Kasihan Erwiana – Another TKI Come to Grief

Erwiana Sulistyaningsih is a name probably unknown to most of RRA’s overseas readers, but here in Indonesia, she is well-known, a TKI, an overseas migrant worker, like so many young Javanese women.


She’s in the news because she is the latest victim of ‘alleged’ brutality at the hands of an employer, in this case in Hong Kong, where a big demo took place last week protesting what befell her.

I won’t go through all the details of this particular sad story, but here’s a link to a JP story which fills in some of the background. http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1408970/thousands-march-demand-justice-domestic-helper-abuse-case


Please note, these girls are NOT law-breakers – they have to get proper documentation before they leave Indonesia – nor are they, with rare exceptions, anti-social. They go to strange countries to work hard, VERY hard as a rule, and they send home money for their impoverished families.

During my occasional visits to Singapore, to sort out my own visa situation, I’d often fimd myself hanging about waiting for the Indonesian Embassy to open for business along with a bunch of them, and had interesting chats. Most were very happy with their lot, but others were treated little better than serfs. .


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  • Unfortunately, bad foreign bosses are not the only hazard they face. To get the jobs and travel to them, the girls generally use agencies, some of which are no doubt honest, but by no means all.
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And when they return with their earnings, after a year or two years or more, there are vile predators lying in wait at Indonesia’s airports, ‘taxis’ and other forms of transport, which charge them exorbitant fees and not infrequently rob them before they get anywhere near their distant inland homes.

And there are reports too of rip-offs by various personnel at the airports too.

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  • I have written about them often, even wrote a little work of fiction after becoming involved in the problems of one girl in Singapore. She got home safely in the end, but many don’t. Some are conned into believing they’re going to work as waitresses and end up coerced into prostitution.
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The Arab countries get thousands of TKIs and some of the worst stories emanate from the Middle East, beatings, rape…


Silhouette weeping


…and some come home in a coffin. Check out this previous post.   https://rossrightangle.wordpress.com/2013/06/11/jeddahs-hot-lets-start-late-today-as-tkis-faint-outside/


So if you do see any mention in your local media of Indonesia’s migrant workers meeting with unpleasant experiences, spare a thought for them.

They are NOTHING like the Roma pouring into the UK, France, Germany or Italy. Nor do they resemble the arrogant illegals in the USA who presume to demand that Americans let them flout the law with impunity.

Erwiana, and all the thousands of others like her, deserve our sympathy and our admiration. Honest, industrious and law-abiding, one might almost wish those boats from Indonesia were loaded with people like them instead of the crimmigrant cargos they do carry.


Like I say, they are good little ladies, and they DO want to go home after their ‘tour of duty’ is done!