1. Child Labor in Indonesia
In 1998, the International Labor Organization (ILO) estimated that 8.5 percent of children between the ages of 10 and 14 in Indonesia were working.975 According to the 2000 assessment by the Indonesian Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS), approximately 2.3 million children between the ages of 10 and 14 were economically active. However, this does not include children who worked in the informal sector. 976Almost 40 percent worked on the islands of Java and Bali, according to data compiled by the National Child Protection Commission. 977A 1999 National Socioeconomic Survey found that 10 percent of children between the ages of 10 and 14 worked.978 The World Bank estimates that between 2.3 to 2.9 million children work in Indonesia’s informal and industrial sectors alone (excluding agriculture).979 According to BPS data, more boys in the 10- to 14-year age group tend to work than girls of the same age.980
Child labor is prevalent in rural areas where the majority of children work in agriculture.981 Researchers have noted that in the period prior to the Asian Economic Crisis (1970-1996) national rates on children’s labor force participation had been declining. However, while children’s labor force participation rates were falling in rural areas, they climbed in urban areas.982
Children also work in industries such as furniture, garment and footwear manufacturing, food processing, toy making, and small mining operations.983 In North Sumatra, boys work on fishing platforms called jermals between 12 to 13 hours per day for periods of up to three months in often dangerous conditions. These children face threats of physical and sexual abuse, injury from fishing nets, poisonous snakes in the ocean, and the possibility of falling into the sea and drowning.984 Children also split and dry fish, gather shellfish, shell shrimps, crabs and other kinds of shellfish.985
Many children work on plantations on an informal basis. On palm oil plantations, they apply pesticides and clear and collect palm oil seeds.986 On sugar plantations, they cut, plant and harvest the cane. Children on tobacco plantations use insecticides, and fertilize plants, while on cacao plantations children harvest and clear trees.987 A 2000 report by the Government of Indonesia and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) found an increase in the incidence of children working in exploitative and hazardous activities such as garbage scavenging, domestic servitude and prostitution.988 Other children work in the informal sector in newspaper sales, shoe shining, car parking, and begging.989 A recent study by the National Child Protection Commission suggests that about 40,000 to 50,000 children live on the streets in Indonesia’s cities where they are at risk of sexual abuse and prostitution. Many of them do not attend school.990
According to a 1999 Central Bureau of Statistics survey, up to 3 million persons in Indonesia work as domestic servants, of which 310,378 are between the ages of 10 and 18 years old.991
The conflicts in Indonesia have also contributed to the increase of child labor because of the economic impact it has had on the country. Children are forced to work in order to help support their families. In some cases, children have been recruited as child soldiers in armed conflicts.992 The Medical Emergency Rescue Committee (MER-C) estimates that 7,000 children have dropped out of school in order to work, including some girls who engage in prostitution to meet basic needs.993
A recent study found widespread involvement of children in prostitution in Indonesia. An estimated 30 percent of all children in prostitution are under the age of 18 (between 40,000 to 70,000 children).994 Prostitution is particularly prevalent on the islands of Riau province, where the clientele is often international.995
Trafficking of children is a growing problem.996 Children, primarily girls, are trafficked into prostitution both within Indonesia and to international destinations that include Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Persian Gulf countries, Hong Kong, Australia, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan. There are also reports of children sold into marriage by their parents and trafficked to other countries.997
2. Children’s Participation in School
In 1997, the primary net attendance rate was 88.4 percent,998 and the primary net enrollment rate was 99.2 percent.999 Net enrollment rates are similar for both genders at the primary school level.1000 About 5.5 million children between 7 and 15 years of age do not attend school.1001 The percentage of children who reached grade five in 1998 was 88 percent.1002
Twenty percent of children, however, fail to complete their primary education, and 30 percent of children ages 13 to 15 years old are not in school.1003 The number of school age dropouts rose from 2.8 million in 1997 to 8 million at the end of 1998, mainly for economic reasons.1004 According to Indonesian Ministry of Education and International Labor Organization (ILO) data, between 11.7 and 11.9 million school-age children did not attend school in 1999.1005
Various factors reduce children’s participation in schooling in Indonesia. Families must pay school fees, which increase with grade levels, and also pay for books and school uniforms.1006 While public transportation costs are subsidized by the government, schools may be located far from home, which affects girls in particular due to safety concerns. The quality of schooling is reportedly often inadequate, and the curriculum sometimes fails to meet the needs of children.1007 The 1958 Citizenship Law, which states that citizenship is passed paternally, has had the effect of prohibiting children of foreign fathers from attending public schools.
