From Roy Tupai, Paras Indonesia

August, 03 2006 @ 12:30 am

Saudis Deported For Unlawfully Wedded Wives

Five Saudi Arabian men have been deported after they followed Vice President Jusuf Kalla’s advice to visit Indonesia and buy short-term “contract wives” in the West Java hillside resort area of Puncak.

Acting on tip-offs from local residents, police and immigration officials at 10pm Monday (31/7/06) began raiding villas and hotels in Cisarua subdistrict, Puncak, which is part of Bogor regency. When the raids concluded at 3am Tuesday, the officials had nabbed more than 20 people, including six Saudi men.

As is all too common in Indonesia, the raids were filmed by local television networks, which later broadcast footage of the officials eagerly grabbing and interrogating the frightened young women, while the apprehended Saudi men looked on sheepishly.

Bogor Immigration Office on Wednesday deported five of the Saudis via Jakarta for abusing the terms of their short-stay tourist visas, while the sixth was released due to a lack of evidence.

Puncak has long been a popular tourist destination for Arab men willing to pay for short-term sexual relationships with young women. The prostitution is given a thin veneer of religious respectability by some local Islamic clerics and village chiefs, who charge a fee for blessing and certifying contract weddings, even though such marriages are not recognized by the state.

At a tourism marketing seminar on June 28, Kalla called on Arab men to visit Puncak to buy contract wives, claiming the short-term marriages would bring financial benefits to the women and produce children with “good genes” so “there will be more television actors and actresses from these pretty boys and girls".

Kalla’s remarks outraged women’s rights activists, who condemned the vice president for promoting sex tourism. They said the contract marriages are a form of prostitution and encourage poor families to sell their daughters for sex.

Legislator Eva Kusuma Sundari of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) accused Kalla of denigrating women and endorsing the sale of women to foreigners. She demanded he issue a public apology and formally retract his statement. She also accused Kalla of hypocrisy, pointing out that when he served as coordinating minister for people’s welfare under ex-president Megawati Sukarnoputri, he had publicly opposed the trafficking of women.

Fellow legislator Badriyah Fayumi of the National Awakening Party (PKB) said Kalla’s statement was condescending not only to Indonesian women but also to Indonesian men. "The statement meant that Jusuf Kalla considers male Indonesian genes inferior to foreign genes. It is inappropriate for a public official at the level of vice president to make such a comment,” he said.

Responding to the outburst of criticism, Kalla claimed he had been joking. His spokesman Muchlish Hasyim later said the vice president apologized if his remarks had caused any offense.

Bogor Immigration Office head Yeyet Oking said this week’s crackdown on short-term marriages was prompted by the barrage of complaints about Kalla’s remarks.

He said the five Saudis had violated Law No.9/1992 on Immigration because they misused their tourist visas by illegally marrying locals. He said they had also violated public order and could have faced up to six years in jail if convicted of breaking the law.

"Short-term marriages are an act of disrespect for our marriage law. Besides, they have also misused their tourist visas," he was quoted as saying by Reuters.

"basically it's concealed prostitution and they do this not to raise a family but to have short-term pleasures," he added.

A Bogor Police detective named Jeffry told Agence France-Presse the women detained during the raids would be released from local police headquarters after receiving "moral guidance" so they do not repeat their offense.

Bogor Police chief Senior Commissioner Sukrawardi Dahlan on Tuesday said the crackdown would continue because residents of Cisarua had complained about the short-term relationships between local women and foreigners. "They have violated Indonesian marital regulations," he was quoted as saying by state news agency Antara.

Named & Shamed
Following are full details of the Cisarua raids, as reported by the Kompas daily’s online edition:

The first target was Villa Cokro in Ciburial, but officials were left red-faced after failing to find any illegally married couples there.

