Indonesia sings to end slavery and exploitation

Stephen Fitzpatrick; 30/4/10;

Some of Indonesia’s top rock bands, a bubbly pop starlet who makes teenagers swoon, the music channel MTV and the Australian government’s aid program might seem an unlikely combination. But a series of concerts kicking off this weekend in Pontianak, the regional capital of West Kalimantan, has a serious objective: raising awareness of human trafficking. The five free concerts, which it is hoped will attract about 100,000 young Indonesians, are designed to push the message that being sold into prostitution and forced labour is a major human rights violation. UN figures suggest 2.5 million people are trafficked annually, the majority in the Asia-Pacific. About 100,000 Indonesian women and children are sold into sexual slavery each year, according to Unicef.
AusAID and its American counterpart, USAID, are the concert program’s major sponsors, which is headed up by young former Sydney lawyer Matt Love and spruiked by Agnes Monica, a young pop singer, dancer and soapie actress who sends Indonesian teens delirious. “It takes more than just one person, it takes more than just MTV, it takes more than just the government, it takes everyone to stand up and do their part,” Ms Monica said at the Jakarta launch.