PETALING JAYA: In an about-turn on its earlier stand, Indonesia said on Monday it will continue to allow its citizens to work as domestic helpers overseas, Sin Chew Daily reported today.
The most populous nation in Southeast Asia “exports” tens of thousands of its maids to countries such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Malaysia.
Despite occasional reports of maid abuse and near-slave living conditions for some, the relatively high pay in these host countries remains a draw for these workers.
Jakarta had announced earlier that to protect its women, it would stop its domestic helpers from working overseas this year, resulting in many impoverished Indonesian maids resorting to the use of illegal means to work overseas.
This has encouraged human trafficking, prompting the Indonesian government to change its mind.
Confirming that Indonesia will not ban its maids from working overseas, the Indonesian Manpower Ministry however said it is negotiating with host countries for better treatment of these maids.
The ministry’s director for the protection and placement of Indonesian migrant workers abroad, Soes Hindharno, said: “We don’t want to stop them (maids) from going abroad, but we want to better protect them.”
This, he said, included preventing them from being exploited such as being forced to perform duties outside their job scope.
“If they are hired to do housework, their job is to just do housework. If they are engaged to babysit, their job is to just babysit: you cannot ask a babysitter to also bathe your dog.”
Nevertheless, Indonesia maintains the ban on its maids to work in Middle East countries. The ban was imposed in 2015 to protect the pride and dignity of these workers following a series of cases of legal and human rights violations.
Domestic workers account for a third of some six millions Indonesian migrant workers.
Source : http://www.thesundaily.my/news/2201640