Using data from the International Organization for Migration's Counter-Trafficking Module (CTM), this study examined the experiences of Indonesian victims of human trafficking who were exploited as domestic workers in Malaysia, as well as the risk factors that may have contributed to their exploitation.
Of the 3,701 trafficked Indonesians identified in the CTM, 56 percent (n=2,080) reported that they had worked as domestic workers in their destination country. Eighty-nine percent (n=1,842) of these Indonesian women reported that Malaysia was their destination country. Fifty-five percent of these respondents reported that their documents were forged in order to travel, and half indicated they had not signed an employment contract. Those who reported traveling with forged documents and working without an employment contract were most likely to be recruited by an agent, including legal recruiting agents in Indonesia. The respondents were in possession of their travel papers while en route to the destination country, but half reported that their travel documents were later held by a labor agent or an employer in Malaysia. Ninety-one percent (n=1,592) reported that they had been denied freedom of movement in Malaysia, and 94 percent indicated they had worked an excessive number of hours, i.e., more than 8 hours a day or permanent 24-hour standby; 85 percent reported they had been fully deprived of wages, whether or not they had signed a labor contract. Most respondents said they received both medical and psychosocial treatment after being freed from their exploitative work. More than half indicated they spent between 1 and 2 weeks in a recovery shelter. Among the risk factors for trafficking exploitation in Indonesia and Malaysia are unscrupulous labor practices in Indonesia, poverty and low educational levels, and Malaysia's exemption of undocumented workers from labor-rights regulations. 2 figures and 19 references
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Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, No. 471, February 2014