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.
Since the first case of the corona virus was identified in Wuhan, China 10 months ago, the Covid-10 pandemic is still ongoing. New cases are reported every day in various countries around the world. Launching data from the Worldometers page, Monday (19/10/2020), the total number of Covid-19 cases is currently more than 40 million cases. Of these, there have been 1.1 million deaths and more than 30 million patients have been declared cured.
The increasing number of Covid-19 cases affects not only the health sector but also the economic sector. The pandemic caused lags in economic activity which automatically forced many business actors to undertake efficiency to reduce losses. As a result, not a few workers were dismissed or even laidoff. This has led to an increase in the poverty rate.
According to the World Bank, as reported by the BBC, Thursday (8/10), due to the Covid-19 pandemic, extreme poverty is predicted to increase this year, experienced by around 115 million people. This increase has been recorded for the first time since 1998 or over the last two decades. At that time, the financial crisis in Asian countries rocked the global economy.
The World Bank also noted that in 2021, the number of extreme poor people will increase to a total of 150 million people. In fact, before the pandemic, the extreme poverty rate was estimated to fall to 7.9% in 2020. But the poverty will actually affect between 9.1% and 9.4% of the world's population this year. This percentage appears in the World Bank's Joint Poverty and Wellbeing Report.
Extreme poverty is defined as living on less than US$ 1.90 a day. According to the World Bank, in Indonesia, the extreme poverty rate is estimated to be 3% in 2020. Meanwhile, the Central Statistics Agency -BPS recorded the number of poor people in Indonesia reached 26.42 million people in March 2020. With this number, the poverty rate in Indonesia is equal to 9.78 percent of the total national population.
To alleviate poverty amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the Indonesian government has made various efforts through the National Economic Recovery program, such as by distributing social assistance and non-cash food assistance to the community and funding the Pre-Work Card amounting to Rp 20 trillion. Through the Pre-Employment Card, people who do not have a job can receive guidance and training. The government also provides subsidies for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and the placement of government funds in the banking sector as assistance for business actors.
All of the efforts made by the Indonesian government are in line with the theme of World Poverty Eradication Day which is commemorated on 17 October 2020, namely "Acting together to achieve social and environmental justice for all".
Hopefully, the efforts made by the Indonesian government can reduce poverty even though it is impossible to eliminate it. At least, the poverty rate in 2021 can remain at the rate estimated by Minister of Finance, Sri Mulyani, which is 9.2 to 9.7 percent.
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic that is still being dealt with in Thailand, Thai riot police carried out an evacuation at the outer office of the Thai prime minister from hundreds of thousands of protesters in the early hours on Thursday (15/10). An emergency decree was issued to tackle the growing protests by banning large crowds and the publishing of sensitive news.
A series of demonstrations over the past three months has brought hundreds of thousands of people onto the streets of Bangkok, Thailand. They are demanding the removal of Prime Minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, former leader of a military regime, and a new constitution. The protesters are breaking a long-standing taboo against the royal family, by calling for reforms to King Maha Vajiralongkorn's monarchy. They even dared to block the motorcade of the royal family, an act which the government used as an excuse to establish its emergency measure.
As soon as the emergency decree took effect at 04:00 local time, anti-riot police approached the protesters who were camping outside the Government Building. But many of them had left on Wednesday night.
The period of the Covid-19 pandemic is indeed a tough time for almost all governments in many countries. Maintaining economic stability is the biggest difficulty that must be faced. What is interesting is that in Thailand, whether it is the post-lockdown effect or otherwise, people are starting to question the power of the Thai monarchy that has not been touched. This is the first time the King of Thailand has been dogged by protests. Something has been taboo; even violated the law.
Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn is known as one of the richest monarchs in the world with royal family assets conservatively valued at US $ 70 billion dollars. This is now the focus of the pro-democracy movement which demands greater transparency in monarchical finances, and limits on its very broad powers. This is the basis of the demonstration movement amid the pandemic which is then attempted to be resolved by decree.
Perhaps, this decree issued by the Thai government could hold back the demonstration. However, the Covid-19 pandemic is still difficult to predict when it will shake off. It is equally difficult to predict whether Thailand will not continue to be rocked by further demonstrations.
