Indonesia’s maid ban increases risk of human trafficking

Indonesia’s maid ban increases risk of human trafficking

HONG KONG - Reuters
Indonesia’s maid ban increases risk of human trafficking

AFP Photo

Indonesia’s proposed ban on sending domestic workers to the Middle East will force women seeking an escape from poverty to migrate illegally, and put them at greater risk of human trafficking, a rights campaigner said on June 17. 

President Joko Widodo announced in May that Indonesia would stop sending new domestic workers to 21 Middle Eastern countries after Saudi Arabia executed two Indonesian maids, local media reported. 

Eni Lestari, chairwoman of the International Migrants’ Alliance comprising more than 120 member organizations, said Indonesians would continue to seek work overseas unless the government did more to tackle poverty. 

“This moratorium makes women more vulnerable because they will migrate anyway,” Lestari told the Reuters. 
“It’s not about protecting migrant workers - on the contrary, it increases the risk that they are trafficked because they will be illegal migrants and have no protection at home and in their destination countries,” she said. 

Lestari was speaking on the sidelines of Trust Forum Asia, a conference co-hosted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation that aims to tackle modern day slavery. 

There are 53 million domestic workers worldwide, more than 80 percent of them are women, according to the International Labor Organisation (ILO).