Southeast Asia • Indonesia

Protecting female migrants from Lombok from human trafficking and violence

Poverty and a lack of job opportunities in many communities on the island of Lombok lead to people migrating to earn a living. They often become victims of human traffickers. Together with our partner organization ADBMI we are implementing a project to protect migrating women and men.

Members of the migrant women's group, "Pada Patuh" in Ketapan Raya Village, hold a discussion with children of migrant women to identify and address problems. (Photo: AWO International)Members of the migrant women's group, "Pada Patuh" in Ketapan Raya Village, hold a discussion with children of migrant women to identify and address problems. (Photo: AWO International)

The island Lombok belongs to the Indonesian province Nusa Tenggara Barat. Here the poverty rate is particularly high and the standard of education low. Many people do not have access to clean water and sufficient food. Children in particular suffer from this. The local labour market is weak, so that every year around 40,000 men and women say goodbye to their families and move abroad to work. In our project communities, this figure is up to 15 percent of the population. Generally speaking, this is not bad - because migrant women are often able to provide for the livelihood of the whole family. But labour migration very often has serious social implications: Many people go abroad undocumented and thus put themselves in serious danger. Exploitation, abuse and human trafficking are part of the migrants' reality.

According to 2010 government statistics, around 82 percent of migrant workers from Nusa Tengara Barat have only basic schooling. The majority are women who are employed as domestic workers. Due to their employment in private households they are hardly protected from abuse, violence and exploitation. They tell us about curfews, withdrawal of passports, up to physical violence and sexual abuse. Sometimes they sleep on the ground and do not receive clean drinking water or too little food.

Numerous placement agencies take advantage of the economic hardship of the job-seeking women and lure them with promises: But far too often they end up in exploitative working conditions and become victims of human trafficking. Job seekers often know very little about the dangers and the regular processes of migration, so that they do not realize in time that they have been taken in by fraudsters and human traffickers.

Education and sustainable protection

In a joint project with our partner organization ADBMI, we enable community organizations to raise the awareness and knowledge on the topic of undocumented migration amongst their fellow citizens. In 5 sub-districts of East Lombok ADBMI has built up and strengthened community groups for this purpose. They are participating in workshops on organizational development, advocacy, legal aid, counselling, networking, fundraising, mediation and litigation. Legal expertise is required to help labour migrants who have been victims of rights violations and to hold recruitment agencies or employers accountable.

ADBMI also ensures that existing guidelines for the protection of female labour migrants are implemented at the local level by developing and adopting local regulations. Protective and preventive mechanisms for the communities are being developed.

In order to sustain the fight for protection of migrant women beyond the project duration, ADBMI strengthens the partnership between community organizations and the local "Integrated Service Center for Women and Children Empowerment", which is operated by the Indonesian Ministry. This is expected to give the community groups access to public funds.

Our local partner organization ADBMI (Advokasi Buruh Migran Indonesia) was founded in 2000 by human rights activists, families of Indonesian migrant workers, former migrants and local women's rights activists from East Lombok. The establishment of the NGO from within the communities and its local approach enables ADBMI to address the needs of the residents of Lombok and to work closely with them. At the same time, they maintain valuable, solid partnerships with stakeholders, such as local government units. The project benefits from ADBMI's long experience in building community-based migrant associations, community-based prevention and counselling and policy advocacy, and can rely on the support of ADBMI's 140 or so volunteers in the region.

Project information

ProjectProtection of migrant women workers from human trafficking and gender-based violence
Place/RegionLombok Timur (Ost-Lombok)
PartnerADBMI Foundation (Advokasi Buruh Migran Indonesia)
Target group

Migrant workers* and their families, victims of human trafficking, local government officials

  • Establish prevention mechanisms in communities
  • Implementation of laws and guidelines for the protection of migrant women workers
  • Raising awareness regarding human trafficking and violence against women
Budget61.500 Euro p. a.

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