National Catholic Reporter
The Independent Newsweekly
Issue Date:  May 9, 2003

Bishop calls on government to stop human trafficking


An Indonesian bishop said he wants the government to stop the trafficking of women and children in the diocese amid reports that the crime was increasing. Bishop Agustinus Agus of Sintang said trafficking has increased in his diocese and in the neighboring Pontianak archdiocese and Sanggau diocese. All three are in West Kalimantan province, which borders Malaysia on Borneo Island. The bishop cited recent local reports about a rampant trade in babies and women in Sarawak.

According to one report, a number of pregnant women were recruited to work in the state. “After several months the women returned to their villages, and the villagers found that they were not pregnant anymore but did not bring their babies with them,” the bishop said. Sources said that in Sarawak the babies were sold to childless couples at prices between about $600 and $1,200.

In other cases, Agus said, local traffickers visited young women and their parents in their homes and lured the young women with promises of big salaries at restaurants and nightclubs in Sarawak. The families were paid $115 and the young women were transferred to a Malaysian syndicate, which forced them to work in prostitution houses.

National Catholic Reporter, May 9, 2003

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