directly contact the local P2TP2A to report cases of child exploitation. In addition to victim complaints, P2TP2A can also follow up on handling child trafficking cases from the referral process or through outreach. Furthermore, P2TP2A will take care of the victim identification process, including screening, assessment, and intervention plans as needed. P2TP2A will also forward cases reported to the police for legal processing and assist victims starting from protection, the process of carrying out the investigation and investigation BAP in the police, the prosecution process at the prosecutor’s office, and the examination process court. This includes legal assistance to obtain the compensation processed by the police, such as material and non-material losses suffered by the victim, collected and attached to the case file.
Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI)
Victims can also report cases of child exploitation to KPAI. This report can be done online or offline. Online reports are carried out by filling in the “Online Complaints” data on the KPAI official website. In addition, the complainant can also contact KPAI directly through the complaint telephone number listed on the KPAI official website — (+62)02131901556. Furthermore, KPAI will process cases of child exploitation that are reported to the authorities, namely the police. KPAI official website: Formulir Pengaduan | Komisi Perlindungan Anak Indonesia (KPAI)
- Witness and Victim Protection Agency (LPSK)
Victims can apply for protection through several available channels, including sending an application to the LPSK office address, submitting an application via the LPSK Protection Application Application (available on Playstore), sending Whatsapp messages and email, or contacting the LPSK hotline directly. Detailed reporting information can be accessed on the official website of LPSK: Lembaga Perlindungan Saksi dan Korban (lpsk.go.id).
LPSK immediately examines the application on the report submitted and provides a written decision no later than seven days from the submission. After that, LPSK will provide protection and assistance to victims/witnesses in the form of legal assistance, health rehabilitation, social rehabilitation, repatriation, and social reintegration. Before that, witnesses and/or victims must sign a statement of willingness to follow the terms and conditions of LPSK.
- Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
Victims also have the opportunity to report child exploitation cases to NGOs that deal with child protection issues, such as Rumah Faye. NGOs that know or receive reports related to child exploitation cases must immediately follow up on these reports to the local police.
Rumah Faye itself has a program for the release of child victims of Exploitation whose activities include: receiving referrals for cases and victims through cooperation and coordination between the government, NGOs, and law enforcement officers; assisting victims in legal processes such as receiving reports/complaints, assessing victims, assisting the BAP process, mediation, case proceedings (if necessary), assisting the post-mortem process, handling cases, assisting victims in testifying in court, and monitoring the course of the case until the decision is made; conduct field assessments to police stations and vulnerable areas.
Police Investigation Stage
After the Investigation Warrant is issued, the police will issue an Investigation Commencement Notice (SPDP). This SPDP is then sent to the public prosecutor, the complainant/victim, and the reported party within a maximum of 7 days after the issuance of the Investigation Warrant. In this investigation process, the police will examine and collect evidence on cases of child exploitation through examination of suspects, arrests, detention, examination of witnesses, examination of experts, and other actions as needed.
Then, the investigator will make an official report on the implementation of these actions and submit the case file to the public prosecutor to proceed to the prosecution stage. If the investigation process is considered complete, the suspect and the evidence will also be submitted to the public prosecutor
After receiving the case file from the investigator, the public prosecutor will examine the file and the evidence provided. If it is judged that there are missing things, the public prosecutor must provide instructions to the investigator to improve and/or complete the results of his investigation. Furthermore, the public prosecutor makes an indictment and delegates the case to the court. At this stage of the prosecution, the prosecutor must announce the rights of the victim.
Examination Stage in the Court Session by the Panel of Judges
After the case file has been transferred by the public prosecutor to the district court, the panel of judges will examine and decide on the case in court. In principle, the judge may only impose a sentence if there are at least 2 valid pieces of evidence that the judge believes that a crime has actually occurred and the defendant is guilty.
Expert’s testimony is an important evidence in cases of child exploitation. This is due to the difficulty of proving the perpetrators’ act–allegedly putting children in sexual services for economic reasons, such as child prostitution.