Covid-19 vaccine image
Amid the protests against Omnibus Law - Job Creation Law in Indonesia during the pandemic, the emergence of new clusters is worried. The good news is that the phase 3 clinical trial of Covid-19 vaccine enters the final phase. In Indonesia, there is yet any report about vaccine volunteers experiencing illness because of the vaccine. Many then hoped the vaccine could suppress Covid-19 virus that had spread in almost every country in the world.
Meanwhile, amid the hope of successful vaccine development, Johnson and Johnson from USA on Monday, October 12, announced that some of their 60,000 volunteers caught illness, and they delayed the next process that had entered the final phase. As quoted from CNN, the delay does not mean stopping the vaccine test, but it will be material for another research for US doctors. The researchers are reviewing the vaccine tests and examining the vaccine sample. This happened in England in September. However in INdonesia, so far miraculously, there is yet any sign to stop or review the vaccine from China that is still under the 3rd phase test jointly done with Indonesian state-owned pharma company PT Bio Farma.
About Covid-19 vaccine procurement, Indonesia had ordered three types of vaccine for the people. Covid-19 Task Force spokesperson Wiku Aidsasmito said that the government's move by purchasing three different vaccines that haven't passed the 3rd phase of clinical test had been previously consulted with health experts. According to Wiku, until now there is yet any report that the three vaccine types cause any negative effect that harms the user. If the vaccine did not pass the clinical test, then Indonesian government had anticipated it by terminating the purchase as written in the purchasing contract.
Truly, Covid-19 vaccine procurement is a main thing for Indonesian people considering the health experts predicted that the pandemic can continue for until the next two years. Research is also developed after the emergence of virus mutation. Besides that, if the purchase is done after the test, the price will surely soar.
Besides purchasing vaccines, Indonesian vaccine producers with health experts and researchers are trying to find alternative cures for Covid-19. Indonesian Ulema Council MUI and health experts also had left for China to observe the production and test the halal aspect of the vaccine that will be injected to Indonesian citizens, considering most of them are Muslim. Besides that, Indonesian government had prioritized early vaccination programs for medical apparatus and security personnel who stayed in the frontline against Covid-19.
International Disaster Risk Reduction Day UNDRR
October 13th, the world commemorates International Disaster Risk Reduction Day. In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly designated October 13 as the anniversary to encourage communities and governments to take part in building societies that are resilient to natural disasters. Indonesia is one of the countries, which lies in the Ring of Fire, which is an area that often experiences earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that surround the Pacific Ocean basin. Thus, Indonesia is often hit by natural disasters related to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, including hydro-meteorological disasters or natural disasters such as floods, landslides and wind storms.
Indonesia commemorates International Disaster Risk Reduction Day by setting October every year as Disaster Risk Reduction Month. The Indonesian people are reminded to be always aware of natural disasters. Experience shows that natural disasters may occur not only because of natural phenomena, but also because of the damaged ecosystem that’s continuously and extensively exploited, including global warming and climate change. The National Disaster Mitigation Agency -BNPB recorded 2,131 disasters from January to September 2020 throughout Indonesia. BNPB noted that 99% of the disasters that occur were hydro-meteorological disasters. In addition, there were forest and land fires. The disaster not only claimed casualties, injuries and property, but also displaced more than 4 million people.
Such large numbers should remind the residents that Indonesia has experienced and will always experience disasters at present and in the future. Even every year, the trend of the number always increases. How big or small the impact of a disaster depends on the resilience of the Indonesian people in dealing with the disasters. Resilience can be achieved if all related stakeholders co-work altogether without blaming each other. The central government, regional governments and all levels of society must work hand in hand in mitigating and managing the disaster risks. Because the natural phenomena and the disasters that may occur do not recognize boundaries. The commemoration of Disaster Risk Reduction Day should remind everyone of this need.
The Covid-19 pandemic cannot be predicted to be over within one or two years. For Indonesia, this means that it will still be very dependent on the domestic economy. The problems of employment, food and health are the three main aspects that are currently faced. Currently, unemployment and poverty rates in various countries continue to increase, including in Indonesia. The pandemic has caused many people to lose their jobs and income, which has resulted in lower purchasing power.
