Indonesia intensified efforts to combat labour exploitation and trafficking at sea

The ILO hosted a national consultation to strengthen regional coordination in combating labour exploitation and trafficking of fishers. The join collaboration is crucial considering the high number of migrant fishers that need to be addressed by multi-countries.

News | Jakarta, Indonesia | 16 July 2018
Relevant stakeholders from the government, private sector, workers and civil society organizations gathered in Jakarta on 10 July to further examine and provide inputs on the design of the proposed multi-stakeholder Regional Coordination Body for Southeast Asia to combat trafficking and labour exploitation of fishers.

The National Consultation titled “Indonesian National Consultation on Strengthening Regional Coordination to Combat Labour Exploitation and Trafficking in Fisheries”, hosted by the ILO, as a follow-up to the Consultative Forum on Regional Cooperation against Human Trafficking, Labour Exploitation, and Slavery at Sea in Bali last March. In the Forum, stakeholders from Southeast Asia agreed on the need for a Regional Coordination Body focused on eliminating human trafficking and forced labour of workers in fisheries.

Combating human trafficking and labor exploitation in catch fisheries sector is one of Indonesia priority. Therefore, it is hoped that the partnership with the ILO would strengthen the multi-countries cooperation in Southeast Asia as an effort to combat slavery at sea."

Dedi Miharja, Secretary to the Deputy Minister for Maritime Sovereignty Coordination from the Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs
The National Consultation was officially opened by Hery Sudarmanto, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Manpower and Dedi Miharja, Secretary to the Deputy Minister for Maritime Sovereignty Coordination from the Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs. Both ministries emphasized the importance of the proposed Regional Coordination Body to improve coordination in combating trafficking in the fisheries sectors at both national and regional levels.

“Combating human trafficking and labor exploitation in catch fisheries sector is one of Indonesia priority. Therefore, it is hoped that the partnership with the ILO would strengthen the multi-countries cooperation in Southeast Asia as an effort to combat slavery at sea,” said Dedi Miharja; while Hery Sudarmanto said that “we have to learn from the previous case such as Benjina and be ready to cooperate with other country due to the cross border nature of the crime”.

We have to learn from the previous case such as Benjina and be ready to cooperate with other country due to the cross border nature of the crime."

Hery Sudarmanto, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Manpower
Learning from the various insights and experiences shared in Bali Regional Meeting, the participants had given valuable inputs particularly regarding the structure and mandate of the proposed Regional Coordination Body as well as Indonesian representation in the Coordination Body. All inputs gained in this National Consultation will act as feed for Regional Technical Consultation to be held later this year.

The National Consultation was conducted by the ILO through its SEA Fisheries Project. Funded by the United States Department of State, the Project aims to reduce human trafficking in the fishing sector by strengthening coordination and increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of existing national and regional level anti-trafficking efforts in South East Asia.

In addition to being vulnerable to human trafficking, migrant fishers have to face long working hours, dangerous working conditions, limited protection from occupational hazards as well as additional challenges related to payment of fees, lack of appropriate training or certification and documentation. These issues are being faced by major seafood and fish exporting nations such as Indonesia, Thailand, Viet Nam, Myanmar and the Philippines.