Journeys out of the Ordinary | Jejen

Date: Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Photo: UN Women/M R Hasan

Like many other women migrant workers, family was my motivation to migrate. My husband had no regular income and was not paid well enough to support our two children, my sisters and our sick father. I migrated to Qatar to work as a domestic worker.

When I first arrived in Qatar, I felt like I was walking into darkness. I also thought that that was normal, however, and it was okay to feel that way. But if there had been one small light that I could follow, my migration experience could have been a different story.

Eventually I lost my job because my employer ended my contract due to some injuries I had. I had nowhere to go, so I was forced to stay at my recruitment agent’s home. One evening, when I was taking a rest, the agent came into my room and tried to rape me. I shouted out for help, but no one was listening. I managed to get away, But I didn't know where to go to seek help. I didn’t even know where the Embassy of Indonesia was, or that I could contact officials there.

I later found out that nine other women migrant workers had had a similar experience; recruitment agents are supposed to help us in times of trouble, but the one who hosted me tried to rape me.

When I returned to Indonesia, I started working for a migrant workers’ organization that distributes information about violence against women, including about trafficking, and about available services. We also make sure that we tell women migrant workers about the proper procedures, labour rights, women’s rights and financial literacy.

By working with the Safe and Fair Programme, I can proudly say that now we have deepened our knowledge on violence against women migrant workers. This allows us to give better information to others including information about where to seek support.

And now, I want to be the light that other women migrants can follow when they migrate for better opportunities.

My message to governments, migrant workers’ associations, trade unions and NGOs is: “I know from my experience that information is the key to safe and fair migration.”