In regard to this domestic economic condition, Indonesia relies on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises to keep the wheels of the economy moving. In fact, they are also having a tremendous impact of the pandemic. In 1998, Indonesia experienced an economic crisis that hit several countries but was not as global as this time. At that time, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises emerged as saviors of the national economy, with exports rising 350%. Now, what is happening is a global crisis which also affects Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises from two sides, namely supply and demand.
The government then provides stimulants to revive Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the form of a national economic recovery policy. Take for example, the government keeps trying to provide them for cash flow, especially connected to banking institutions. The government has also allocated funds amounting to Rp123 trillion for the program as well as debt restructuring, namely a 6-month delay in debt repayments. Many Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises have difficulty paying installments due to the low demand and income. In addition, the government also subsidizes installment interest of 6% and provides tax subsidies up to 0%, and offers new loans with only 3% interest. Currently, the absorption of the program has reached 52.77%.
For micro businesses that have not been reached by banks or bankable and have not received bank financing, they will be assisted through productive Presidential Assistance.
It is hoped that the National Economic Recovery Program will be able to make Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises strong again and become a motor of the national economy.
There is no party that doesn't end. But no one expects a party to turn into chaos, especially in the context of the General Election which is often referred to as the Democratic Party.
Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet Union state, has just completed the general election process. However, until now there are still waves of protests and demonstrations by residents. Thousands of people took to the streets in the capital, Bishkek because they did not accept the final results of the general election in Kyrgyzstan. Apart from Bishkek, there were a number of small demonstrations taking place in other cities.
On Monday (05/10), demonstrators totaling around 1.000 people flooded the streets of Bishkek. Quoted from Sputnik, the demonstrators came from supporters of parties whose votes were insufficient. So, they did not get legislative seats in the government.
Protesters who gathered at Ala Too Square demanded a revision of the election results last Sunday. They also accused the government of deliberately fabricating the election results and there was practice of buying and selling votes. Anti-government protests also spread in several provincial centers on Tuesday (6/10). Meanwhile, supporters of President Sooronbai Jeenbekov gathered in the southern city of Osh, calling for unity and order.
Kyrgyzstan, which has a population of 6.5 million, and is known to be closely allied with Russia, does have a history of political instability. Over the last 15 years, two of its presidents have been overthrown by mass action and rebellions.
The mass actions that have occurred in Bishkek and its surroundings recently might happen again. Even, Kyrgyzstan's Election Commission announced on Tuesday that it would cancel parliamentary election results after a wave of protests broke out in the country
Hopefully, Kyrgyzstan can quickly solve its problems on its democratic journey towards a better future.
OMNIBUS LAW FLICKERRIVER
The Job Creation Draft Bill was officially ratified as Law on Monday afternoon (5/10) after going through more than 7-month of discussion between the House of Representative and the government. Job Creation Law will make significant change for broadcasting and telecommunication sectors, including migration of TV broadcast from analog into digital.
This migration had been planned since 2009. However it is not realized until now because of lacking legal basis. It made Indonesia left far behind in digitalization of terrestrial TV systems. Some European countries since World Radiocommunication Conferences in 2007 had finished with the TV digitalization more than one decade ago. Meanwhile Asian countries such as Japan had finished in 2011 and South Korea in 2012. Thailand and Vietnam had begu the finishing of TV digitalization named Analog Switch-Off or ASO gradually in 2020. Malaysia and Singapore had done their ASO nationally in 2019.
Acceleration of TV digitalization is a big Indonesian development agenda that must be realized soon. There are some reasons. First is for public interest, TV digitalization aims to provide more efficient and optimal broadcast quality. Until now, people felt left behind because of broadcast quality that is not suitable for advanced technology.
Referring to data from Nielsen, 69% of Indonesian people still watch TV through terrestrial or free-to-air systems by using analog technology. This is ironic since people have been using Smart TV but cannot enjoy digital broadcast. Secondly, from a value-added aspect of frequency arrangement, with digitalization acceleration, frequency can be rearranged and used for other services, mainly for public service and fast internet service.
