JAKARTA (JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Indonesia's foreign ministry is looking into a report of dozens of Indonesian women who allegedly fell victim to human trafficking and physical abuse after becoming involved in contract marriages with Chinese men, a top diplomat has said.
The ministry's Indonesian citizen protection director Lalu Muhammad Iqbal said Indonesian representative offices in Shanghai and Beijing were handling the case.
"The police of Henan province have been investigating the case. According to the Henan Police, international marriage has long been popular, (especially) with Vietnamese, Myanmar and Laos nationals," he said, adding that the police had yet to conclude whether it was a case of human trafficking.
The Chinese embassy in Jakarta had not responded to The Jakarta Post's queries.
Former Purwakarta regent Dedi Mulyadi recently revealed that a local woman had alerted him of her situation via WhatsApp messenger, saying she had been abused and locked up in China.
"According to them (the women), they were 'bought' for Rp400 million (S$37,700), but they did not receive the money. The women only found out about the money because the husbands raised it while abusing them," Dedi said as quoted by kompas.com.
According to Dedi, the women told their parents that they had found jobs as saleswomen in Jakarta when they left their respective hometowns.
West Java Police Insp. Gen. Agung Budi Maryoto said at least 12 girls, mostly from West Java, Central Java and Banten, had allegedly fallen victim to human trafficking, with contract marriage as the modus operandi, kompas.com reported. They were also reportedly forced to work in the agriculture sector.