Indonesia is a country in Southeast Asia, consisting of over 17,000 islands. With a population of 270 million, it is the fourth most populous country in the world. Indonesia is home to 1,300 distinct ethnic groups. One third of the population lives on the biggest island, Java.
Although Indonesia is the largest economy in Southeast Asia, inequality grows between rural and urban populations, and between the different islands, divided in provinces. The country is also a high risk area for natural disasters.
SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Indonesia since 1972.
Child trafficking, forced labour and exploitation have been a problem in Indonesia for decades. The country is not only a country of origin, but also a destination and transit country. Children are trafficked for mining, domestic and sexual exploitation.
Exact figures cannot be given as these crimes often take place behind closed doors. However, it is estimated that about 80,000 children are victims of sex trafficking in Indonesia. Children who have grown up without parental care have a higher risk of becoming victims of traffickers.
Indonesia is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. Not only earthquakes, but also floods, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions are a danger to the people living on the many different islands. Disasters can lead to children growing up without parental care or a home. In the 2018 earthquake, 665,000 children were affected – which is one third of all people affected. These children have to fend for themselves or often take care of their siblings, making it difficult for them to escape the vicious cycle of poverty.
62% of Indonesian children experience violence in their lives. In fact, three out of five girls and one out of two boys experience emotional violence.
Children are not only affected by violence at home, but also at school, where teachers use violent forms of physical and emotional punishment. One of the causes of this violence is sometimes attributed to the social acceptance of violence in education.