Men, women and children make up those trafficked in Indonesia, subjected to forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Brokers working in rural areas are known to lure men and boys into forced labour on palm oil, rubber and tobacco plantations, while women and under-age girls are lured into work as domestics in private homes and as commercial sex workers. Rising unemployment and slowed job creation has pushed people into the informal sector unprotected by labour laws and thus made them more vulnerable to exploitation. There are currently only 18 shelters in Indonesia working to rescue and rehabilitate survivors of human trafficking.
Lea, now 26 and a native of Nafai village in Savannakhet province’s Kaisone district, was first sold as a teen to work in Thailand on a rubber plantation by a neighbour. After four months working to pay off their 'debt' to their employer, Lea escaped the plantation. At 15 years old, alone and with no money, he made his way to Bangkok where a taxi driver told him her could earn good money working on a fishing boat. Lea was locked in a house for 3 days before being taken on to the fishing boat where he would work long hours with little rest for 3 years without pay. Lea was finally able to escape, hiding in a forest after being taken ashore. Lea now works as a labourer on construction sites on and in other jobs on Tuan Island as he waits to go home.
But he lured me to be sold to a Thai. Ten of us were taken by boat across the Mekong River to Thailand’s Mukdahan province, and then we were taken by truck to work in a rubber plantation in Rayong province, My neighbor sold us to our employer, and then returned home,
[After working for four months for a daily wage of 20 baht (U.S.$0.57) to pay off what they were told was their debt to the man who had “purchased” them, Lea decided to escape, He went to Bangkok where a taxi driver told him he could earn good pay working on a fishing boat.]
I agreed to go, and he took me to my new employer, the Nava 11 fishing boat, but I was locked in a house for three days in before being sent to work,
We worked hard every day with almost no time for sleep, and we had to work even if it rained. Otherwise, we would be physically abused or told we would be thrown into the sea.
[3 years later Lea and 3 Cambodian friends escaped into the forest after being taken ashore]
We fled into the forest and tried to survive by eating whatever we could find there.
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