3. Child Labor Law and Enforcement
In April 1999, an Indonesian statute raised the legal age for employment from 14 to 15 years.1008 The law prohibits children under the age of 15 from working more than four hours a day, but enforcement of this law is reportedly rare.1009 The Protection of Children Forced to Work Law Regulation of 1987 allows children under the age of 14 to work in certain types of work with parental consent and for a limited number of hours dependent on a family’s financial need. Employers must report the number of children working under this law.1010 A 1998 Circular Letter from the Governor of North Sumatra set the minimum age for employment on jermals at 18 years.1011 The Law on National Defense of 1982 set 18 years as the minimum age for voluntary recruitment into the armed forces.1012
Indonesia ratified ILO Convention No. 138 on Minimum Age for Employment on June 7, 1999, and ILO Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labor on March 28, 2000.1013
4. Addressing Child Labor and Promoting Schooling
a. Child Labor Initiatives
The Government of Indonesia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the International Labor Organization’s International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (ILO-IPEC) in 1992 becoming one of the first countries to participate in the ILO-IPEC program. Indonesia has established a national steering committee and developed a draft National Plan of Action for addressing exploitative child labor.1014
Various child labor projects are under way in Indonesia. ILO-IPEC, with funding from the U.S. Department of Labor, is currently working to address the situation of children involved in the deep sea fishing sector on jermals in informal footwear production, and in scavenging.1015 Various nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and international agencies work to assist street children, including the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the International Labor Organization (ILO), and open houses have been established in several provinces.1016
The BPS collects data on children ages 10 and older annually, and every three or four years conducts a survey on working children from 5 to 9 years of age.1017 BPS also conducts smaller surveys of targeted populations on an ad hoc basis.1018
b. Educational Alternatives
In the 1970s, the Indonesian Government began a major initiative to raise enrollment rates among children from ages 7 to 12 through the construction of primary school buildings.1019 The increases in school enrollment at the primary level resulted in an extension of basic education by three years.1020 In 1994, compulsory basic education was extended from six to nine years,1021 but this measure has not been fully implemented because of the lack of legal mechanisms for enforcement.1022 In addition to formal schooling, two “packets” have been developed by the government to provide nonformal education to children, based on their needs and ages.1023
During the 1998 school year, in response to increasing numbers of school dropouts, the government began a supplementary program to provide grants to schools in the poorest areas and to distribute monthly scholarships, awarded by school-level committees, to children based on financial need. In its first year, the program dispensed between 1.2 and 1.6 million scholarships.1024, In 1999 Indonesia’s Central Planning and Development Board earmarked 10 percent of educational safety net funds for working children to alleviate the growing trend of children dropping out of school for economic reasons.1025
In January 2001, the ILO launched a program to provide 19.2 million children with improved basic education by improving the non-formal education system to suit the needs of working children.1026
In 2001, central government spending on total education was equivalent to US$ 1.3 billion or 6 percent of central government spending, according to the 2001 revised budget. Figures are not available for amounts that regional governments spent on education under the fiscal decentralization program. Nonetheless experts agree this sector is severely underfunded.1027
5. Selected Data on Government Expenditures
The following bar chart presents selected government expenditures expressed as a percentage of GNP. The chart considers government expenditures on education, the military, health care, and debt service. Where figures are available, the portion of government spending on education that is specifically dedicated to primary education is also shown.1028
While it is difficult to draw conclusions or discern clear correlations between areas of government expenditure as a percentage of GNP and the incidence of child labor in a country, this chart and the related tables presented in Appendix B (Tables 14 through 19) offer the reader a basis for considering the relative emphasis placed on each spending area by the governments in each of the 33 countries profiled in the report.
975 World Bank, World Development Indicators 2000 [CD-ROM], Washington, D.C., 2000 [hereinafter World Development Indicators 2000 ].
976 Irwanto, Fentiny Nugroho, and Johanna Debora Imeldak, Trafficking of Children in Indonesia (Jakarta: ILO- IPEC, 2001), 25.
977 Jakarta Post, August 9, 2001, as cited in Electronic Correspondance from U.S. Department of State Official, Eric Barboriak, to U.S. Department of Labor Official, April 24, 2002 [hereinafter Jakarta Post].
978 P. Irwan, H. Hendriati and Y. Hestyani, Alternative Education Strategies for the Young Disadvantaged Groups in Indonesia (Jakarta: UNESCO, 1999), as cited in Peter Stalker, Beyond Krismon: The Social Legacy of Indonesia’s Financial Crisis (UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Italy, December 2000), 20 [hereinafter Beyond Krismon ]. However, given the percentage of children out of school, some analysts suggest that a more likely figure is 20 percent.
979 Irwanto, Mohammad Farid, and Jeffry Anwar, Situational Analysis of Children in Need of Special Protection in Indonesia (Jakarta: CSDS Atma Jaya, Department of Social Affairs, and UNICEF, 1998), 2 [hereinafter Situational Analysis of Children in Need ].
980 Some theorists find that this trend is unlikely, as it is contradicted by education rates of participation in which girls drop out of school earlier and at higher rates than boys. Indonesian Experience with Child Labor at 19-20.
981 1997 Central Bureau of Statistics data, as cited in Challenges for a New Generation: The Situation of Children and Women in Indonesia, 2000 (Jakarta: Government of Indonesia and UNICEF, September 2000), 140-41 [hereinafter The Situation of Children and Women in Indonesia ].
982 Situational Analysis of Children in Need at 56. See also Indonesian Experience with Child Labor at 19-20, which states that participation of children in the workforce decreased between 1977 and 1996, while it has increased in urban areas. In fact, participation rates by girls ages 10 to 14 in the urban workforce have more than doubled. Additionally, while data are not yet available, the Asian crisis is presumed to have had a significant impact on child labor. Ten million workers lost their jobs, and the rupiah radically devalued, particularly impacting the poor. For further discussion of this issue, see Henri Sitorus and Yayasan Handal Mahardika, “The Economic Crisis and Child Workers in Indonesia: The Case of Child Plantation and Industrial Workers in North Sumatra”; see www.cwa.tnet.co.th/booklet/Indonesia.html.
983 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1999 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of State, February 2000), 1150-51 [hereinafter Country Reports 1999—Indonesia ].
984 ILO-IPEC Programme to Combat Child Labor in the Fishing Sector in Indonesia and the Philippines (Phase 1), project document (Geneva: ILO, 1999), 2-3.
985 Chairil Chaniago, “Girl Workers in the Fisheries Sector in Belawan,” in Child Workers in Asia (Bangkok: Child Workers in Asia, vol. 16, no. 2, May-August 2000), 12-13.
986 On one plantation, owned by the state of Indonesia, children living near the plantation make up almost 30 percent of the 1,500 workers. They work roughly the same hours as adults but are paid much less. See Henri Sitorus and Yayasan Handal Mahardika, “The Economic Crisis and Child Workers in Indonesia: The Case of Child Plantation and Industrial Workers in North Sumatra” at (www.cwa.tnet.co.th/booklet/Indonesia.htm) [hereinafter “Economic Crisis and Child Workers in Indonesia”].
987 “Economic Crisis and Child Workers in Indonesia. See also interview with SBSI labor union officials, by U.S. Department of Labor official, October 13, 2000, and interview with Dr. Soedarti Surbakti, director general of BPS, Statistics Indonesia, by U.S. Department of Labor official, October 9, 2000, who finds the rate of child work in agriculture is declining. Dr. Surbakti said that only about 58 percent of child laborers are working in agriculture today [hereinafter Surbakti interview].
988 The Situation of Children and Women in Indonesia at vi.
989 U.S. Embassy-Jakarta, unclassified telegram no. 003129, June 28, 1999 [hereinafter unclassified telegram 003129].
990 Jakarta Post.
991 ILO, Trafficking of Children in Indonesia, 34, as cited in Electronic Correspondance from U.S. Department of State Official, Eric Barboriak, to U.S. Department of Labor Official, April 24, 2002 [hereinafter Electronic Correspondance 4/24/02]. A 1995 survey estimated roughly 700,000 children below age 18 at work as domestic servants in Jakarta; see Blagbrough, Child Domestic Work in Indonesia: A Preliminary Situation Analysis (London: Anti-Slavery International, 1995), as cited in Innocenti Digest 5: Child Domestic Work (UNICEF International Child Development Centre, Italy, May 1999), 3.
