Jan 27, 2013

Indonesia - Captive Workers Set to Return From Malaysia

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A group of 82 Indonesians trafficked into Malaysia to work as captive laborers will arrive back in Indonesia on Monday after efforts by the Foreign Ministry to secure their release and repatriation.

P.L.E. Priatna, a ministry spokesman, said on Friday that the workers would be greeted at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport by senior ministry officials.

“Once they arrive here, they will be taken into the protective custody of the police, who will be responsible for investigating the trafficking case from the Indonesian side,” he said.

“The Social Affairs Ministry will be responsible for ensuring they get back to their hometowns.”

The 82 women were from a group of 104 Indonesians who were discovered to be working under indentured conditions or being prepared to be sent to work in the Middle East.

Ninety-three of them were rescued during a raid on Dec. 1 on a building in Bandar Baru Klang, Selangor state, where they were found to be held against their will.

The agency is alleged to have kept the women in captivity, allowing them to leave only to clean customers’ homes. Some of the women told investigators they were abused and others said they were deprived of food, Indonesian Embassy officials said.

Another raid on Dec. 7 resulted in the release of 11 Indonesians being held in an apartment in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, and waiting to be sent to work in the Middle East. Some were slated to go to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan, in violation of a moratorium by the Indonesian government on sending migrant workers there, while the others were headed to conflict-riddled places such as Syria and Egypt.

The 22 workers still in Malaysia have not yet been repatriated because they are expected to testify against the suspects arrested in the series of raids there, the Foreign Ministry said.

Fourteen migrant worker placement agencies in Jakarta, Semarang and Surabaya are now being investigated for their roles in sending the workers to Malaysia.

The ministry has urged law enforcers to punish them to the fullest extent of the law if they were found to have knowingly sent the workers into captive labor.

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