The examination of witnesses and/or victims of the trial for the criminal act of child exploitation is carried out in a closed session in order to protect the best interests of the child. They must be accompanied by their parents, guardians, foster parents, advocates, or other companions.
Examination of witnesses and/or child victims in court proceedings must be carried out without the presence of the accused. In addition, the examination, with the approval of the judge, can also be carried out outside the court session by recording. During the process, the prosecutor does not wear a toga or official uniform.
Institutions - Victim Recovery
Several institutions that play a role in the victim recovery process, both in the government and the private sector are:
- Office of Women’s Empowerment, Child Protection, Population Control, and Family Planning (DP3AP2KB)The DP3AP2KB office established at the district/city level has the function of collecting data and reporting cases of child exploitation as well as coordinating with related parties for referrals, including victims’ recovery efforts. After conducting an assessment related to the needs of the victim, DP3AP2KB will coordinate with the head of the department/UPTD/P2TP2A to provide adequate services.
- Integrated Service Center for Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection (P2TP2A)
P2TP2A will carry out a victim identification process which includes screening, assessment, and a recovery intervention plan based on the needs of the victim. There are three types of rehabilitation/assistance provided to victims based on the results of screening or assessment, namely:
- Medical Rehabilitation: Victims who got hurt or sick must get medical rehabilitation services as soon as possible. Either for non-critical services, semi-critical services, critical services, and medicolegal services depending on the situation. The medical record must be as extensive as possible and record the results of the victim’s examination because it can be used as evidence in court.
- Social Rehabilitation: Victims who do not suffer physical injuries and are identified as those requiring counseling will enter the stage of social rehabilitation. This stage includes the creation of a social contract/agreement with the victim for approval to receive social services, initial counseling, follow-up counseling, mental and spiritual guidance, mentoring, referrals and home visits as a preparation for the family and the environment to receive victims through coordination with the relevant social services.
- Legal Assistance: This is done after the medical rehabilitation process, social rehabilitation, or can be given directly if the victim does not need other services. Assistance is provided starting from the protection of witnesses/victims, the process of carrying out case report (BAP) investigations and investigations in the police, the prosecution process at the prosecutor’s office to the examination process in court. This also includes legal assistance to obtain compensation for victims who are processed by the police, namely material and non-material losses that are collected and attached to the case file.
Victims Repatriation Process
In addition to rehabilitation services and legal assistance, P2TP2A also assists in the repatriation of victims to their families of origin or replacement families. This repatriation is carried out based on the will and consent of the victim while still prioritizing protection services and fulfilling their needs. P2TP2A provides assistance to victims who have received services and will be returned to their previous or new families.
Victim’s Social Reintegration Process
The final process of services provided by P2TP2A to victims is social reintegration, where the victim is reunited with the family of origin or new family. The union seeks to ensure that victims can be accepted back by their families and communities. During the process, economic and social empowerment as well as skills training are also provided so that victims can earn economically. In addition, victims who had dropped out of school will receive educational assistance, further monitoring/guidance and home visits to monitor their condition after the process of unification with their families.
- Non-governmental Organization (NGO / LSM)
Several NGOs dealing with child protection issues also have rehabilitation programs for victims, one of which is Rumah Faye. In its rehabilitation program, Rumah Faye provides various services such as a safe house (shelter), medical examination (HIV, AIDS, STI, etc.), counseling (individual and group) as well as psychological therapy with a psychologist or professional psychiatrist. Furthermore, survivors received education on child protection, child rights, reproductive health, school subjects and life skills (crafts, hydroponics, make-up, cooking, and pottery) before being united with their families. Not only that, Rumah Faye also carried out a monitoring process for 6 months to ensure that survivors did not become victims again.
The Rights of Victims
Rights of Victims (and/or Witnesses) in the Legal Process
In connection with the ongoing legal process, the children’s rights are regulated in Article 5 of Law no. 13/2006 as follows:
- obtain protection for personal, family, and property security and be free from threats related to the testimony that will be, is being, or has been given;
- participate in the process of selecting and determining the form of protection and security support;
- provide information without pressure;
- get a translator;
- free from ‘trap’ questions;
- obtain information regarding the development of the case;
- obtain information regarding court decisions;
- obtain information in the event that the convict is released;
- identity is kept confidential;
- get a new identity;
- obtain temporary residence;
- get a new place of residence;
- obtain reimbursement of transportation costs as needed;
- get legal advice;
- obtain temporary living expenses assistance until the protection period ends; and/or
- get assistance.
