Migrant workers, particularly women migrant workers, are disproportionately at risk of becoming infected by HIV. This is evident through the increased number of HIV cases recorded among migrant workers. The Association of Hospital and Medical Center for Indonesian Manpower, HIPTEK, reported 174 HIV cases among 162.000 prospective migrant workers tested at 10 big health test centres in 2010. The NGO Caring of Migrant Workers reported handling 50 HIV cases among deported migrant workers in 2010.
Indonesian women migrant workers, a majority of whom work as domestic workers, are particularly vulnerable to HIV/AIDS due to the lack of protection afforded to them and the violations they are subjected to as a consequence. GBV stands out as one of these violations that woman migrant workers are subject to throughout the entire course of the migratory cycle. Increasingly evident is also the causal relationship between HIV/AIDS. GBV is thought to pose HIV risks directly, as a result of female sexual physiology (e.g. via lacerations caused by rape that may facilitate the transmission) as well as indirectly, by negating the victims’ ability to negotiate condom use due to fear of further violence as a result. Fear of violence and rejection may also prevent women from revealing their infection and seeking medical care and counselling. The fact that migrant workers generally have low levels of awareness of HIV/AIDS, on how to protect themselves against an infection, as well as limited access to healthcare and counselling, exacerbates the situation.
Although the Government of Indonesia has clearly recognized the protection needs of women migrant workers, issuing a multitude of laws and policies, the legal and policy framework for protecting migrant workers in the country remains very weak in general. Furthermore, it does not sufficiently, if at all, address the interrelationship between exploitation of migrant workers and their increased risk of HIV/AIDS.
Several factors hamper gender-mainstreaming and the development of effective legal and policy frameworks on protection of migrant workers against GBV and HIV/ AIDS, including the lack of capacity and cooperation of government institutions as well as civil society organizations, weaknesses in coordination of government and civil society interventions etc. One major factor underlying these limitations is the poor availability and reliability of gender-disaggregated data, research, policy assessments etc. on areas related to labour migration, HIV/AIDS and Gender and their interrelationship.
To improve the stakeholder response and involvement in policy development, with support by UNAIDS/PAF Fund, UNDP, the ILO and NAC will conduct a national stakeholder workshop to share these drafts. The aim is to develop concrete recommendation for improving protection of migrant workers and families against GBV and HIV/AIDS vulnerabilities. Within this event, the media support, which has been developed for educating migrant workers on HIV vulnerabilities, will also be launched.
- To share the draft of the ILO desk study on GBV and HIV/AIDS vulnerabilities for migrant workers and families;
- To share the draft of NAC’s HIV and AIDS Action Program for Migrant Workers;
- To synergize and to optimize the government roles and efforts on protecting migrant workers against GBV and HIV/AIDS vulnerabilities; and
- To launch the media support for educating HIV vulnerabilities among migrant workers.
- Concrete recommendations on strengthening national legal and policy frameworks to better address GBV and HIV/AIDS vulnerabilities of Indonesian migrant workers; and
- Concrete input for the draft of NAC’s HIV and AIDS Action Program for Indonesian Migrant Workers.