Indonesia’s Catholic Church officials have welcomed a government move to tackle human trafficking by making it easier for migrant workers to be legal with necessary documents.
The Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration has launched a one-stop service to issue official documentation to migrant workers in Kupang, capital of Catholic majority East Nusa Tenggara province, which has the highest number of human trafficking cases.
Obtaining permits used to be a very long process and could take months, said Samuel Adu, an official at the ministry. "This was exploited by brokers who passed on workers illegally along a human trafficking chain,” he said. With the new system, the process of obtaining permits is much quicker, less than a week.
Father Paulus Christian Siswantoko, secretary of the Commission for Justice, Peace and Pastoral for Migrant-Itinerant People of the Bishops’ Conference of Indonesia (KWI) welcomed the move, but asked the government to ensure the new system is corruption free. "Corruption,” he said, “is commonly practiced in issuing permits."
Father Yohanes Kristoforus Tara, coordinator of the Commission for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation of the Franciscans in Timor also welcomed the move but also called on the government to provide would-be migrants with skills training. He said this would make the government effort against trafficking more effective.
Reyna Usman, another official at the Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration said the new service in East Nusa Tenggara will also help the families of migrant workers stay in touch with them as every information will be logged.
According to the East Nusa Tenggara Regional Police more than 1,600 people were trafficked over the last two years, many of them were children.
Aplonia Sara Mali Bere, a former migrant worker from Atambua in Belu district who twice went to Malaysia to work illegally was optimistic about the new system. She said hat with better protection, a lot of migrant workers will now go through official channels. (Source: UCANEWS)