Trafficking Women in Indonesia

Posted in Documentary | Photography, Non Profit, trafficking on August 26th, 2012 by tuschman

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This summer in Indonesia, I worked with a grantee organization of the Global Fund for Women called Rifka Annisa (which means “Friends of Women”). One of this NGO’s main efforts is to help women who have been trafficked as “domestic servants” to reclaim their lives. Six million women are currently trafficked in Indonesia. Most of them are sent to work in countries in the Gulf States and in other Asian countries like Malaysia and Pakistan. The following are two photo-documentary stories of women who have survived the experience of being “trafficked.”

The staff of Rifka Annisa and I drove for two hours from Yogyakarta to the village of Gunung Kidul. There, I met Seni Lestari, a 27-year-old woman. She was living with her husband, her son, and her mother. Three years ago, in desperation of finding a job, she contacted an agency that promised to place her as a domestic servant in Saudi Arabia. As a housewife, Seni thought her background had prepared her for the demands of the job. Unfortunately, her employers had something else in mind. Seni was the “domestic worker” for a large family with 12 children and 7 grandchildren. She was forced to work from 5 am until 1 am, nearly 20 hours a day without any days off. Seni was often beaten if the work was not done properly. She was able to contact her family only for the first few months – and then she lost communication with her family in Indonesia. During the first two years of her work, she received only five months of compensation.

Seni, with her husband and son in the background

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