We are pleased to introduce one of our key frontline NGO partners – the Jakarta-headquartered Serikat Buruh Migran Indonesia (Indonesian Migrant Workers Union or “SBMI”). SBMI is operated by former, present or aspiring Indonesian migrant workers and their families. The organization aims to bolster the welfare and rights of Indonesian migrant workers through advocacy work, client support, education, and economic empowerment.
SBMI works to improve the quality of labour migration for those who look to work abroad. Tapping on returnees’ personal knowledge and vested interest in improving the labour migration situation, SBMI draws up topical guides to inform potential migrant workers of knowledge gaps that are commonly exploited. For instance, the guides elaborate on the pre-departure procedures for Indonesian migrant workers and what they ought to expect in migrating abroad.
As a union, SBMI organizes Indonesian migrant workers to improve their bargaining position. Working together nation-wide, their numbers enable them to collaborate effectively with key government institutions, international institutions, and other NGOs. This combined coordination feeds into their advocacy work, which operates on two prongs, policy and client advocacy.
JWB’s work with SBMI comes under this second area of advocacy. In a recent interview, the head of SBMI, Mr. Hariyanto, stated that the cross-border support network provided by JWB helps to address a key problem faced by many members of SBMI – unable to seek redress in the host country, and thus returning home without compensation, and with the host country perpetrators getting away scot-free. JWB has also supported SBMI in improving their case documentation, case database, case in-take forms, and their general knowledge on cross-border claims.
As a large organization, SBMI deals with thousands of cases each year across their 49 offices. JWB recently provided free cross-border case screening support to their Jakarta office, with help from Jakarta-based law firm Hiswara Bunjamin and Tandjung, and has also conducted case screening sessions with SBMI. To date, JWB has screened approximately 100 SBMI cases involving exploitation of migrant workers returning from Singapore, Hong Kong and the Middle East. This is in addition to our review of more than 20 cases referred to us recently by SBMI.
JWB is truly delighted to support such a committed and passionate organization in working towards our common goal of justice for Indonesian migrant workers. We look forward to sharing more updates on our ongoing work in the future.