At the beginning of 2018, the Institute for Education Development, Social, Religious and Cultural Studies (Infest) began preparing a strategic plan for implementing the program “Strengthening the Protection of Migrant Workers in the Country of Origin and Placement Destination Countries”. This program is also part of the Infest Yogyakarta’s contributions to strengthening the quality of development in the village. In particular, on the issue of the protection of ex migrant workers and their family members. To implement this program, Yogyakarta Infest will collaborate with AWO International for the next three years (2018 – 2020).
According to the Director of Infest Yogyakarta, Irsyadul Ibad, also known as Ibad, the program to strengthen the protection of migrant workers is also an attempt to build a model for the protection of migrant workers from the village level. That is, in this case the role of the village is very important in the protection of migrant workers. Unfortunately, so far the role of the village has often been overlooked, because labor migration is not considered part of its authority. As a result, the village has not been assessed as a strategic party in attacking the problems of migrant workers. On the other hand, awareness of the real problems experienced by migrant workers are not spoken about by migrant workers. This is due to limited knowledge of rights, access to judicial institutions, and community support that focus on protecting migrant workers.
“Through Law Number 6 of 2014 concerning Villages, villages now have the potential to improve the protection of migrant workers from the village level. With the authority of local villages intersecting with the implementation of protection of migrant workers, the village can be a source of information services, data collection, acceptance of public complaints and empowerment. However, we must believe that there are still rare villages that have initiatives to improve services and protection for migrant workers and their family members,” explained Ibad.
Building a Protection Model for Indonesian Migrant Workers in Indonesia and Malaysia
One of the social preparations carried out by Infest Yogyakarta is to conduct needs assessments to find out the readiness and responses of prospective villages. On Monday-Tuesday (5-6 / 2/18), Infest Yogyakarta formulated a program implementation strategy plan. In addition, during a strategic planning meeting, Infest prepared a special team to spread information in both regions in Indonesia, and in Malaysia, conducted in Johor Bahru. In Indonesia, the information was spread in 6 villages that are candidates for beneficiaries in both Ponorogo District and Blitar Regency, East Java. Based on the results of the information, Infest will choose three villages to assist in each district.
Blitar and Ponorogo Regencies are two regions that have a diverse number of migrant workers, as well as diverse characteristics and dynamics of migration. Based on statistics from the National Agency for Placement and Protection of Indonesian Workers (BNP2TKI), Ponorogo Regency has the highest level of migration in East Java, with 6,597 in 2016. While Blitar Regency, occupies the second highest position of population migration in East Java, with 4,815 people in 2016.
According to the Manager of the Migrant Workers Protection Strengthening Program, Ridwan Wahyudi, the information process is expected to be able to map the target villages both quantitatively and qualitatively. Besides that, it illustrates the potential of villages for migrant workers, especially in realising the protection of migrant workers. The remainder is an initial introduction to the program, to increase access to justice and the rights of migrant workers and their family members, in the area where they were received and obtained by the local government of Ponorogo Regency.