Modern slavery is a global issue deeply connected to labour migration. Migrants and those pursuing work abroad are often at risk of financial, emotional and physical exploitation. Overseas domestic workers are particularly vulnerable because they live and work in private households. In Indonesia, prospective female domestic workers face acute risks early on in their migration planning but little is known about how certain risk factors may increase their need for protection.
A new Seefar issue brief aims to fill this gap using evidence from Seefar’s 2018 strategic communication campaign in Indonesia. The report finds that information imbalances are primary drivers of vulnerability to harm and exploitation. Prospective Indonesian migrants receive information about migration from a variety of sources, but such information may be incomplete, inaccurate or even intended to deceive.
In-depth data analysis discovered that certain demographic factors (e.g. age, marital status, education) and migration characteristics (e.g. departure date, previous migration experience) are closely related to markers of vulnerability, including migration knowledge and perceptions of migration risks. Other factors typically associated with ‘risk’ profiles, such as destination choice or location, did not appear linked to vulnerability.
Filling the knowledge gap among prospective migrants is key to decrease existing vulnerabilities and improve migration decision-making. Key recommendations from this issue brief include:
- One-size-fits-all programs will not be as effective as programs that adopt people-specific approaches;
- There is a need for more research on vulnerabilities during the pre-departure phase;
- With better data, donors and program implementers could generate risk profiles based on individual demographic and migration characteristics;
- Pre-departure training should shift its focus from ‘hours delivered’ to an approach that emphasises vulnerability reduction.
Seefar welcomes comments and feedback on its research. To provide feedback, please email us at [email protected].
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