Growing numbers of Indonesian women and men continue to opt for overseas labour migration as the best way of securing an adequate income for their families and escaping poverty. However, the social and economic costs of migration to the workers and their families are many, but are often poorly understood and documented.
As the second largest sending country, some 700.000 documented Indonesian migrant workers leave the country for work abroad, primarily in East and South East Asia as well as the Middle East. Of these, 78 per cent work as domestic workers. In 2009, around 4.3 million Indonesians were estimated to be working abroad. Even though Indonesian migrant workers are the second largest contributor to Indonesia’s foreign exchange incomes, amounting to about USD 2.4 billion annually, many of these “foreign exchange heroes” experience exploitation and abuse throughout the migration process, both in Indonesia and abroad.
As an effort to document the lives and migration experiences of Indonesian migrant domestic workers, the ILO in collaboration with Sim Chi Yin, a Singaporean photojournalist who is now based in Beijing, China, have developed a photo essay titled “The Long Road Home: Journeys of Indonesian Migrant Workers.” The photo essay will be launched on 29 September 2011 in Jakarta, attended by the Minister of Manpower and Transmigration, Muhaimin Iskandar, Head of BNP2TKI, Jumhur Hidayat, and the representative from the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection.
Purpose and Objective
The photo exhibition will display 20 selected photos from the photo essay, that will be held from 2 – 5 October 2011 at Graha Cipta III, TIM, Jakarta. Opened for public, the exhibition is aimed to raise interest in and awareness of the public at large of the plight and conditions of Indonesian domestic migrant workers and their families.