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In U-turn, Indonesia will send maids abroad

Updated March 21, 2017

JAKARTA: Indonesia said on Monday it would continue to send domestic helpers overseas, in an about-turn welcomed by campaigners who said it would help prevent women falling prey to human trafficking.

Jakarta had previously said it would stop sending maids overseas from this year, on the grounds of protecting the women, sparking concerns it would push more poor Indonesians desperate for jobs into illegal migration.

However a senior official at the Manpower Ministry told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that Jakarta would not go ahead with the ban but it has been in talks with countries to ensure Indonesian maids are treated in a “humane” way.

“We are not stopping Indonesians going overseas to become domestic workers but we want better protection for them,” said Soes Hindharno, director for the protection and placement of Indonesian migrant workers abroad.

He said this includes preventing what he called “multi-tasking work” by Indonesian maids to reduce exploitation. “If they are housekeepers, they are housekeepers — they clean, cook and iron. If they are babysitters, they are babysitters — you can’t ask a babysitter to bathe your dog.”

Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2017