JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/ANN) — As many as 40 Indonesians have fallen victim to an alleged human trafficking scheme in which scholarships and job opportunities were offered in Taiwan, the National Police have said.
“Promising to grant scholarships abroad while working in Taiwan is a new way [to target victims],” the deputy director of the general crimes division at the National Police’s Criminal Investigation Agency, Sr. Cmr. Agus Nugroho, said on Wednesday as reported by kompas.com.
The victims traveled to Taiwan on Oct. 27, 2017, coming from various regions in Indonesia, namely Lampung, West Java and Central Java.
The case began after two people who have been living in Taiwan for the past 18 months spoke up after not getting what they were promised.
The two were allegedly promised a scholarship opportunity at Chienkuo Technology University in Taiwan and jobs with a salary of around 27,000 Taiwanese dollars (US$879.44), Agus said.
However, what allegedly happened was the victims were hired to work from Mondays to Saturdays at an iron shelf production factory, while on Sunday they attended Taiwanese language classes.
“In Taiwan, they work from Monday to Saturday and on Sunday [the perpetrators] provided classes disguised as college courses. They learned Taiwanese, which was actually aimed at easing [the victims] into doing the job,” Agus explained.
Some of the victims allegedly received 5,000 Taiwanese dollars while others did not.
Agus said the police had named two suspects.
The suspects allegedly lured victims by offering scholarships and jobs, charging Rp 35 million (US$2,473) as administrative fees. They also allegedly offered to pay the fees at first as most parents of the victims did not have that amount of money.
However, the condition, Agus said, was that the victims were required to pay at a later point in time after moving to Taiwan. Moreover, the victims were also asked to provide documents including an identity card, family card, police clearance letter, permission letter from parents and a school diploma.
Before departing, the victims gathered in Jakarta.
“While in a shelter, […] those presenting themselves as representatives from Taiwan interviewed the victims and convinced them and their parents [about the children moving to Taiwan],” Agus said.