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First time migrant domestic workers from Indonesia are often not aware of the exploitative practices they face during the recruitment phase, nor the level of the debt they might be assuming or potential exploitative practices prevalent in destination countries like Hong Kong and Singapore. Our research indicates that women seeking informal employment opportunities abroad are ill-informed of industry realities and how these affect employment outcomes. A quarter of respondents indicate that recruiters provide them with false information regarding the nature of the work, salary and living conditions, leading to the placement into a life they have not agreed to. 71% experience a combination of confinement, confiscation of documents or threats and abuse. 63% face exploitative practices while working abroad. Current market structures allow some recruiters to take advantage of first time migrant domestic workers leading to exploitation and female workers being treating as a commodity.
The project empowers first time female migrant domestic workers from Indonesia to make informed decisions on overseas employment. Through campaigning efforts, female migrant workers from West and Central Java will be aware of recruitment options and exploitative industry practices to avoid. Our strategic communications model provides factual information to women considering work overseas in the informal sector. It relies on direct counselling of first-time female migrants to accompany them in their decision making, especially in selecting recruitment agencies. We aim to work with returned migrant workers and recruit them as advisors, thereby improving employment opportunities. Community events and a social media campaign will amplify messages and disseminate information through local-language platforms and materials. Direct community influencing and engagement with recruitment agencies willing to change their practices will enable migrant workers to seek better employment outcomes.