Preparing for migration in Indonesia

Article | 04 June 2010

In Indonesia the Ministry of Manpower has been working to protect the rights of thousands of migrant workers who leave the country in search of employment in other parts of Asia, the Pacific and the Middle East. The vast majority are women in search of domestic work, who have few resources and are leaving in the hope of improving their lives.

In response to this growing problem, the National Board of Placement and Protection for Indonesian Overseas Workers has added new information sessions in its pre-departure training to address HIV risk, safe migration and social protection. The ILO has helped to prepare these training materials based on a study of the vulnerability of women migrant workers; the report is entitled Hanging by a Frayed Rope.

Lisna Yoeliani Poeloengan, Director of Empowerment at the National Board, explains: “More and more Indonesian migrant workers now receive information on HIV. We provide pocket-sized materials that they can easily keep with them; these give information about HIV and include details of services in destination countries. More and more officials and NGOs are aware and taking action by providing referrals to care, support and treatment for migrant workers who are HIV-positive returning from overseas.”

Because many of the workers have low literacy levels, the ILO has helped to develop a more interactive learning approach using a special game, ‘My Journey with the Magic Key’, which is used during pre-departure training. The game places workers in the sorts of difficult situations they might face at different points in the migration process, and helps them think through how they would react and where they could go for help.