The above rights will be granted to victims and/or witnesses of criminal acts in certain cases in accordance with the LPSK’s decision.
In addition, victims and/or witnesses who feel that they are in a very threatened position can give testimony without being present in court with the approval of the judge. Testimony is given in writing which is submitted before an authorized official or through electronic means accompanied by an authorized official.
Victims, witnesses, and reporters cannot be prosecuted by law, both criminal and civil, for reports, testimonies that will be, are being, or have been given.
Victim’s Rights After Legal Process
- Compensation Rights
Compensation is provided by the state when the perpetrator is unable to fulfill his responsibilities to the victim or his family. The application is submitted in writing to the human rights court through the Witness and Victim Protection Agency (LPSK) (Article 2 PP No. 7/2018).
- Restitution Rights
Restitution is different from compensation, where restitution is compensation given to the victims or their families by the perpetrators or third parties. As regulated in Article 2 paragraphs (1) and (2) PP No. 43/2017, every child victim of a crime (including economic and/or sexual exploitation) has the right to restitution. Restitution in the form of: (a) compensation for loss of property; (b) compensation for suffering as a result of a crime; and/or (c) reimbursement of medical and/or psychological treatment costs.
A request for restitution is submitted by the victim, either before or after the court’s decision has permanent legal force. The application submitted after the court decision has permanent legal force can be submitted through the LPSK.
Prior to the court decision, the application must be submitted in writing in the Indonesian language on stamped paper at the stage of investigation or prosecution. Applications can also be submitted through LPSK no later than three days after notification of the rights of children who are victims by investigators or public prosecutors. Furthermore, investigators or public prosecutors review the request for restitution. If it is complete, the public prosecutor will include a request for restitution in their claim.
Within 7 days from the receipt of a court decision with permanent legal force, the public prosecutor will submit a copy containing the provision of restitution to the perpetrator and the victim. The perpetrator is obliged to provide restitution to the victim no later than 30 days after receiving the copy and then report it to the court and the prosecutor’s office.
- Rehabilitation Rights
Victims have the right to obtain health rehabilitation, social rehabilitation, and repatriation or social reintegration from the government if they experience physical or psychological suffering as a result of the criminal act of exploitation. The right to rehabilitation is proposed by the victim or victim’s family, friend of the victim, police, companion volunteer or social worker after reporting the case. The request for rehabilitation is then forwarded by the police to related institutions such as DP3AP2KB, P2TP2A and victim recovery NGOs.
In the process of legal protection or fulfilling the rights of child victims of exploitation, there are several challenges faced both internally and externally.
- Internal Challenges
- Victim: There is a refusal from the victim to receive assistance because of the assumption that exploitation is not something that is against the law. Some victims also have difficulty expressing their feelings and describing their own condition. In some cases, the victim’s attitude is very closed, making it difficult for related parties to intervene, both for legal assistance and rehabilitation. For cases of child exploitation involving the abuse of hazardous substances, the victim needs emergency treatment.
- NGO (Rumah Faye): The imbalance between the number of workers and victims makes it difficult for NGOs to provide extensive assistance. Rumah Faye itself currently has 10 staff at Batam Safe House with 15 children in the recovery process.
- External Challenges
- Family: The existence of pressure, intimidation, and threats from the perpetrators made families afraid to report cases to law enforcement officers. In addition, there are still many parents who feel ashamed of the negative stigma received from the surrounding community.
- Perpetrator: Many perpetrators often use pressure, intimidation, or threats so that victims of exploitation and their families are afraid to report cases to law enforcement officers.
- Community: Lack of public understanding of the crime of child exploitation. This includes public perceptions that justify the existence of child labor, reporting systems or procedures that are not yet known with certainty and clarity, conservative mindsets (stigma/labeling that child victims of sexual exploitation are not sacred and should be avoided).
