Strangely, and although the consensus on the issue is accepted internationally, sex tourism is not a crime in Indonesia since the crime as such is not defined in the legal framework.

As a result, Indonesia is seeing no respite from the increase in sex crimes among minors, both girls and boys.

The Indonesian Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection (KPPPA) recorded a sharp increase in human trafficking cases during the pandemic with 256 victims in 2021, compared to 213 in 2020 and 111 in 2019.

Child exploitation, including the use of minors in criminal activities and hazardous work, is also on the rise, with more than 165 cases reported in 2021 – up from 133 in 2020 and 106 in 2019, with most victims coming from from West Java and East Nusa. Provinces of Tenggara.

According to the most recent figures available from Australian NGO Walk Free’s Global Slavery Index, around 1.2 million Indonesians were enslaved in 2016. Many were trafficked for domestic work in their country and abroad or exploited in the sex trade. About 43% of Indonesian victims of trafficking are believed to be between 14 and 17 years old.


Just in 2016, we are talking about 1.2 million Indonesians reduced to slavery! Since then the planet has been hit by the covid-19 pandemic and unsurprisingly the poorest of the poor have been hit even harder. The pandemic and its corollary (the famous confinement) has deprived many Indonesians of the little that their work of misery managed to give them.

It is very difficult to change the mores of a population and in general, in South-East Asia, one makes little case of prostitution. During our report in 2017, witnesses explained to us that they preferred that their husbands go to see prostitutes rather than take mistresses because it put them in less danger of ending up on the street if ever the mistress prevailed over the married woman. You should know that in Indonesia the status of women is unenviable and schooling is not encouraged, which makes them victims who are easy to fool and very unaware of their rights.


We should also mention that there are very few convictions for sexual crimes against children because under Indonesian legislation, the perpetrators of these crimes (pimp, trafficker or other) will not be prosecuted for having violated the laws concerning human trafficking but rather according to child protection law. These articles of law lead to much lighter penalties for those (and they are very rare) who have the misfortune to fall into the hands of incorruptible judicial officers.


The problem with our legal system is that it is difficult to prove whether such cases can be considered human trafficking,” she said, adding that the legal definition should also include transport, harboring or “receiving” people as well as fraud and coercion. .

And she pointed out that if the victims are children “sometimes the perpetrators can only be charged under child protection law, not anti-trafficking law.”


At Talitha Koumi, far from discouraging us, these figures and facts only strengthen our determination to be part of the fight against this modern form of slavery. Thanks to our generous donors and the staff of our partner on the island of Java, we are saving precious young girls, one by one. We make our own the values ​​of the Lord Jesus for whom the value of a single soul would have justified his death on the cross.



Talitha Koumi is an anti-trafficking organization entirely dependent on donors. We are not affiliated with any religious or governmental denomination in order to preserve our independence.

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