Beware Human Trafficking amid Covid-19 Pandemic - Editorial Security Magazine
Cross-country crime threat is a global issue amid Covid-19 pandemic. An organized cross-country crime that is under the highlight during the pandemic is trafficking in persons. According to the United Nations, the traffickers are targeting migrant workers who lose their job to school drop-outs. Global economic slowdown made many people lose their jobs, including the migrant workers. This condition is very prone to be exploited by transnational criminal organizations.
According to data from the UN, many from 164 million migrant workers globally are stranded in foreign countries and they cannot return to their home countries, or even do not seek help because of country lockdown and tight immigration policy. Then these people are vulnerable to be human trafficking victims. Meanwhile, Statistics Indonesia (BPS) recorded that there were 276,553 Indonesian migrant workers abroad in 2019. This data covers only migrant workers abroad with official documents.
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, many Indonesian migrant workers abroad were affected. Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry data showed there are two affected groups of Indonesian migrant workers namely ship crews, especially on cruises and migrant workers with limited mobility. Indonesian migrant workers in 16 countries were affected by mobility limitation policy.
Then, what is Indonesia's effort in protecting their migrant workers abroad from organized transnational criminal groups?
Indonesia has already enough legal basis to protect their citizens, especially the migrant workers from trafficking in persons. Indonesia has Law No. 8/2017 on Migrant Worker Protection. This law becomes a form of Indonesia's presence in providing service and protection for every migrant worker.
Still, the implementation of this law requires partnership from all. This partnership includes tight cooperation with law enforcer, private sector, labor union, recruitment agency, and bodies that monitor worker departure. International cooperation is also necessary to be increased, in order to prevent the transnational criminal organizations.