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VISION

Strong migrant workers’ movement as a part of social movement to achieve global justice. 

MISSIONS

  1. Encouraging the realization of a dignified life for Indonesian migrant workers and their families, respected by every nation and ideologically, politically, economically, socially and culturally sovereign.
  2. Strengthening global justice perspective. 
  3. Organizing and strengthening the critical awareness of migrant workers and their families about their rights as workers and as citizens
  4. Strengthening networks at various levels: local, national, regional and global for pro-migrant policy advocacy and its implementation
  5. Handling cases and providing legal assistance for migrant workers who experience unfair treatment and torture or violence
  6. Strengthening the organizational and institutional capacity of Migrant CARE to improve performance and strive for sustainability in accordance with the established vision and mission

History

Migrant CARE was officially established on June 22, 2004 based on high concerns regarding issues faced by Indonesian migrant workers, especially migrant workers who work in informal sector such as domestic workers. The stream of Indonesian labor migration abroad is getting bigger and bigger every day. This is due to many factors, one of which is due to unresolved domestic labor issues. The ongoing crisis also spurs the acceleration of labor migration, placing migrant workers in the midst of various vulnerabilities in the vortex of industrial development and globalization.

It is estimated that the number of Indonesian migrant workers abroad is 4.5 million people. Most of them are women (approximately 70%) and work as domestic and manufacture workers. In terms of age, most of them are in the productive age (over 18 years to 35 years), but it is suspected that many of them are actually underage. This happens because many of them had their identity documents forged. The rest of them, about 30% are men, working as labors in plantation, construction, transportation and service industries.

Working abroad as a migrant worker does offer high income, but the risks are also very big. The vulnerability of migrant workers starts since recruitment in their hometown. This process is the beginning of the exploitation chain of Indonesian migrant workers. The government has always condemned the practice of brokering as the source of the problems of migrant workers, yet has never seriously eradicated the practice. Most migrant workers go abroad through this intermediary. The recruitment process for migrant workers is full with extortion and fraud. Staffing companies play major contribution to the existence of brokers, because they are the catchers of the brokers’ recruitment result. 

During their working period, most migrant workers work in risky sectors (3D: Dark, Dirty, Dangerous) yet lack of protection. In the Middle East (especially Saudi Arabia), thousands of Indonesian migrant workers fell victims to violent and rapist employers. According to official data released by the Indonesian Embassy in Saudi Arabia and the Indonesian Embassy in Kuwait, the number of migrant workers who fled to the Indonesian Embassy to seek protection from acts of violence and rape reaches 3,627 people per year. Dozens of bodies of Indonesian migrant workers who died in Saudi Arabia are still abandoned, unburied and cannot be immediately transported back to Indonesia.

In Malaysia, Indonesian migrant workers are treated as “persona non grata“. The Malaysian government’s anti-migrant policy represses undocumented Indonesian migrant workers in Malaysia, whereas they were once the backbone of the Malaysian economy. To evict undocumented Indonesian migrant workers, the Malaysian government not only issued Immigration Act 1154 in 2002, but also launched an Ops-Nyah, which deployed fully armed Malaysian soldiers and police. Malaysia also uses the civilian militia, RELA, to arrest Indonesian migrant workers. In Malaysia, the issue of female trafficking is also a big issue.

 

In other states, migrant workers experience various problems. In Hong Kong, migrant workers receive subminimum wage. In Taiwan, there are many cases of unpaid salaries and unilateral termination of employment. Taiwan is also a destination for Indonesian women trafficking, especially women from Kalimantan for contract marriage purpose. In Singapore, apart from smuggling (smuggling in person), the vulnerability experienced by migrant workers is indicated by the large number of deaths. In the first semester of 2007, 120 Indonesian migrant workers passed away.

Returning to homeland does not mean that the suffering will end. As soon as they landed at Soekarno-Hatta Airport, they are entering the den of thieves, Terminal III. In this special terminal for Indonesian migrant workers, the extortion practice is systematical, both legal and illegal. The transportation monopoly for the return of Indonesian migrant workers is predetermined unilaterally by the Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration and BNP2TKI (National Agency for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Workers), which openly mark up the transportation costs by many times the normal rate. There is no freedom for Indonesian migrant workers to choose their preferred transportation.

The problems experienced by Indonesian migrant workers are truly complex, both in terms of types and causes. However, all things considered, the root of the problem is the lack of protection provided by the State. Therefore strengthening state’s institutions to provide protection for the people shall be the first task to do. Strengthening the movement of migrant workers to build higher bargaining position must also be done continuously. In addition, their contact with other nations makes the problem of migrant workers inseparable from the global context. To this day, Migrant CARE keeps strengthening the advocacy movement for the protection of Indonesian migrant workers.

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