- Other related actors:
- Lack of fund allocation and limited human resources. The lack of allocation of funds related to handling exploitation cases from the central government to the regions has an impact on the lack of human resources. In fact, human resources have an important role in the process of advocacy, mediation, rehabilitation, and the preparation of child development programs. Lack of funds also makes it difficult for the agency to expand its reach. One of the problems that often occurs is the rehabilitation process in the form of Initial Psychological Support (DPA), which is often missed because human resources prioritize the case advocacy process. This is very unfortunate, because DPA is one of the important processes in the psychological recovery of children. The agency also cannot recruit professional psychologists or social workers to help optimize the treatment process.
- Not a government development priority program. The handling of cases of child exploitation is not one of the main priorities in the government’s development program. Leaders in government institutions still have the perception that the wider the scope of work of the relevant agencies, the more cases will be revealed. The high number of complaints and the number of cases handled could make leaders feel like they have failed in human resource development. Therefore, the political thinking of the leaders could hinder the transparency of data on child exploitation cases, which has an impact on the allocation of funds.
- Schools: There are still many schools that do not adopt the child perspective, the victim could be expelled by the school or the school is reluctant to accept the child back. This further hampers the process of social reintegration of children into their environment. Not to mention, school institutions are less cooperative to accept back, thus children could face difficulties in obtaining basic education.
- Courts: There are still many courts that do not adopt or consider a child perspective, consequently the victims could feel pressured.
Rumah Faye Experiences
Maya (not her real name), was not even 10 years old when she was caught stealing IDR 5,000,000 from a store. Maya was then taken to the local police station. Because she was still a child, the police immediately entrusted Maya to the Integrated Service Center for Women and Children Empowerment (or P2TP2A in Indonesian) for recovery. Based on the assessment results on Maya, she stole that money because her father told her to. Every morning, Maya has to leave the house to steal and bring the stolen goods to her parents to pay for their lives. Maya’s father does not have a permanent job, so they are always on the poverty line. Based on the results of the investigation conducted by the police and the assessment, P2TP2A and the police declared Maya a victim of child exploitation. Then P2TP2A referred Maya to Rumah Faye for recovery.
Rumah Faye then accepts Maya to live in our safehouse and undergo the Recovery Program. The first thing that Rumah Faye did was look at the chronology of cases and the results of the initial assessment that had been carried out. Based on these results, Rumah Faye carried out further assessments related to the client’s condition that had not been successfully obtained from the previous assessment process. After that, there was a physical and psychological examination.
According to the results of further assessments and examinations, it is known that Maya is experiencing economic exploitation. For a year, Maya was forced to steal every day by her father so that it became a regular part of her life. Rumah Faye realizes that the recovery steps taken will not work if the family does not support Maya to recover. Finally, Rumah Faye reported Maya’s biological father to the police.
The investigation conducted by the police shows that Maya has one younger sister and one older brother. They have no other siblings who can provide care for their little sister. So if the case is continued until there is law enforcement, it is sure that Maya’s sister and brother will lose their parents. But on the other hand, Maya’s biological father has been exploiting these children. Therefore, what was done by the police and agreed by Rumah Faye was to use mediation.
The result of the mediation is that Maya will receive a Recovery Program service from Rumah Faye. Parents will receive counseling services and they could visit Maya to provide care and explain that the act of stealing is wrong, that it should not be done, and that it violates the law. Weekly visits and meetings conducted by Maya’s parents must be carried out intensively for a certain period of time.
Throughout her time in our safehouse, Maya gets the various services she needs. Maya learns to read, write, knit, do weekly counseling, and do many other positive activities. Maya also learns to adapt to being a child according to her age. After a certain period of time, the Recovery Program for Maya ended and she was ready to be reintegrated into the family.
For three months since Maya was reintegrated, Rumah Faye has carried out a monitoring process to keep an eye on Maya’s progress. In addition, Rumah Faye also provides routine food assistance to the family.