Next was Villa Aldita at Warung Kaleng in Tugu village. This time the officials hit paydirt, nabbing four contract wives and their Saudi “husbands”. The couples were identified as Diana Binti Udin (20) and Mohammad Almuhan; Riyani Binti M. Yunus (20) and Sulaeman Saud A. Altraigi; Nina Lestari (18) and Ali Dhafer M. Aldosari; and Yuli Astuti (19) and Abdullah Shuraie M. Alhrarshah.

Almuhan had married Diana Udin on August 31, 2005, for a fee of Rp3 million at a ceremony blessed by a cleric named Salim. The pimp who arranged the marriage contract was identified as Ratna, who was paid Rp1.5 million. Diana also received Rp1.5 million.

Altraigi married Riyani Yunus on August 15, 2003, at a hotel in Senen, Central Jakarta, for a fee of Rp10 million. Riyanai’s mother Rosillah acted as the witness at the wedding, which was blessed by the bride’s uncle Husen.

Aldosari married Nina Lestari on July 30, 2006, at Villa Aldita. According to their marriage contract, Aldosari would provide his teenage bride with Rp500,000 for each day they were together. But Nina complained that Aldosari had so far failed to meet his end of the bargain.

Alhrarshah married Yuli Astuti on July 30, 2006. Their wedding contract also said the bride would be paid Rp500,000 every day. Likewise, Yuli said Alhrarshah had not yet paid her any money.

The next target of the raids was Villa GBI, where the officials found two couples who had entered contract marriages. They were identified as Marini Binti Tjetjep (19) and Saad Mousa A. Alshamrani; and Erni Kurniawati (18) and Abdul Rahman Awad A. Alshamrani.

Alshamrani married Marini on July 26, 2006, at the residence of Ibu Haji Uwan (the honorific Ibu Haji means Mrs Uwan has made the haj pilgrimage to Mecca) in Nagrak, Warung Menteng village, Cijeruk subdistrict. Marini’s father blessed the wedding, although he had to split the proceeds of the Rp5 million bridal fee with two intermediaries, H. Achmad and Ibu Haji Uwan.

The report said Achmad and Uwan had acted as pimps in arranging other contract marriages, including that of Alshamrani and Erni. Alshamrani paid Rp4 million for his teenage bride. The two were married on July 28, 2006, at Uwan’s house with Erni’s older brother Kadi blessing the ceremony.

The police and immigration officials also nabbed 11 young women who had become contract wives and been left by their “husbands”. The 11 were brought to Cisarua Police precinct. Seven of them were identified as Mumun, Aida, Ani, Yanti, Rina, Selfi and Sarah.

Aida and Sarah said they were students at private tertiary institutions in Jakarta and had become contract wives to pay for their tuition. More on them later.

Several couples and abandoned contract wives reportedly escaped arrest and fled their villas after local ojek (motorcycle taxi) drivers warned them that raids were in progress.

During the raids, police also uncovered an alleged child trafficking operation. Officers arrested a pimp named Maria who was allegedly in possession of five young female teenagers on sale for sex.

Bogor Police chief Dahlan said the marriage contract business was very deeply rooted in the area and involved several sectors of the community. “It has become a source of livelihood for some residents. As a result of this, we were obstructed when conducting the raids,” he said.

Risky Business
Saudi Arabia’s Gulf News on June 16, 2006, ran an article on Indonesian contract marriages, warning that some brokers or brides are swindlers who just take the money and run. The report said many young Arab men enjoyed holidaying in Indonesia, where they were tempted to try “temporary marriages”.

“They were lured by the false promises of the gang members of marriages to beautiful young women under 18 at cheap rates," said the article.

Following are a couple of the article’s contract marriage horror stories experienced by young Saudis visiting Jakarta.

