Human Rights Watch releases a damning report on the abuse of Indonesian domestic workers in Malaysia: More than 90 percent of the 240,000 domestic workers in Malaysia are Indonesian. The Human Rights Watch report documents how they typically work grueling 16 to 18 hour days, seven days a week, and earn less than U.S. $0.25 per hour. Migrant workers worldwide send over $90 billion to developing countries, exceeding foreign aid. An increasing number of labor migrants are female. In Indonesia, 76 percent of all legal migrant workers in 2002 were women. Most female migrant workers are concentrated in low-paying, unregulated sectors like domestic work. Malaysia’s laws exclude domestic workers from most labor protections and Indonesia does not yet have any specific laws protecting migrant workers. The two governments must amend labor laws, rigorously monitor labor agencies, and provide quality support services to victims, Human Rights Watch said. “Indonesian domestic workers are treated like second-class humans,” said LaShawn Jefferson, executive director of Women’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch. “Malaysia and Indonesia must actively protect the rights of women workers instead of leaving this to labor agencies who are often responsible for committing abuses themselves.”


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