Thursday, November 30, 2023

1,900 Illegal Migrant Workers Return in Coffins in Past Year: Agency
May 30, 2023 | 6:20 pm
FILE - Indonesian migrant workers arrive at Batam International Seaport from Malaysia on May 21, 2020. (Antara Photo)
FILE - Indonesian migrant workers arrive at Batam International Seaport from Malaysia on May 21, 2020. (Antara Photo)

Jakarta. Around 1,900 Indonesian migrant workers have died in the past year, according to the Indonesian Migrant Worker Protection Agency (BP2MI), which on Tuesday called those ill-fated workers "victims of human trafficking crimes".

"There have been 1,900 bodies, at least two coffins arriving in the country every day," BP2MI Chairman Benny Rhamdani said after a meeting with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo at the State Palace in Jakarta.

He said that over the past three years, the agency has handled cases of approximately 94,000 Indonesian citizens who were deported from countries in the Middle East and Asia and about 90 percent of them have been sent to work in foreign countries by illegal syndicates without proper documents.

Additionally, the BP2MI has dealt with 3,600 Indonesian citizens who experienced depression, memory loss, and even physical disabilities when they returned to Indonesia. 


Benny said the World Bank warned in 2017 that the number of Indonesian migrant workers already hit 9 million, while BP2MI data put the figure at just 4.7 million. 

“We can assume that there are 4.3 million Indonesian citizens who work in foreign countries against the proper procedures and they were sent by illegal syndicates,” Benny said.

He said human trafficking is "a crime against humanity" that the government must continue to fight against.

President Jokowi has stated several times that combatting human trafficking is one of his government's top priorities.

He also called for member states of the ASEAN to work in concert amid growing cases of many Indonesians falling prey to online job scams and getting sent to other Southeast Asian countries to work as cyber scammers.

“Matters that relate to people’s interests become a great concern for ASEAN leaders, including the protection of migrant workers and human trafficking victims,” Jokowi said after the ASEAN Summit in Labuan Bajo recently.

“I call on ASEAN countries to take firm action against the main perpetrators.” 

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