One of the Saudi youths, who was cheated by the gangs, told Gulf News: "While I was taking my meals at an Arab restaurant in Jakarta, I heard some young men asking whether anybody wanted to get married to beautiful young girls. I did not pay any attention to them in the beginning. When they repeated the offer for the third time, I was interested and expressed my willingness. They then took me to a marriage bureau and I was introduced to a man called Haider. After a short while, Haider paraded five young women in front of me and asked me to select one. When I had chosen one of them and agreed on a dowry of four million rupiah, the marriage notary appeared with witnesses and solemnized the marriage ceremony. When I took my bride to a nearby hotel, she was clearly bewildered. While I was trying to be friendly with her, she asked me if she could go out to the nearby pharmacy to buy some medicine and I agreed not knowing that she would never return.”

The same was the case with another Saudi youth but with a slight difference. He went to the marriage bureau and told the story of his wife's disappearance. The bureau staff members promised to help him find her. On leaving the building, he saw his bride going into the same office in the company of some other girls in order to be paraded in front of the new "victims". When he tried to stop her, the security guards held him and the door was slammed shut.

Students Become Contract Wives to Cover Tuition
Back to Cisarua and the story of Aida (22) and Sarah (20), the two detained contract wives who said they were Jakarta college students.

The pair said they had entered into contract marriages in order to pay for their tuition fees. Aida said she attended a college in Kramat Raya, Central Jakarta, while Sarah said she was studying at a college in Kalibata, South Jakarta.

Sarah said she started out in the business three years ago. "I fell into the contract marriage business when I was offered a job in Saudi Arabia with a very big salary by a woman who called herself Astuti. I had only just met her at one of the popular discos in Jakarta,” she said.

She said Astuti promised to line her up with a lucrative job at a restaurant owned by a business colleague in Saudi Arabia. But before Sarah could take the job, she was required become acquainted with Astuti’s colleague, who would soon be holidaying in Puncak. Tantalized by the prospect of a big salary equivalent to tens of millions of rupiah, Sarah accepted the offer. “At that time I was finding it really difficult to continue attending lectures because of the high fees," said the blonde haired woman from East Jakarta.

Sarah was next approached by one of Astuti’s associates, who she soon realized was merely a pimp. "He said the boss of the restaurant in Saudi Arabia wanted to meet me. By coincidence he was on holiday in Puncak.”

She said the Saudi, whose name was Ahmed Abdul, promised to cover all of her expenses and her salary once she started working in Saudi Arabia. But there was a condition. "The condition was that I must first want to escort him, by becoming his contract wife, whenever he was in Puncak, about every four months."

Over the past three years, Sarah has become a contract wife to three Saudis, while her dream a high paying job in Saudi Arabia has evaporated. "I’ve already had three Arab husbands, although the status of our marriages was only contracts," she said.

The curvaceous Aida from Semper in North Jakarta had a different story, explaining that she had decided it was better to become a contract wife rather than end up as a street prostitute to meet her tuition fees. "Rather than engaging in prostitution on the street, which is known as becoming a public toilet, it was more tolerable for me to enter a contract marriage. This would provide me with a livelihood so I wouldn’t have to go on the street,” she said.

Both Sarah and Aida said they used the services of brokers who set them up with men from the Middle East for short-term marriages, which took place quickly and simply in Puncak.

At first glance, the contracts for such marriages appear genuine, being signed by the village chief, a cleric, a witness and a representative of the girl’s parents. But the paperwork is deceptive as the marriages are merely a form of veiled prostitution. For example, the Arab has to pay a dowry ranging from Rp10 million to Rp15 million and he can then abandon his “wife” when he returns to his homeland.

Sarah said her “husbands” had each paid Rp15 million, which she then had to split with the broker, the village chief, the witness and the guardian. “I myself only received Rp8 million," she said.

Sex Trafficking Victims
At least 60 girls from West Java’s Cianjur regency have been trafficked to Batam island off the northeast coast of Sumatra and sold into prostitution there, a local legislator said Wednesday.

Rina Mardiah, secretary of the Cianjur Legislative Assembly’s Commission VI on people's welfare, told Antara that a survey of several nightspots on Batam revealed that many girls from Cianjur were working there as prostitutes. She said employment recruitment firms had tricked the girls by offering them high paying jobs in restaurants, hotels or bars, but then forced them to become prostitutes.

