XIX International Sociological Association World Congress of Sociology

  • Wayne Palmer (Speaker)

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesContribution to conference


Prosecuting Recruitment Agencies for Human Trafficking: A Case from Indonesia

Government and non-government observers agree that human trafficking is a feature of Indonesia’s migrant labour export program. They single out the actions of recruitment agencies for particular attention. For example, the US Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report claims that Indonesia’s licensed recruitment agencies operate ‘similarly to trafficking rings’. They often use deceit to secure consent, falsify identity documents and restrict the freedom of movement of female recruits especially. Scholarly work has examined how and why the state tolerates illegal behaviour on the part of agency employees. Missing from this narrative is a detailed analysis of the criminal justice system’s response to evidence that these employees commit human trafficking as part of their job.

This paper demonstrates that Indonesia’s criminal justice system lacks the capacity to successfully investigate, prosecute and punish corportations for committing human trafficking. First, it considers legal and political arguments for treating corportations as legal subjects in human trafficking cases. Second, the paper outlines Indonesia’s current legal and policy framework for pursuing corporations that commit human trafficking and shows how the criminal justice system has treated corporations in the ten years since the Anti-Trafficking Law was enacted in 2007. Third, it presents a case study of the specific case facts and argumentation used to convict the first recruitment agency of human trafficking in 2015. In conclusion, the paper argues that in doing so, the state has set a legal precedent for handling similar crimes in the future, which has subsequently impacted practice in the recruitment industry.
Period17 Jul 2018
Event typeConference
LocationToronto, CanadaShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational