News / Asia

Indonesian Teen Pimps Offer Young Girls For Sex

A teenage sex worker checks messages on her mobile phone at a boarding house in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia, Aug. 1, 2013.
A teenage sex worker checks messages on her mobile phone at a boarding house in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia, Aug. 1, 2013.
Frances AlonzoTerry Wing
Teenagers have always been involved in prostitution, but there’s increasing evidence that young people are getting involved on the business side of the trade  -- teenaged girls are serving as pimps for other young girls.  And social media are helping make it possible.

Nowhere is the trend more pronounced than in Indonesia, where human trafficking and sex tourism involve up to 70,000 children each year, according to the U.N. International Labor Organization. 
 
What’s new, however, are reports of girls as young as 14 serving as sex solicitors for other young girls.  Indonesia’s National Commission for Child Protection report 21 girls between 14 and 16 years of age have been caught working as “mamis” so far this year.

“Even just two years ago, there was not much evidence of children pimping other children,” said Andrea Bertone, Director of HumanTrafficking.org.  Bertone says the leap from victim to entrepreneur has been made easy for those savvy in the use of their smartphones.
.
Young people can use text messages and social media to book clients and make transactions, experts explain.  Standing on dark street corner wearing a short skirt and stiletto heels is no longer a prerequisite.

In some ways, that helps to make child prostitution an invisible crime.

Bertone says society needs to address the needs of those children who become involved in prostitution. 

“I think the biggest problem is that girls in Indonesian society are not valued,” Bertone said. “They don’t have opportunities like boys do and they’ll turn to ways to make money that aren’t going to be the most healthy.”

Bertone encourages authorities to introduce other ways of engaging young girls in more productive ways. “Yes, it will be hard,” she said. “ If no one tries, then this is going to happen much more often because the money is a huge draw.”

Indonesia isn’t the only country reporting the phenomenon of teen pimps.  A web search found reports going back five years where authorities had arrested or charged teenagers for recruiting other teen girls for prostitution in at least a dozen countries, including the United States and Canada.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid