Back pay for trafficked migrant workers: an Indonesian case study

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In 2015 the International Organization for Migration (IOM) identified almost 1,200 trafficked migrants working in slave-like conditions on fishing boats in East Indonesia. The IOM helped the migrants and offered to cover the cost of repatriation to their countries of citizenship. The Indonesian government appreciated the financial support, not least because the victims’ embassies refused to pay. But most victims in one location refused to return to their home country without the wages owed to them by their trafficker-cum-employers. IOM policy states that migrants are eligible to use the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) service if they are unable or unwilling to remain in the host country. But another condition is that migrants must use the services voluntarily. The IOM could not force the migrants to leave the country, and national law prevented the Indonesian government from deporting the migrants because the IOM had identified them as victims of trafficking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-67
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Migration
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes

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