Indonesia establishes the first MRC for migrant fishing vessel crews in Pemalang Regency

The ILO supports the establishment of the first Migrant Resource Centre (MRC) for Indonesian migrant fishing vessel crews to ensure their labour rights and to be free from exploitation and forced labour at sea.

News | Jakarta, Indonesia | 25 March 2024
The signing of the Joint Commitment for the establishment of the first Migrant Worker Resource Centre (MRC) for migrant fishing vessel crews in Pemalang Regency. © ILO
The Pemalang Regency Manpower Office and the Indonesian Migrant Worker Union (SBMI), witnessed by the Ministry of Manpower and the ILO, signed a Joint Commitment on the Establishment of Migrant Worker Resource Centre (MRC), particularly for Indonesian migrant fishing vessel crews. Held in Jakarta on 18 March, the signing was conducted by Umroni, Head of Pemalang Regency Manpower Office and Hariyanto, General Chair of SBMI.

As a maritime country, the Pemalang MRC as the first MRC dedicated to migrant fishing vessel crews can be a reference and a place where other coastal provinces and regencies can go to learn about good practices in providing better information and protection for our migrant fishers."

Rendra Setiawan, Ministry of Manpower’s Director of Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers
Located in a coastal area, Pemalang district in Central Java is known for its fishing industry and fisheries potential. Pemalang is also a home for 28 Indonesian Migrant Workers Placement Companies (P3MI) and 22 manning agencies that have sent 892 Pemalang residents working abroad as migrant workers and 2,596 as migrant fishing boat crews.

The Joint Commitment is marked the establishment of the first MRC that provides an integrated and coordinated non-administrative protection for Indonesian migrant fishing vessel crews throughout all migration cycles from village to destination country. The MRC is also part of the implementation of the Law 18 of 2017 on the Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers.

The Pemalang MRC covers three subdistricts and six villages as pilot areas. The MRC provides comprehensive protection services for Indonesian migrant fishing vessel crews, strengthening the capacity of village officials to improve the governance of migrant villages, providing pre-employment consultations, psycho-social counselling services, case handling, legal aid services, training of prospective migrant workers as well as their families and provision of authoritative information.

We hope that the MRC will strengthen the capacity of Indonesian migrant fishing vessels to have a better understanding about their labour rights and to be more protected from exploitation, particularly forced labour at sea."

Abdul Hakim, ILO’s Programme Officer who represented the ILO witnessing the signing of the Joint Commitment.
Rendra Setiawan, Ministry of Manpower’s Director of Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers, emphasized the importance of the Pemalang MRC as a reference for other coastal provinces and regencies on the protection of migrant fishing vessel crews. “As a maritime country, the Pemalang MRC as the first MRC dedicated to migrant fishing vessel crews can be a reference and a place where other coastal provinces and regencies can go to learn about good practices in providing better information and protection for our migrant fishers,” he said.

“The ILO is happy to be part of the development of the Joint Commitment for the establishment of the first MRC for Indonesian migrant fishing vessel crews in Indonesia today. We hope that the MRC will strengthen the capacity of Indonesian migrant fishing vessels to have a better understanding about their labour rights and to be more protected from exploitation, particularly forced labour at sea,” said Abdul Hakim, ILO’s Programme Officer who represented the ILO witnessing the signing of the Joint Commitment.

Pemalang fishers with their catches. © Joglo Jateng
The Pemalang MRC is the replication of the four MRCs for Indonesian women migrant workers established in four districts: Cirebon district in West Java, Tulungagung and Biltar districts in East Java, and East Lampung district in Lampung by ILO’s Safe and Fair Programme aimed to ensure safe and fair labour migration in the ASEAN region, including Indonesia.

We hope that Pemalang MRC can be replicated in other Indonesia’s coastal regencies in the future to better protect our migrant fishing vessel crews."

Muhamad Nour, National Coordinator for ILO’s 8.7 Accelerator Lab programme in Indonesia
Meanwhile, the Pemalang MRC is supported by the ILO’s 8.7 Accelerator Lab Programme. Muhamad Nour, National Coordinator for ILO’s 8.7 Accelerator Lab programme in Indonesia, explained that learning from the experiences of the four MRCs, the ILO’s 8.7 Accelerator Lab has assisted local Pemalang authorities to establish the MRC through needs assessment, consultative meetings and capacity building programme.

“Through the MRC, potential migrant fishers can work at sea safely with decent working conditions and free from the risks of forced labour and human trafficking. We hope that Pemalang MRC can be replicated in other Indonesia’s coastal regencies in the future to better protect our migrant fishing vessel crews,” he stated.

The ILO’s 8.7 Accelerator Lab programme is created to accelerate progress towards the eradication of forced labour and the elimination of child labour. Target countries which have been selected to implement Multi Partner Fund’s interventions in the fisheries sector are Indonesia, South Africa and Ghana and the Democratic Republic of Congo for the mining sector.