CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 17 November 2018

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Anger over maids for sale ads in Singapore

JAKARTA (UCAN): Advocates campaigning for migrant worker rights have voiced outrage after an advert was recently posted on Carousell, a Singapore-based online marketplace showing the profiles of several female domestic workers believed to be Indonesian. Some profiles were even marked “sold.”
 
Nusron Wahid, head of an Indonesian government agency dealing with the placement and protection of migrant workers, told reporters on September 18 that an official letter had been sent to the Singaporean government demanding thorough investigation.
 
“There is a correct and proper procedure in finding migrant workers employment. It’s not through online selling like this,” he said.
 
Migrant Care, which campaigns for the rights of overseas Indonesian workers called the online listing an exploitative method of enslaving humans.
 
“There must be standards and a code of conduct in providing job openings and employment information for maids in accordance with human rights requirements,” Wahyu Susilo, the group’s executive director said on September 18.
 
He observed that, unfortunately, the practice of selling migrant workers like commodites is not new as there have been advertisements offering Indonesian maids for sale on the streets of Kuala Lumpur dating back to 2012.
 
“This is certainly unfair, degrading and shows a complete disregard for the dignity of Indonesian maids,” Susilo added.
 
Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower said it was investigating and had arranged the removal of the listing.
 
It said advertising foreign domestic workers this way is unacceptable and an offence under the criminal code.
 
“(Singapore) expects employment agencies to be responsible and exercise sensitivity when marketing their services,” it added.
 
Gregorius Daeng, advocacy coordinator of the Church-linked Volunteer Network for Humanity group, which is based in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara province, said the Indonesian government also needs to act and should not leave everything to Singapore.
 
“We suspect these migrant workers being sold online could be victims of human trafficking,” he said.
 
He called on the Indonesian government to investigate local agencies or individuals who could have supplied the workers.

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