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Infest Yogyakarta: Education on Migrant Worker Protection is Still Lower at the Village Level

The lack of education on the protection of migrant workers carried out by the local government to the village has an impact on the absence of regulations, programs and activities for safe migration services in the village.

Indonesian Migrant Workers (BMI) generally come from villages. Ideally, villages should have begun learning how to provide safe migration services, as well as making efforts to protect their citizens who work as migrant workers. Unfortunately, until now there are still many villages with large numbers of migrant workers who do not yet have regulations on the protection of migrant workers. Not to mention the operational standards of service (SOP) for safe migration, poor data governance, or the absence of migrant worker protection programs.

The evidence of the lack of efforts to protect migrant workers is based on the results of the need assessment (NA) conducted by Infest Yogyakarta, Monday-Friday (19-23 / 02/18) in six villages in Ponorogo District. Beginning in 2018, the Institute for Education Development, Social, Religious and Cultural Studies (Infest) initiated “Strengthening the Protection of Migrant Workers in the Country of Origin and Destination Placement Countries.” Data collection was carried out through focused group discussion (FGD) approaches and data analysis, both on the number of full-time migrant workers, and village development planning documents, ranging from RPJMDesa, RKPDesa, and APBDesa.

Data Absence, Regulation and Migrant Worker Protection Program

Based on the results of NA conducted in six villages, Infest Yogyakarta found that there was still a lack of education on the protection of migrant workers carried out by the district government (Pemkab), the village government (Pemdes), and the community in the village. This lack of education, ultimately, has an impact on the absence of regulations governing the protection of migrant workers at the village level. Aside from regulation, in the RPJMDesa document there is also no protection program for migrant workers, or activities in the village that provide information services on safe migration.

According to Fera Nuraini, one of the members of the research team from Infest Yogyakarta, all Pemdes in the six village locations claimed that they had never received socialization or training from the Ponorogo Regency Government. The district government is currently only conducting education to improve skills aimed at economic development. For example, how to make a product and providing assistance with acquiring the tools.

“So providing information services related to safe migration, as well as assisting troubled migrant workers, until now has not been done at the village level. Even if they are done, they are still done personally. For example, only the village head does it,” said Fera.

In addition to Ponorogo District, Infest Yogyakarta also conducted NA in Blitar, and Johor Bahru, Malaysia. “Strengthening the Protection of Migrant Workers in the Country of Origin and Placement Destination Countries” is part of the contribution of Infest Yogyakarta towards strengthening the quality of development in villages. In particular, on the issue of the protection of ex migrant workers and their family members. In the implementation of this program, Infest Yogyakarta will collaborate with AWO International for the next three years (2018 – 2020).

The program to strengthen the protection of migrant workers is also an attempt to build a model for the protection of migrant workers from the ground level. That is, in this case the role of the village is very important in the protection of migrant workers. Unfortunately, so far the role of the village has been largely overlooked, because labor migration is not considered part of its authority. As a result, the village has not been assessed as a strategic party in attacking the problems of migrant workers. On the other hand, the reality of problems experienced by migrant workers is often not spoken about or expressed by these migrant workers. This is due to limited knowledge of rights, access to judicial institutions, and community support, that focus on protecting migrant workers.

According to the Director of Infest Yogyakarta, Irsyadul Ibad, through Law No. 6 of 2014 concerning Villages, villages actually have the potential to improve the protection of migrant workers from the ground level. With the authority of local villages intersecting with the implementation of protection of migrant workers, the village can become a source of information services, data collection, acceptance of public complaints and empowerment. Nevertheless, we must believe that there are still rare villages that have initiatives to improve services and protection for migrant workers and their family members. [Alimah]

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