In Indonesia, women and girl domestic workers are one of the most marginalised and isolated communities, facing some of the highest levels of workplace discrimination, exploitation and violence in the country. The national domestic workers advocacy body JALA PRT estimates that there are over 10 million domestic workers across Indonesia, one third of whom are under 18 years old. The majority comes from impoverished rural communities, with little or no education, skills or family support. Unaware of their legal rights, they are socially invisible, hidden from public view in private homes. A high number are also migrant women workers, internally displaced moving from rural to urban settings or between Indonesia’s major islands.
From 2016 – 2018, Sisters For Change worked to strengthen support structures around women and girl domestic workers in Indonesia by empowering them with knowledge of their rights and domestic laws to prohibit violence and harassment at work; improving access to justice and justice outcomes for workers who suffer mistreatment or violence; and strengthening action among women workers to challenge discrimination and exploitation in the workplace.
With our partner JALA PRT and affiliated domestic worker unions across four provinces of Indonesia (Greater Jakarta, South Sulawesi, Yogyakarta Special Region, and Central Java), Sisters For Change conducted the largest and most in-depth survey to measure working conditions and the prevalence of harassment, abuse and physical and sexual violence experienced by women domestic workers in the workplace – employers’ homes – in Indonesia. Our report, Unsafe to Work in the Home: Workplace exploitation and violence against women domestic workers in Indonesia, highlights the shocking findings.
Sisters For Change and JALA PRT advocated at a national and international level to get action to address these violations. We called for the following action from the Government of Indonesia:
- Provincial Authorities should pass local Manpower Regulations to recognise the status of domestic workers as workers and give them employment protections and protection from discrimination and violence in the workplace.
- The Government of Indonesia should amend the Manpower Act of 2003 to recognise domestic workers as workers and provide them with all the rights and protections afforded to other workers.
- The Government of Indonesia should adopt the draft Protection of Domestic Workers Bill to provide protection to end discrimination and exploitation of domestic workers, ensuring the Bill’s compliance with ILO Convention No. 189.
- The Government of Indonesia should ratify ILO Convention No. 189 on decent work for domestic workers.
- The Government of Indonesia should take action to ensure public authorities, specifically the police, properly investigate, prosecute and punish perpetrators of violence against women domestic workers in the workplace or elsewhere.