IOM, POLRI, and INL Collaborate in Enhancing the Trafficking in Persons Investigation Skills Of the Law Enforcement Officials at the Border Regions
(Batam, Indonesia) - Riau Islands province lying between the Malayan peninsula and Borneo, is an archipelago of some 1800 islands. According to IOM's data, it is the province with the second highest incidences of cases of Trafficking in Persons (TIP). As stated by AKBP Ary Baroto, Vice Director of General Crimes Directorate, Provincial Police of Riau Islands, "The geographical proximity of Riau Island Province to neighbouring countries has partly contributed to its vulnerability as a target for transnational crimes, including TIP." The lack of shared understanding among law enforcement officials regarding TIP and its differences from other transnational crimes, such as smuggling, has also been identified as a challenge.
Nonetheless, the training provided a platform for participants to build vital collaboration and cooperation to eradicate TIP cases in the Riau Islands region. Lisa A. Johnson, U.S. Department of State Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of INL, underscored the importance of strong partnerships between TIP responders, including between countries, noting, "Human trafficking targets the most vulnerable people in our society. The primary trafficking victims are our mothers, sisters, and children. There is always more work to be done, but I'm confident that through partnership, we can foster and enhance international cooperation to effectively combat transnational criminal networks."
From 23 to 26 January 2023, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in collaboration with the Indonesian National Police (POLRI), delivered a four-day training on Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Investigation for law enforcement and frontline officers in Batam, Riau Islands province, under the IOM Building Effective Responses Against Trafficking and Smuggling in Indonesia, or BERANTAS programme supported by the United States Department of State's Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).
Thirty law enforcement and frontline officers, including police investigators, prosecutors, immigration officials, labor inspectors, and Indonesian Migrant Workers Protection Agency (BP2MI) officers, participated in the training to gain skills in TIP case identification and evidence collection. "Oral or written statements from victims play a key role in the global criminal justice system. The special skills of law enforcement officials and related officers to collect the amount and other types of evidence required are vital for both the protection of victims and prosecution of cases," said Rizki Inderawansyah, National Programme Office, IOM.
The training was delivered by IOM and various experts from relevant national-level agencies including: the Crimes Investigation Agency (Bareskrim) of the INP, the Center for Reporting and Assets Tracing (PPATK), Witness and Victims Protection Agency (LPSK), the Office of General's Attorney, and Ministry of Women Empowerment and Child Protection (MOWECP). Skills acquired through the training will enable investigators to gain a better understanding of the processing of TIP cases in pursuit of successful prosecution. In addition, resource persons from provincial-level agencies from the Provincial Police of Riau Islands, Office of Women Empowerment and Child Protection (DP3AP2KB), BP2MI, and Immigration Office complement learning materials on TIP by providing context and real examples from the field.
To complement the workshop training, participants also took part in a joint patrol simulation using patrol boats from the marine and air police of the Riau Islands province. Abie Sancaya, an IOM resource person, also stated, "Sea-route trafficking is now a preferred crime of both small-scale entrepreneurs and larger crime groups. Last year, IOM provided assistance to two sea-route TIP cases found in Riau Islands province involving as many as 87 victims." For that reason, it is crucial for participants to obtain knowledge and skills on the prevention and handling of TIP cases at the Indonesian - Malaysian water route that perpetrators often use to smuggle TIP victims to Malaysia by boat.
For more information, please contact Rizki Inderawansyah, National Programme Coordinator of the Counter-Trafficking Unit, IOM Indonesia, at email@example.com