Ministry of Manpower Failure to Protect Indonesian Migrant Fishermen from Human Trafficking Crimes

Press release - December 13, 2016
Jakarta, December 9, 2016 - Indonesian Migrant Workers Union (SBMI) and Greenpeace Indonesia today held a peaceful protest in front of the Ministry of Manpower office to urge improvement for placement policies and protection of migrant worker crews from Indonesia working on foreign fishing vessels outside the country. The protest was held one day before the commemoration of International Human Rights Day which is celebrated on 10 December.

The Ministry of Manpower has been deemed negligent in carrying out its obligations to protect Indonesian fishing crews from human trafficking. The safety and rights of Indonesian fishing crews working on foreign fishing vessels abroad are often neglected; most of them are also trapped into illegal fishing activities.

Hariyanto, Chairman of SBMI, said that negligence is exacerbated by overlapping authority between ministries and goverment institutions. As a result, the placement of Indonesian fishermen working on foreign fishing vessels is connected with the practices of human trafficking and slavery on fishing vessels.

Negligence is clearly proved by the inability of the Ministry of Manpower for 12 years to publish the implementing regulations as mandated by Article 28 of Law Number 39 Year 2004 regarding the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Workers (TKI) Abroad. In addition, the Ministry of Manpower also ignores Article 337 of Law Number 17 Year 2008 on Shipping which states that: "The provision of employment in the field of shipping must be carried out in accordance with the legislation in the field of labor."
This negligence leads to confusion in governance and protection of migrant workers, whose placement is enabled by the issuance of ABK BNP2TKI Chief Regulation No. 3 of 2013 and the Regulation of the Minister of Transportation No. 84 of 2013. Both of these regulations are contrary to Law Number 13 Year 2003 on Labor and Law Number 39 Year 2004 regarding the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers Abroad.
The overlapping authority causes various detrimental impacts for migrant workers from Indonesia who work on foreign fishing vessels: (1) fishing vessels crew placement procedures violated; (2) abdicating responsibility for protection and handling of cases of crew members facing problems abroad; and (3) fishing vessel crews trapped into IUU fishing activities.

Currently, Indonesia is the third largest source of maritime labor, with numbers reaching more than 200 thousand workers. Of these, 77 percent are migrant workers who serve as crew on fishing vessels. The rest are workers who serve as crew on cargo ships, cruise ships and more. Although the number is huge, the fate of fishing vessel workers is the least protected and most vulnerable amongst other maritime workers.

Editor's Note:

Referring to Law No. 39 of 2004 ​​(Article 1), crews working on foreign fishing vessels include migrant workers or Indonesian Workers (TKI) who work abroad.

Media Contact:

  • Hariyanto, Chairman of Indonesian Migrant Workers Union (SBMI), +6282298280638,  
  • Arifsyah Nasution, Ocean Campaigner for Greenpeace Indonesia, +628111400350,
  • Deby Natalia, Media Campaigner, Greenpeace Indonesia, +628111928315,