"They admitted to being deceived by brokers for Indonesian migrant workers and some of them were sold to the owners of discos and pubs to be employed as women as outlets for lust,” she was quoted as saying by Antara.

Mardiah said one 16-year-old girl, Gendis, was sold to a Batam nightspot for Rp4 million ($440) by a recruitment firm that had promised her a job as a waitress in Jakarta. "But later the underage girl was sold to Batam for a high price.”

She said Cianjur legislators had tried to rescue the girls, but many of them refused to return home because they “felt dirty” and were ashamed to face their families.

The Cianjur chapter of the Indonesian Women's Political Caucus urged the local government to exercise stricter control over nightlife areas, especially in the Cipanas-Puncak region, as these places had become hotbeds of female sex trafficking.

Caucus coordinator Titin Suastini said efforts were being taken to make young women aware of the risks of being tricked into prostitution.

"The administration and police must be proactive in disclosing cases like this because the trafficking problem is not only a criminal matter but also involves the self-esteem of the nation," she said.

Most of the clients in the sex trade on Batam are men from nearby Singapore, rather than Saudis.

Saudi Woman Jailed for Enslaving Indonesian Maid
A court in the US state of Colorado on Tuesday sentenced a Saudi woman to two months in jail for treating her Indonesian maid/nanny as a virtual slave for four years.

Sarah Khonaizan (35) was ordered to pay $90,000 in compensation and ordered not to have any contact with the 24-year-old woman. The defendant’s sentence will be reduced by 15 days of jail time already served.

A federal judge last week sentenced Khonaizan to five years of probation and ordered her to pay compensation of $26,275 for harboring the Indonesian woman as an illegal immigrant.

Khonaizan is expected to be deported after completing her sentence. She and her Saudi husband, Homaidan Al-Turki (37) were accused of hiding the woman's passport and forcing her to cook and clean for the family and take care of their five children at their Aurora home for a four-year period ending in November 2004.

Prosecutors said the maid slept on a mattress on the basement floor and was paid less than $2 a day. Actually, $2 a day is equivalent to Rp18,000 a day, which amounts to Rp547,000 a month or Rp6.57 million a year, which is more than some Indonesian families pay their maids.

Al-Turki was in June convicted of 12 counts of unlawful sexual contact by force, threats or intimidation; false imprisonment; conspiracy to commit false imprisonment; theft; and criminal extortion. He faces eight years to life imprisonment for each of the sexual contact counts at his sentencing on August 31.

Prosecutors said he forced and intimidated the woman into sex acts that culminated in her rape in late 2004. His defense lawyer argued that charges were misconstrued cultural differences due to "cynical Islamaphobia."

Al-Turki worked at Al-Basheer Publications and Translation in Denver and was a doctoral candidate at the University of Colorado. He faces a federal trial in October on charges of forced labor, document servitude and harboring an illegal immigrant.

The couple in April agreed to pay the victim about $64,000 to settle a Labor Department lawsuit.

The case is not the first of an Indonesian maid being abused by a Saudi family living in the US. In March 2005, Saudi Princess Hana Al Jader (40) living in Winchester, Massachusetts, was arrested on federal charges of enslaving two Indonesian women to look after her paralyzed husband Prince Mohamed Bin Turki Alsaud and their six children. She was released on a $1 million bond and ordered to surrender her passport while she awaits trial.

In 2001, Saudi Princess Buniah al-Saud living in Orlando, Florida, was charged with assaulting her Indonesian maid Ismiyati Memet Suryono and pushing her down a staircase. The criminal charge was reduced under a plea bargain to misdemeanor assault and a small fine because the maid was unable to return to the witness stand, as she was refused a visa to re-enter the US after traveling to Indonesia for her mother's funeral.

By: Roy Tupai | Category: Law
KuKuKaChu: dangerously too sophisticated