Some countries had used the result of frequency spectrum efficiency resulting from TV broadcast digitalization to increase faster internet access. It is then hoped that business people and investors of the broadcasting sector would immediately build synergy to support the migration of analog TV into digital.
photo : JP
Indonesia and UN Habitat commemorate World Habitat Day 2020. Surabaya is hosting the Global Observance of World Habitat Day 2020 (The Global Observance of World Habitat Day 2020) on 5 and 6 October 2020. The theme raised at this year's commemoration is “Housing for All: A Better Urban Future, Housing for All: A Better Urban Future. President Joko Widodo considered this theme very appropriate. In his speech delivered virtually, on Monday (5/10), he said, home is everyone's basic need. Home strengthens the family as the main pillar of the nation's strength. Homes are also a main stronghold against various health risks, including the Covid-19 pandemic. Facts have shown that amid the Covid-19 pandemic, it is the house that becomes the major stronghold against the spread of the new coronavirus. Appeals to stay at home, school from home, work from home and worship from home, have been implemented in almost all affected countries, since the World Health Organization -WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic.
Then, a question arises ‘Do all families have a house that can be a strongholdfor their family?’ Housing is indeed a problem faced by a lot of countries. The UN Secretary General, Antonio Gutteres, in his statement on World Habitat Day 2020, said that currently, one billion people live in crowded settlements with inadequate housing. To meet global demand, more than 96,000 housing units must be completed every day - and they must be part of the green transition. The housing issue is also a special concern of President Joko Widodo's administration. Since 2015, Indonesia has planned to build one million housing units every year. Data shows that in 2018 and 2019, this target had been exceeded. In 2019, more than 1.2 million housing units were completed. This year’s the achievements are different from the previous years’ achievements. Based on data from the Directorate General of Housing of the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing until the third quarter of August 2020, there were 264,457 housing units that have been built. The Covid-19 pandemic has a very significant impact on the implementation of the One-Million Home Program. However, Indonesia is optimistic that the target of one million houses this year can be achieved.
It’s hard to realize the construction of a million houses every year, especially for low-income residents. The awareness of all related stakeholders to provide adequate housing is a shared responsibility to support the construction of a million houses. The full involvement of the government, financial institutions, the private sector and the community towards the One-Million Home Program can accelerate the achievement of the Indonesian government's target for fulfilling the rights of every citizen to housing. So, every family in Indonesia can have a livable house that can be a stronghold for every occupant. In the future, the houses that are built will not only function as housing, but also become a place of livelihood. Covid-19 has provided such lessons. The One-Million Home Program every year is a real proof of the responsibility of the Indonesian government that no one is left behind.
Every October 5 is commemorated as the birthday of the Indonesian National Military (TNI). Since its establishment on October 5, 1945, the TNI has undergone many organizational developments and improvements in carrying out its role in maintaining national security and defense.
Before Indonesia's independence, there was a military institution formed by the Dutch East Indies colonial government, consisting of indigenous soldiers. It was known as the Koninklijke Nederlands (ch) -Indische Leger (KNIL) or the Dutch East Indies royal army. Then after the Dutch lost to Japan in World War II, there were also PETA soldiers (The Homeland Defenders) formed by the Japanese government to fight the allies at that time. All of this became the forerunner to the formation of the Indonesian National Military with various names during the war for independence until now.
Besides being tasked with maintaining security and order of the people and the Indonesian state, The Indonesian National Military amid the COVID-19 pandemic like today also supports the government's efforts in handling Covid-19.
The role of the TNI in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic was emphasized by Chairman of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), Bambang Soesatyo on Sunday (4/10). He said that the commemoration of the Anniversary of the TNI was also a momentum to show its major role in breaking the chain of Covid-19 transmission. He perceived that the TNI as an element of the nation's strength is obliged to take part in the process of solving this problem.
The TNI was involved long before the Covid-19 was decided to become a pandemic. For example, the personnel of the TNI evacuated Indonesian citizens from Wuhan, China, and set up quarantine on Galang Island. When President Joko Widodo declared Covid-19 as a pandemic, a task force was formed and this was also filled by the Regional Governments, the interrelated Ministries and other stakeholders.
Of course, the Indonesian National Military –TNI is not alone in carrying out its role in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. Synergy and strong cooperation between government agencies and the community is needed so that the spread of the Covid-19 virus and the number of positive cases in Indonesia can be reduced.