Singapore Gov't Suspends Agency Behind Online 'Sale' of Indonesian Migrant Workers

Indonesian maids seen at a shelter for illegal migrant workers in Bekasi, West Java, in this file photo. The Singaporean Ministry of Manpower said on Wednesday (19/09) that it has suspended an employment agency for advertising Indonesian migrant workers for sale on online marketplace Carousell. (Antara Photo/Hafidz Mubarak)

By : Sheany | on 11:28 PM September 20, 2018
Category : News, Featured, Human Rights, Foreign Affairs, Labor

Jakarta. The Singaporean Ministry of Manpower said on Wednesday (19/09) that it has suspended an employment agency for advertising Indonesian migrant workers for sale on online marketplace Carousell.

In a statement, the ministry said it has identified SRC Recruitment as the company behind the listings on Carousell. Under the name "maid.recruitment," the employment agency marketed several Indonesian domestic workers, even including their names and ages.

"The [employment agency] has been served with a notice of license suspension and can no longer emplace any new foreign domestic workers," the ministry said.

The ministry added that it is investigating the agency, which may be prosecuted for violating Singapore's Employment Agencies Act.

"The ministry takes a very serious view on this matter, and we will not hesitate to take prosecution actions on errant [employment agencies]," said Kevin Teoh, commissioner for employment agencies at the Manpower Ministry.

Advertisements for foreign domestic workers are considered an offense under the Employment Agencies Act, and companies found guilty of this practice face sanctions, including revocation of their operating licenses.

The ministry said it has been in touch with the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore regarding the matter.

The Indonesian government, through its embassy in the city-state, has expressed its concern over the matter to the Singaporean government last week and in a diplomatic note on Monday, according to Lalu Muhammad Iqbal, director of citizen protection and legal aid at the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Advocacy group Migrant Care said this type of exploitation against Indonesian migrant workers has occurred before.

It cited an example of advertisements offering Indonesian maids for sale being put up in the streets of Kuala Lumpur and a separate case in Singapore where migrant workers were put on display in stores.

Migrant Care executive director Wahyu Susilo previously said job vacancies and employment of migrant workers must be in accordance with human right requirements.

According to data compiled by the Migrant Worker Protection and Placement Agency (BNP2TKI), more than 185,000 Indonesian migrant workers were sent abroad by August 2018, most of whom are employed as domestic workers, caregivers or laborers.

Singapore is the fourth-most popular destination, having accepted around 12,200 Indonesian migrant workers.

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