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Jakarta Post

Migrant protection agency thwarts trafficking plot to Dubai

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, September 10, 2020   /   12:55 pm
Migrant protection agency thwarts trafficking plot to Dubai A poster reading "Migrant workers are NOT sacrificial animals" is propped in a bush during a Migrant Care rally on March 20, 2018 at the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Jakarta. Migrant worker activists condemned Saudi Arabia for executing Indonesian migrant worker M. Zaini Misrin, despite President Joko Widodo’s repeated requests for clemency. (JP/Seto Wardhana.)

The Agency for the Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers (BP2MI) has foiled an attempt to traffic around 200 Indonesian workers to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) capital of Dubai.

The agency launched an investigation on Sept. 6 at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport after a tip-off about an attempt to smuggle hundreds of undocumented Indonesian migrant workers to the Middle Eastern country.

During the investigation led by BP2MI head Benny Rhamdani, authorities discovered that the majority of the 200 targeted Indonesians had been promised domestic worker jobs in the UAE.

A 2015 decree issued by the Manpower Ministry bars the placement of Indonesian nationals to certain jobs in 19 Middle Eastern countries, including the UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Libya. Domestic worker placement is regulated under the decree. 

The ministry issued the decree in response to the many problems Indonesian domestic workers had experienced while working for private households in these countries, as well as the lack of legal protection for foreign migrant workers under the local government.

Read also: Critics decry reopening of migrant worker placement

Chairman Zecky Alatas of community organization Brigade 08 lauded the agency’s work in cracking down on the smuggling attempt.

“We hope this action will not be a one-time thing,” Zecky said on Tuesday, as quoted by

He also urged the government to detain anyone who recruited undocumented workers with the intent to smuggle them to other countries, especially when licensed migrant worker placement agencies were struggling to send their workers abroad due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions.

The BP2MI was established in January through the reorganization and rebranding of the Agency for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers (BP2TKI). The rebranded government agency aims to provide comprehensive migrant protection and related services.

Government estimates show that migrant workers make up about 5 percent of the Indonesian workforce. (mfp)