992 Children have been reported in militia groups that formed in East Timor and in the separatist region of Aceh and in the Maluku Islands. Reports from the Malukus indicate that children between the ages of 7 and 12 years of age have participated in both sides of the conflict. “Asia Report: Indonesia and East Timor,” May 2000, 2, 7; see www.child-soldiers.org/reports_asia/indon_and_et.html. According to this source, sources within the churches in the region said at least 200 boys had been forcibly recruited and trained as fighters.
993 W. E. Santi Soekanto, “Traumatized Children Left Neglected,” Jakarta Post, October 7, 2000.
994 Mohammad Farid, “Sexual Abuse, Sexual Exploitation, and the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children,” in Situational Analysis of Children in Need at 96-97. According to the National Commission for Child Protection, there are 390,000 children in prostition. See Electronic Correspondance 4/24/02.
995 Country Reports 1998—Indonesia at 1152.
996 Country Reports 2000—Indonesia at Section 6f (www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2000/eap/index.cfm?docid=707). See also The Situation of Children and Women in Indonesia at vi.
997 Country Reports 1998—Indonesia at 1152-53. See also Electronic Correspondance 4/24/02.
998 USAID, GED 2000: Global Education Database [CD-ROM], Washington, D.C., 2000. According to the 2000 UNICEF Situation Analysis, about 5.5 million children between 7 and 15 years of age do not attend school. See Electronic Correspondance 4/24/02.
999 World Development Indicators 2000 .
1000 Indonesian Experience With Child Labor at 26.
1001 UNICEF Situation Analysis 2000 , as cited in Electronic Correspondance 4/24/02.
1002 World Development Indicators 2000 .
1003 Beyond Krismon at 19.
1004 Unclassified telegram 003129.
1005 Country Reports 2000—Indonesia at Section 5.
1006 U.S. Embassy-Jakarta, unclassified telegram no. 004679, September 29, 2000 [hereinafter unclassified telegram 004679].
1007 The Situation of Children and Women in Indonesia at 143.
1008 Unclassified telegram 004679. According to the ILO, several laws relating to child labor are currently being reviewed by the Government of Indonesia, including an omnibus Manpower Development and Protection Act, but due to public opposition and political constraints, these bills have not yet been approved.
1009 Unclassified telegram 003129. The Department of Manpower includes 1,300 labor inspectors responsible for enforcing labor laws, including those related to child labor. The size of the force is reportedly inadequate for the effective monitoring or response to child labor. Training specifically on child labor issues is provided to labor inspectors.
1010 Country Reports 1999—Indonesia at 1150. See also unclassified telegram 004679.
1011 “Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: Experience in Handling Child Labor in North Sumatra,” in Child Workers in Asia , vol. 15, no. 3 (September-December 1999) (www.cwa.tnet.co.th/V15-3/ indonesia.htm).
1012 “Asia Report: Indonesia and East Timor,” May 2000 (www.child-soldiers.org/reports_asia/indon_and_et.html).
1013 For a list of which countries profiled in Chapter 3 have ratified ILO Conventions No. 138 and No. 182, see Appendix C.
1014 Electronic correspondence from Pandji Putranto, ILO-IPEC, to U.S. Department of Labor official, March 18, 2001.
1015 Indonesian Experience with Child Labor at 77-79.
1016 Country Reports 2000—Indonesia .
1017 Since 1998, only information for age 15 and above has been published.
1018 Surbakti interview.
1019 Esther Duflo, Schooling and Labor Market Consequences of School Construction in Indonesia: Evidence from an Unusual Policy Experiment, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), NBER Working Paper Series No. 7860 (Massachusetts: August 2000), 2. Ultimately, more than 61,000 schools were constructed.
1020 The Situation of Children and Women in Indonesia at 98.
1022 Interview with Darmastuti Soetrisno, director of kindergarten and primary education, Ministry of Education, by U.S. Department of Labor official, October 13, 2000.
1024 Beyond Krismon at 10-11.
1025 Unclassified telegram, 6/28/99. Funds provided by the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, and the Indonesian Government.
1026 UN Wire, “Indonesia: ILO Targets 19.2M Children for Improved Education,” January 4, 2001 (www.unfoundation.org/unwire/index.asp).
1027 Electronic Correspondance 4/24/02.
1028 See Chapter 1, Section C, 5, for a fuller discussion of the information presented in the box. See also Appendix B for further discussion, and Tables 14 through 19 for figures on government expenditure over a range of years.