Cablegate: President Signs Anti-Trafficking Law

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1. Summary. President Yudhoyono signed the comprehensive
Anti-Trafficking Law on April 19. Passed by Parliament on
March 20 (reftel), the law would have gone into effect
automatically but the President's signature was a signal of
his personal support of the law. NGOs which lobbied for over
two years for passage of a strong law said it includes all
the major elements needed to fight trafficking and that the
lawmaking process was noteworthy for inclusion of suggestions
from Indonesian civil society and international NGOs. End

2. Indonesia's new comprehensive Anti-Trafficking Law went
into effect with President Yudhoyono's signature on April 19:
Law Number 21 of 2007 on the Eradication of Criminal Acts of
Trafficking in Persons. Even without the President's
signature, it would have gone into effect automatically then
since it was 30 days after Parliament passed the law. The
President demonstrated his political will to fight
trafficking by penning the bill.

3. NGOs commented that one reason for success in producing a
strong law was the transparency in the drafting process. As
one leading Indonesian civil society expert on trafficking
said, the Parliamentary special committee which drafted the
bill was "most open and accommodating to inputs from
stakeholders, especially to concerns from both Indonesian
civil society and international organizations." In fact, the
law's passage was delayed from November 2006 until March 2007
because civil society was still not content with some
provisions as of late last year, and these were ironed out
during the intervening months. Three international NGOs that
worked with Indonesian civil society over two years to lobby
Parliament and the GOI for a strong law agreed that it has
strong provisions on all major elements needed to fight

Key Definitions Meet International Standards
4. Follows (paras 4-10) are consensus observations by the
International Organization for Migration (IOM), American
Center for International Labor Solid (ACILS) and The Asia
Foundation (TAF):

Key definitions are included in the main body of the bill,
including exploitation, sexual exploitation and debt bondage.
Law enforcement and prosecutors can clearly see that these
definitions have legal force, more so than if the terms were
defined in the elucidation appendix to the law, as originally
proposed. Some key definitions in the law include:

-- Definition of debt bondage corresponds well to the
international definition.

-- Child is defined as under age 18, consistent with
international definitions.

-- Definition of trafficking is consistent with international
standards, criminalizing both cross border and internal

-- There is a specific criminal provision for trafficking by
government officials.

-- Consent of victim is irrelevant to trafficking, consistent
with international standards.

-- Falsification of documents is criminalized.

-- One clause allows corporate entities to be charged with
trafficking, a stipulation which can be applied to illegal
manpower recruitment and placement agencies.

-- Not all illegal adoptions are considered trafficking, only
adoptions "with the intention of exploitation," consistent
with international standards.

Harsher Punishments for Trafficking
5. The law also provides harsher punishments for trafficking
than in previous Indonesian laws. Standard sentencing under
the Anti-Trafficking Law is a minimum of three years and a
maximum of 15 years in prison, and a minimum fine of 120
million rupiah (USD 13,200) to a maximum fine of 600 million
rupiah (USD 66,000). The sentence will be one-third higher
if the act causes serious injury, mental disturbance,
infectious disease, pregnancy or endangers life. The same is
true if the act is committed against a child (under age 18,
including unborn babies). If the act results in death, the
perpetrator is subject to between five years and life in

JAKARTA 00001130 002 OF 002

prison and a fine of between 200 million rupiah (USD 22,000)
and five billion (USD 550,000). Government officials guilty
of trafficking are liable to a one-third higher sentence. By
comparison, previous laws provided less harsh punishments:
maximum six years in prison for trafficking, nine years for
rape -- maxiumum12 years if the rape resulted in injury;
maximum 15 years if rape resulted in death. The
Anti-Trafficking Law notably provides minimum sentences,
although it will be up to the court's discretion to choose
between the more lenient three years and the harsher 15
years, depending on circumstances.

Victim and Witness Protection
6. There is an entire chapter on Protection of Witnesses and
Victims, with confidentiality principles for witnesses and
victims and stipulation that victims do not have to testify
in court; they can testify remotely by audio or video.
Victims and witnesses have rights to be accompanied by an
advocate or other support person and to be kept informed on
the progress in the case. Children receive special
provisions during court proceedings and victims receive
special police services during investigation.

Public Services for Victims
7. The law provides reasonably good stipulations for
services to be provided by the government, including return,
reintegration and basic services such as medical attention.
The law orders the government to provide mechanisms for such
services. A major drawback to this part of the law is that
it requires the victim to report the crime to police in order
to receive these services. This does not follow
international standards and IOM had lobbied strongly against
that requirement. The law does cover services for foreign
nationals trafficked to or within Indonesia, although it does
not poovide for the possibility of a long stay during a
criminal proceeding nor for the possibility that the victim
might not want to return to country of origin; i.e., the
question of the right to stay or work in Indonesia is not

8. The law provides for restitution by the perpetrator to
the victim upon decision by the court, an unanticipated and
welcome addition to the law. The law provides for freezing
of bank accounts during investigation but not for other means
to get at the traffickers assets.

9. The law has strong provisions calling for overall efforts
by the GOI to prevent and address trafficking through task
forces, budget allocation, international cooperation and
opening avenues to civil soi(ety to engage in these efforts.
The law does little to ensure that budgets will be allocated.

Deficiencies in Law
10. The requirement that victims report their crime to
police in order to receive services was the biggest negative
pointed out by NGOs, in that all victims need services but
many do not want to file charges. A second major question is
defining which ministries are responsible for providing which

services. Both of these issues could be resolvedt hrough
implementing regulations. Finally, the Ministry of Women's
Empowerment will be responsible for drafting implementing
regulations, but will require strong cooperation from the law
enforcement agencies if the law is to be effective.

Next Steps
11. Drafting of implementing regulations and actual
implementation of the law will be the next crucial steps.
Also crucial will be socializing the law among law
enforcement agencies, other government agencies, and civil
society so that the law is known and understood. Educating
officials and the public at the local levels will be
important because of Indonesia's decentralized system.


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