[Indonesia Report] Indonesian migrant workers fear of Jakarta Airport

Special Terminal for Indonesian Migrant Workers in Jakarta International Soekarno-Hatta Airport (Photo: www.kampungtki.com)

Indonesia as a developing country with more than 230 million population is home for many of migrant workers.

Every year Indonesia sends hundreds of thousands of Migrant workers to such countries as Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and many other countries.

Indonesian even call the migrant workers as “foreign exchange hero”, since they bring in big amount of foreign exchange for the country from their works.

But Indonesian government seems to have not put their best effort to protect the basic right and to show their appreciation to these heroes.

Worker rights activists, Anis Hidayah, urged government for the closure of the notorious Selapajang Terminal at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, citing its long history of alleged discrimination and extortion of returning migrant workers, The Jakarta Globe reported.

Anis Hidayah, executive director of the group Migrant Care, said on Friday (Sept 14), for the past several years had filed complaints about the terminal which handles migrant workers returning from overseas and provides onward transportation for their journeys home.

“In 2006, the UN special rapporteur on migrant worker rights recommended to the government that the migrant worker terminal be closed down,” she said.

“Besides the discriminative practices, the terminal fails to serve the workers by consistently providing them with expensive and unsafe onward transportation.”

Anis said she has been calling the government for the improvement of the services at the terminal or re-evaluate its function but she never got any feedback.

“That’s because the migrant worker terminal is profitable for them,” she said.

According to The Jakarta Globe, workers have frequently complained about paying exorbitant rates for transportation home because they are not allowed to be picked up by family or friends.

Public minivan drivers at the terminal have even been accused of robbing their passengers, who are often carrying months’ worth of wages, and leaving them stranded by the side of the road.

Some of migrant workers who are working in South Korea told they do not want to buy flight tickets which they have to make a transit to Jakarta because authorities in the airport usually asked them for money for any unclear reason, They prefer to make a transit in Denpasar, Bali or other countries as Singapore or Hong Kong which have direct flight to the airport of their final destination in their home town.

Meidyana Rayana Intern Reporter news@theasian.asia

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