Facebook Linked to Kidnapping, Trafficking of Indonesian Girls

Monday, 29 Oct 2012 11:49 AM

By Newsmax Wires

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A simple click on a Facebook friend request turned into a hellish nightmare for a 14-year-old Indonesian girl who ended up being drugged, kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and tortured — and then told she was to be sold as a sex slave.

“I am angry and cannot accept what he did to me,’’ the girl, wearing a mask to hide her identity, told the Associated Press in an emotional interview.

“I was raped and beaten!’’

The horrific experience of the lanky, black-haired junior high school student is just one of dozens of such incidents in Indonesia in which sexual predators have turned to the Web to seek victims.

So far, 27 missing Indonesian children are believed to have been snatched after what started as innocent encounters on Facebook, according to Arist Merdeka Sirait, chairman of Indonesia's National Commission for Child Protection.

"We are racing against time, and the technology frenzy over Facebook is a trend among teenagers here," Sirait told the AP.

"Police should move faster, or many more girls will become victims."

In the case of the 14-year-old schoolgirl, her ordeal started innocently after she accepted the friend request of a man she didn’t know. Soon, she succumbed to his flattery and agreed to meet him.

"He wanted to buy new clothes for me, and help with school payments,’’ said the girl, who lives in Depok. “He was different . . . that's all."

The man, who identified himself as “Yogi,’’ drove her to a house, locked her in a room with at least five other teen-aged girls. She was drugged and raped and another man and a girl stood over her to prevent her escape.

A week later, she was told she was to be shipped off to an island called Batam — notorious for its child sex tourism problem — and would be forced to work as a prostitute. Begging to be let go, she was further beaten and told to shut up or face death.

Eventually, after her captors found out about an intensive search being conducted for the girl, they dumped her off at a bus station. Making things even worse, her school initially expelled her charging that she had tarnished its image.

The National Task Force Against Human Trafficking says 435 children were victims of trafficking last year.

A spokesman for Facebook told the AP it regularly reviews its content and works with authorities, including Interpol, to fight human trafficking and other crimes.

The problem has lawmakers around the world fighting to strengthen laws and penalties.

In California, voters next week will decide on Proposition 35, which would impose tougher state prison sentences on traffickers.

If passed, the proposition would increase prison terms from 5-to-8-years to a minimum of 12 years. Fines would also increase, with convicted traffickers forced to pay up to $1.5 million — money that would be used to fund programs to help victims recover from their ordeals.

But some people believe the proposition is too vague.

“Voters should not be lulled into believing that by approving this measure they will be taking effective action against slavery and sexual exploitation,’’ the Los Angeles Times said in an editorial, urging voters to turn it down. "Even if well intentioned, this initiative falls well short of the mark.’’


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