[Stop-traffic] News/Indonesia: Indonesia considers 100-day ban on sending maids overseas

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/Indonesia: Indonesia considers 100-day ban on sending maids overseas
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Wed Aug 30 2000 - 08:49:04 EDT

Indonesia considers 100-day ban on sending maids overseas
Agence France Presse, August 15, 2000

JAKARTA (AFP) -- Indonesia, which sends tens of thousands of women overseas
every year to work as maids, is considering a 100-day ban while the
government introduces safeguards against frequent cases of abuse, a
minister said Tuesday.

The move follows several high-profile cases of abuse by employers and
unscrupulous recruitment agencies against Indonesian maids abroad, and the
execution of one maid in Saudi Arabia earlier this year.

"We are discussing how to improve policies, such as procedures, systems of
protection and developing bilateral agreements," Manpower Minister Bomer
Pasaribu told AFP at the parliament.

Pasaribu said the discussions were starting Tuesday in a working committee
of the Coordinating Board for the Placement of Indonesian Migrant Workers,
which is made up of nine ministries including his own.

But he stressed the government was only considering a temporary ban while
the safeguards could be worked out and put in place.

"We don't want to stop it ... we are just suspending it so that we can
improve working conditions," the minister told AFP.

Other measures under consideration were placing labor attaches in countries
who imported large numbers of maids, and improving recruitment and
education at home.

Women's Affairs Minister Khofifah Indah Parawansa was quoted by the
Indonesian Observer as saying that recruiters often forged the ages on the
passports of girls aged 15 or younger and listing them as single, when in
fact they had families.

But the minister stressed she did not want the industry to stop, as "many
Indonesians rely on one major bread-winner sending money home from abroad."

Government statistics show that from 1994 through 1999 some 1.5 million
Indonesians were sent abroad to work, most of them to the Middle East as
maids or drivers.

Reports from Malaysia last week said 120 Indonesian maids, out of 100,000
currently working there, had taken refuge at their country's consulate in
Sarawak, fleeing physical abuse or attempted rape by employers or agents.

In June an Indonesian maid was executed for allegedly killing the wife of
her Saudi employer with an iron pipe during a fight.

Jakarta earlier in the year managed to save another Indonesian female
worker, accused of adultery, from being stoned to death in the United Arab
Melanie Orhant
Stop-Traffic Moderator

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