Batam in Indonesia. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Batam in Indonesia. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A Christian priest in Indonesia has been fighting human traffickers for more than five years. Father Chrisanctus Paschalis Saturnus, 38, said Batam had been a transit hub for illegal workers in Riau Islands province.

He said human trafficking concerns had become a part of his daily regimen while working in Batam, The Catholic Register reported.

According to the priest, he and his team have rescued at least 500 people from traffickers since 2013. Most of the victims were women and children hired to become domestic workers in other countries, particularly Malaysia.

“They don’t have documents and are deceived by recruiters with the lure of big salaries,” Saturnus said. He added that at least 10 perpetrators had been arrested during the past five years and were serving jail terms of between one and nine years.

“The Indonesian church has done a lot, but we must act faster and do more if we are to prove a match against the criminals,” he said.

The Indonesian government reported that more than one million of the six million Indonesians working overseas were illegally recruited and were likely exploited by their recruiters and employers.