The newly elected president of Indonesia, which has approximately 90,000 domestic workers in the UAE, has vowed to stop sending housemaids abroad.
The practice is deemed contrary to the country’s “self-esteem and dignity.”
At a National Congress meeting on February 14, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo announced that he has directed the labour department to come up with a plan to ensure that there will be no more Indonesians working as housemaids in foreign countries.
“I have asked the Manpower Minister to set a target and formulate a clear road map, to ensure that we stop sending domestic workers abroad. We should have some self-esteem and dignity,” Antara News quoted Widodo as saying.
Indonesia is one of the major sources of female migrant workers, many of whom work as housemaids in the UAE and other areas in the Middle East.
According to the International Labour Office (ILO), the migration of foreign domestic workers from Indonesia and other Asian countries started in the 1970s as a result of rising wealth and living standards due to the oil boom in the region.
Widodo has recently visited Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam and the Philippines and he learned that around 2.3 million Indonesians were working in these countries, and that nearly half of them were living illegally.“About 1,800 of them have been rescued, 800 have been picked up by Hercules, and tomorrow we will pick some more up. But I am sure the numbers will continue to grow as we encounter problems in dealing with this issue,” he said.