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Jakarta Post

'No sense of urgency' to help Indonesia's heroes

  • Ati Nurbaiti

    <B>The Jakarta Post</B>

Jakarta   /   Sun, July 20 2008   /  10:38 am

Indonesian migrant workers make up the majority of migrant workers in the Middle East, and Saudi Arabia in particular, with hundreds of thousands of Indonesians working there. As of April 2008, these pahlawan devisa (heroes and heroines of foreign exchange) have sent home some US$2 billion, helping relieve deep-seated worries about unemployment. So why is the government so reluctant to speak up for the workers, mostly women from impoverished villages, exposed to abuse so far from home? Weni binti Aceng knows why: "They think Indonesians will have absolutely nothing to eat if they don't work in Saudi Arabia." This is why "we are treated so badly", the former migrant worker said. Weni will not be going back, having been raped by her employer and spending a year in jail for both adultery and fleeing her workplace. She is now de...