Indonesian church official and activists have accused the government of failing to enforce a ban on migrant workers heading to Middle East countries.
The criticism comes after recent reports emerged that Saudi Arabian authorities had detained about 300 female Indonesian workers in Riyadh since January for reasons that remain unclear.
The Indonesian government introduced a temporary ban in June 2011 following a series of executions of Indonesian migrant workers and many reported abuse cases, the majority of which involved female domestic workers being sexually, physically or psychologically abused by their employers. Other cases involved workers being treated like slaves.
A more conclusive ban involving 21 countries was introduced in 2015 after Saudi Arabia executed two Indonesian maids without prior notice
Father Paulus Christian Siswantoko, executive secretary of the Indonesian bishops’ commission for justice, peace and pastoral for migrant people said the government simply has not bothered to implement the ban.
Brokers are flouting the ban and still sending Indonesian women to the Middle-East, he said.
“The arrest of so many people is proof our country is not enforcing the ban the way it should be enforced. It shows a clear lack of control,” he told ucanews.com.
More than 700,000 Indonesians are working in Saudi Arabia, according to government figures.
Father Siswantoko said women are going there to help their poor families and many must be in the country illegally. The government must be proactive in trying to protect them.
Wahyu Susilo, executive director of Migrant CARE urged the Indonesia government to investigate the 300 arrests.
“Some of them have been tortured,” he alleged.