Manpower Ministry Cracks Down on Illegal Recruiters of Migrant Workers

July 18, 20149:51 am342 views
Manpower Ministry Cracks Down on Illegal Recruiters of Migrant Workers
Manpower Ministry Cracks Down on Illegal Recruiters of Migrant Workers

Jakarta. ohe manpower ministry has stripped 17 recruitment agencies of their permits following their attempts earlier this month to send as many as 87 migrant workers to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

“We’ll coordinate with police at the Soekarno-Hatta airport to collect all the names [of the migrant workers], and investigate the various violations these agencies have committed,” Reyna Usman, the manpower ministry’s director general for manpower placement and development, said on Tuesday.

The government placed a moratorium in August 2011 on the placement of migrant workers in most Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

Still, many have managed to avoid police and government detection by using tourist visas to enter these countries with the help of recruitment agencies.

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Employment firms Amanitama Berkah Sejati, Prima Duta and Gayung have been named by police in relation to the illegal placement of Indonesian workers.

Police at the Soekarno-Hatta airport in Banten province detained the 87 migrant workers when they failed to provide valid documents — including passports — upon inspection.

Reyna applauded the police for stopping workers from leaving the country, thereby preventing them from becoming potential victims of forced labor and abuse due to their illegal work status.

“Their hard work is an essential part of the government’s efforts to monitor the illegal placement of migrant workers abroad,” she said, adding that she will also be working closely with the Agency for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers (BNP2TKI) and the immigration department.

“We will continue to crack down on [recruitment] agencies that look to profit from selling Indonesia’s workers,” she said.

Implementing human trafficking laws

Reyna has also urged the National Police to process the 17 PJTKIs under Indonesia’s laws on human trafficking.

“The government has only chosen to confiscate their permits, but these agencies should be punished as human traffickers, as that is essentially what they are,” Reyna said.

Migrant Care executive director Anis Hidayah echoed the sentiments and stressed that the sending of workers abroad without proper documentation can be considered human trafficking.

“Not only must their permits be revoked, but these agencies must be punished and ordered to compensate each of their victims financially,” she told the Jakarta Globe on Tuesday.

The Migrant Care official added that stripping the firms of their licenses would not be enough to deter others, as players in the industry are known to have far-reaching networks that can assist them to resurface under new names and with new permits.

The Indonesian government and its law enforcement agencies have ignored the practice of human trafficking for much too long, she added.

“Again, the government, in the public’s eye, has the tendency to underestimate the critical situation. They’re too slow in responding to issues,” she said.

“Now, they need to prove that they’re serious in solving human trafficking.”

Anis acknowledged that the problem persists partly due to Indonesian workers who — out of desperation resulting from financial difficulties — are willing to be sent abroad without going through proper channels.

Mohammad Jumhur Hidayat, a former chief for BNP2TKI, shot down the idea of punishing migrant workers who have been caught attempting to leave the country without legal permission.

The law, he said, must put the blame on fraudulent employment firms whose aims are simply to make money.

“Revoking their permits is not enough; the government must use the full extent of the law and put them behind bars,” he told the Jakarta Globe on Tuesday.

“These people need to be treated as criminals,” he added.

Jumhur emphasized the importance of identifying, and cutting any ties between rogue recruitment agencies and members of the police or government officials, “to end collusion and money exchanging hands in return for protection from the law.”



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