Natasha Tioukavkin interned at JWB in November 2020 under the Australia-Indonesia Youth Exchange Program (AIYEP). She assisted the Indonesia Public Relations Office with the 2019 Annual Report, and helped with translation.
In the following piece, Natasha reflects on her internship experience, and shares her observations on the plight of migrant domestic workers (MDWs). We thank Natasha for sharing her time with us and wish her all the best for her future studies.
I had the privilege to work with Justice Without Borders under the Australia-Indonesia Youth Exchange Program (AIYEP). I was tasked with improving the readability of JWB’s Annual Report so that readers without a legal background can easily access it. Although there were some logistical challenges with working remotely and accommodating time differences, I still had the opportunity to learn about JWB’s role in the sector, and the challenges MDWs face.
With strict labour protection laws that extend to migrant workers in Australia, I did not realise the extent of labour exploitation in Asia until I started working with JWB. I learnt that MDWs are a large but severely under-represented group, and that there are few laws to improve their working conditions around the world.
The law is an important tool for driving positive change, and litigation is particularly significant in this change-making process. Litigating new claims can create precedents for future cases, whether local or abroad. Internationally, this can help to establish more cross-border litigation, extending justice to more MDWs who have been exploited.
While learning about the external changes that JWB is pursuing, I also had the opportunity to learn about the people who power JWB. Despite working remotely with the Indonesia Office, I got to converse with staff from the Hong Kong Office. I met people from various backgrounds, heard their stories, and discovered the different roles they play to assist MDWs and help them avoid further harm. The other staff in the region really gave me a “cross-border” internship.
I would like to thank the Indonesia team, especially Afina, Salsa and Eveline, who supported me throughout the internship, checking in on my progress and wellbeing. The video calls and messages made me feel connected to the organisation despite our geographical distance.
In closing, working with JWB has been an eye-opening experience. It ignited my passion to reflect on migrant realities in Australia, and learn more about important social issues at home and abroad.