Most Indonesian families, especially those living in the cities, have at least one maid or domestic worker who help them in cleaning & guarding the house, cook food, and some even take care of children.
Most of those maids came from the country sides by themselves or through the intermediary of official and/or unofficial maid providing agencies. Most of them are living in the homes of their bosses, therefore their working time are unlimited, and depend on the discretion of their bosses.
Until now, working relationship between those maids and their bosses are governed by regulations issued by local government. However, considering that there are so many maids are available for employment, their faith is under the mercy of their bosses.
Due to this fact, according to The Jakarta Globe, the International Labor Organization (ILO) has urged our government to boost protection for those maids, saying that they were vulnerable to mistreatment and forced labor. ILO Indonesia Director i.e Alain Boulton said:
“The workers are not receiving proper wages, are paying unreasonable fees to recruiting agencies, have become victims of physical and sexual abuse and are forced to work long hours" He said the problem can be tackled through integrated policies and programs, mixing law enforcement with proactive measures of prevention, protection and empowering those at risk of forced labor to defend their own rights. The ILO estimates there are 2.6 million domestic workers in Indonesia, most of them working and living at their employers’ homes.
Albert Bonasat, an ILO project coordinator, said: “There are no requirements for a contract between workers and employers, so the workers are forced to work long hours and do little against unfair treatment, abuses, harsh working conditions or unlawful termination of work”. Since domestic workers were categorized as informal workers, their rights were not protected by labor laws and their employers were not required to provide a standard minimum wage. In this regards, next year ILO plans to held an international conference to call for an end to forced labor.
Considering that most of us who live in the cities are dependend on those Maids, but often take them for granted, it is about time for us to show more care for them, that is by treating them as persons who have rights as citizens.