Ihdam Abu Bakar, who illegally sent workers to Egypt and Tunisia, will be sent to jail for seven years if found guilty.
Despite facing more than five years in jail, the National Police headquarters has yet to decide whether or not to detain him.
“Last night, a task force from the National Police criminal unit arrested the suspect who has been sending migrant workers illegally to the Middle East,” National Police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar said in Jakarta on Tuesday.
“The person in question is still being interrogated. We will decide whether or not to detain him later.”
According to the spokesman, the suspect has been involved in the illegal operation for about two to three years and that he often manipulated the age of young migrant workers by forging documents.
“The identities of the migrant workers do not match the actual data. The suspects have been actively recruiting [potential workers]. We are still investigating the total number of victims,” Boy said.
Earlier reports said that the suspect had been running the illegal business for years through his travel company, called Bani Golden Tour, which he also operated illegally.
The suspect kept his victims in a house located in Semper, North Jakarta. But a police raid conducted on Monday night found the house was empty.
Police later learned that the suspect had moved his victims to the 10th floor of the Mall of Indonesia Apartments, where police found five victims, one of whom was still underage.
Earlier this month, a presidentially appointed task force on migrant workers called for a blanket moratorium on the sending of Indonesian household workers to the Middle East until their protection was legally guaranteed.
“On one hand, we are halting the legal entry of Indonesian workers, but if the country or the agents still need Indonesian workers, then they will simply come in as illegal workers,” task force spokesman Humphrey Djemat said.