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Indonesia Urges Myanmar to Rescue Migrant Workers Victims of Trafficking Crime

Jakarta, Indonesia Sentinel – The government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Indonesian Embassy in Yangon, and the Indonesian Embassy in Bangkok urged Myanmar authorities to take effective steps to rescue Indonesian migrant workers suspected of being victims of trafficking in persons (TPPO).

The urgency was conveyed by the Director of Protection of Indonesian Citizens (WNI) and Indonesian Legal Entities (BHI) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Judha Nugraha, in response to the report of the Indonesian Migrant Workers Union (SBMI) regarding 20 Indonesian citizens who are suspected victims of TPPO and are currently being held in Myanmar.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Indonesian Embassy in Yangon, and the Indonesian Embassy in Bangkok have followed up on requests for protection of Indonesian citizens who are victims of online scam companies in Myanmar,” Judha said through a short message, Wednesday (3/5/2023).

Various protection measures have been taken by the Indonesian government, including sending diplomatic notes to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar, coordinating with local authorities, and cooperating with international institutions such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Bali Process Regional Support Office in Bangkok.

Judha emphasized that the challenge of protecting Indonesian citizens in this case is quite high, because the majority of Indonesian citizens are in Myawaddy, which is the location of armed conflict between the Myanmar military and rebel groups.

Nevertheless, he emphasized that the government will continue to pursue various steps to protect Indonesian citizens, including by asking Myanmar authorities to map networks in Myawaddy through cooperation with various online scam monitoring institutions.

“Formal and informal approaches continue to be taken,” Judha said.

In terms of law enforcement, he said, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has coordinated with the National Police Criminal Investigation Unit to take action against the perpetrators.

Meanwhile, on the prevention side, the government continues to carry out campaigns to raise public awareness about the modes of TPPO in online scam cases.

During the 2020-2023 period, the Indonesian Embassy in Yangon received reports of 203 Indonesian citizens experiencing problems in the Myanmar region, especially related to indications/suspicions of TPPO.

As of April 2023, the Indonesian Embassy in Yangon has facilitated the settlement or return of 127 Indonesian citizens to their homeland. (InfoPublik/photo: kemlu.go.id)

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