Outrage in Indonesia over viral videos of 2 mothers sexually abusing their kids; both claim to be sextortion victims

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Location: www.channelnewsasia.com

JAKARTA: Two videos of children being molested by their mothers have been making the rounds online in Indonesia, sparking shock and outrage among netizens while shining the spotlight on sextortion in the country.

The videos were taken last year, but only became viral and a trending topic on social media last week after they emerged on platforms such as X and TikTok.

Police have arrested the two suspects, both in their 20s, who claim to be victims of sextortion. They were allegedly approached on Facebook by a user “Icha Khalisa” in 2023 who promised them payment if they sent over nude photos of themselves.

According to the women, after doing so, the user then demanded that they record videos of them sexually abusing their children and send the clips over, or else the nudes would be circulated on social media.

Indonesian police published details of the cases on Jun 3. In one case in South Tangerang, the mother - whom the police referred to as R - claimed she was forced to record herself sexually abusing her five-year-old son. 

The Facebook user had offered payment of 15 million rupiah (US$920) in exchange while also threatening to circulate her nude photos online if she failed to record and send over the video.

"Because she felt threatened, R finally committed sexual abuse and did bad things. Then, it was recorded which then went viral," said Greater Jakarta Metropolitan Police spokesperson Ade Ary Syam Indradi as quoted by Detik.

The video was recorded and sent by R, but she never received the payment. Instead, a year later, the video became viral on social media.

According to the police, a mother in Bekasi, referred to as AK, molested her 10-year-old son under similar circumstances. The incident was recorded and sent to the same Facebook account in December 2023, and the video went viral this month as well.

Both R and AK are suspected of breaking multiple laws concerning pornography and child protection. If charged and found guilty, they face up to 12 years in prison.

Indonesian police say they have tracked down the owner of the “Icha Khalisa” Facebook account, but it turns out the account was hacked by someone who is still at large, and the owner claims to be a victim of extortion like R and AK.


Media reports quoting experts have described both cases against R and AK as sextortion or sexually based extortion crimes.

According to the Australian Center to Counter Child Exploitation, sextortion is a form of online blackmail where someone tricks or coerces an individual into sending sexual images of themselves and then threatens to share the images unless the individual complies with their demands. 

A 2020 Global Corruption Barometer report by Transparency International found that Indonesia had the highest rate of sextortion in Asia at 18 per cent, more than twice the Asian average of 8 per cent.

Experts say the kind of sextortion observed in the recent cases is on the rise in Indonesia and is usually orchestrated by a large syndicate. Indeed, the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) suspects a syndicate was behind both cases.

"This case has relevance to the findings of 2,100 child porn videos," said KPAI Chairperson Ai Maryati Solihah, as quoted by Detik.

Mr Ardi Putra, a criminologist from the University of Indonesia, also suspects that what happened to the two mothers were not isolated crimes, but were instead part of a global syndicate network.

"We know there is a global phenomenon of many people who have mental problems, who like such content and are willing to pay a lot of money. So there are parties who become brokers and find them, then sell them on adult forums," Mr Ardi told CNA. 

Mr Ardi said these forum users operate on the dark web and are not confined to Indonesians alone, adding that the two women arrested for recording the obscene videos should continue to be assisted because they are also victims. 

At the same time, analysts note that Indonesia's existing laws do not have specific provisions regulating such crimes.

Pointing this out, Mr Ardi is calling on the Indonesian government to study and formulate the right law for sextortion cases. He says there is an urgency to do so as more cases will emerge with the rapid advance of technology.

"In the future, sexual violence will be multidimensional, with the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and victims can be blackmailed with deepfakes."