Since starting operations in Indonesia in 2017, Justice Without Borders has screened more than 500 cases involving Indonesian migrant domestic workers(MDWs) at home and abroad and helped numerous clients to secure settlements for harms they suffered while abroad. These settlements make a huge difference in these women’s lives, securing the equivalent of 3 – 24 months of salary in local wages.
Despite this, most of Indonesia’s nearly 500,000 MDWs still working in Singapore and Hong Kong or recently returned home are not aware that they can seek justice against bad employers or employment agencies, even after they return home. This also means they have not heard of JWB’s services.
With this in mind, JWB embarked on its first ever public relations campaign in late 2020, targeted at Indonesian MDWs, to spread the news about our work. Called #PercayaBersama (“Believe”, in English), the campaign was developed in partnership with JWB’s pro bono PR agency partners, Cognito and Media Buffet. The campaign features a success case video, based on an actual case involving an MDW in Singapore who faced abuse.
“The success case video demonstrates that cross-border litigation is possible! Through news coverage and the use of social media, we hope that Indonesians will also spread the news among themselves to such an extent that it is a common ‘coffee shop’ topic. Then we would see many more Indonesian MDWs coming forward to pursue justice for themselves.” said Afina Nurul Faizah, JWB Indonesia’s PR Officer.
Making a great start
The launch kicked off with an online media event on 15 December 2020. Helmed by Douglas MacLean and Eva Maria Putri Salsabila as JWB’s Executive Director and Legal Officer respectively, the event saw 14 central and provincial media in attendance. A great turnout during a very busy local news cycle.
JWB was also honoured to have representatives from the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and Serikat Buruh Migran Indonesia (SBMI), two of JWB’s key government and frontline NGO partners, join the event to endorse JWB’s work with them.
“MOFA has been collaborating with JWB since 2018. We view JWB’s expertise in cross-border civil litigation as an important element in this collaboration. Their experience and strong networks in providing pro bono services for victims of exploitation are key assets in promoting justice for Indonesian migrant workers in Singapore and Hong Kong,” said Wina Retnosari, Deputy Director for Institutionalization and Protection Diplomacy, Directorate of Protection for Indonesian Citizens and Legal Entities Overseas, MoFA Indonesia.
To date, 17 news stories have been filed on #PercayaBersama campaign, far exceeding the campaign’s key performance indicators, even as the digital segment of the plan, which includes a Facebook and Youtube/Google ad campaign, starts to roll.
Beyond just awareness raising
The launch event has also led to further intangibles as explained by Douglas,
“The press conference really showcased how we’re working with both government and NGOs to help workers. I’ve honestly been looking at this campaign as purely migrant worker focused, but I thought today showcased how our capacity building and our work with other stakeholders can really help raise awareness across the spectrum.”
Indeed, a number of new opportunities have already opened up as a result of the launch event, with MOFA publicly expressing its interest to carry out a joint work programme with JWB to increase the cross-border civil litigation capacity of its diplomat colleagues in Singapore and Hong Kong. MOFA sees this as a great way to assist its diplomats in carrying out their protective duties in both regions.
With the early success of this publicity campaign so far, the team is looking forward to a strong response from the Indonesian migrant worker community to seeking cross-border access to justice in the weeks and months ahead!