Nias residents warn of child trafficking

Tuesday, June 21, 2005
By nias

Tuesday, June 21, 2005 Abdul Khalik, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Several prominent figures from Nias alleged on Monday that dozens of children had been taken off the island illegally since the tsunami in December.

Director of Jakarta-based Nias Potential and Empowerment Council (LP2N) Ebenezer Hia said that in addition to the 10 children now under the social affairs ministry's custody, some 30 others had been taken to the capital in the past few months without going through proper procedures.

He said he had received many requests from Nias parents asking the council to trace their children's whereabouts after being taken to Jakarta by different foundations.

"The foundations left no addresses or contact numbers. They just took the children away without any letter of approval from their parents or documents from local authorities as we've found no records in the local administration office," Ebenezer said.

Ebenezer, together with several other Nias figures, arrived at the city police headquarters on Monday to demand that the 10 children under the social welfare ministry's care in Jakarta be returned to Nias as soon as possible.

The 10 were taken to Jakarta by four people identified as Hendra, Hikua, Yohana and Halana, workers with the Youth Foundation (YWAM) in Cipayung, East Jakarta and the Nation's Hope Foundation (YHB) in Parung, Bogor, West Java.

The four, however, failed to produce letters of consent from parents and approvals from local administrations as required by law in order to take children from their parents.

The four were subsequently arrested for questioning before they were released 24 hours later. After that police arrested the head of YHB in Parung, where the children were supposedly taken to.

The 10 children are Adil Putra Jaya Lombu, 3, Fiberman Lombu, 7, Pontianu Lombu, 4, Beziduhu Lombu, 6, Jois Dorkas Orienti Lombu, 4, Yuferius Lombu, 8, Miralina Lombu, 7, Yujuniman Lombu, 7, Jhoni Alexander Hululu, 5, and Dirman Pati Yulianu Ulu, 7.

Another prominent Nias figure S. Laoli, chairman of the Nias Society Association (Himni), claimed that hundreds of Nias children had been taken to many areas in Indonesia since the massive flood in 2001, and the trafficking worsened after the tsunami.

"We just have to do a survey to find out how many children have actually been taken from our island. Several mothers said to me that they had lost their children after a foundation took them away," he explained.

Chief of the women and children unit at the city police Comr. Sri Suwari said that the police would soon return all the children, who are now in a state-run orphanage in Bambu Apus, East Jakarta, to their parents in Nias.

"Hopefully, we can return the children to their parents on Wednesday. We have questioned all witnesses, including two men identified as Edo and Benny in Nias. For now, we haven't found a criminal offense in the case," she said.

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