Human Trafficking in Southeast Asia: Why Indonesia Matters
October-December 2015
By: Atin Prabandari and AAI Diah Tricesaria

Second, becoming an initiator or agent of change is not a new thing for Indonesia. Indonesia has actively led Asean’s institutional and normative development since its inception. Examples include the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, the Bali Concord I and the “Towards an Asean Security Community” document that became the embryo of the 2003 Bali Concord II. Indonesia also led the effort to institutionalize human rights norms in Asean through the establishment of the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights and the Asean Human Rights Declaration. As such, Indonesia can also initiate more robust and viable efforts in dealing with trafficking in the region.

And third, Indonesia is a maritime country with 33,400 miles of coastline and 17,000 islands. This makes Indonesia vulnerable as an area for irregular and illegal maritime movements, but also gives it the operational experience to secure its borders by actively controlling and managing sea movements. Indonesian President Joko Widodo has announced an ambitious vision of Indonesia as a “global maritime axis,” showing a willingness to take maritime security issues seriously.

It’s logical for Indonesia to strengthen its maritime security, increasing efforts against piracy, illegal fishing, people smuggling and, of course, human trafficking. Indonesia can certainly make a significant contribution to, and be a shining example of, reinvigorating the fight against human trafficking in Southeast Asia.

Atin Prabandari is a lecturer at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta and a researcher at the Center for Southeast Asian Social Studies.

AAI Diah Tricesaria is a junior information and advocacy officer for the Jesuit Refugee Service, based in Cisarua, West Java.  

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