Jakarta: Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has managed to repatriate an Indonesian seaman, with initials IU, who allegedly became a victim of human trafficking in Gabon, Africa.
Director of Indonesian Citizens Protection of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lalu Muhammad Iqbal, during a press briefing here on Thursday, concluded that IU was a victim of human trafficking due to the practices of deception and double contract during the recruitment.
"He was promised USD300 as salary but only received USD160. His working condition was inhuman as he was forced to work for more than 20 hours a day in a ship, which could not anchor at the port for eight months," Iqbal revealed.
The ministry has put a serious attention to IU's case. Despite currently involving one person as the victim, the ministry indicated that there would be dozens of other victims too, Iqbal revealed.
According to IU's testimony, he was sent to work in fishing ships in Gabon along with 15 other persons, five of whom were his neighbors.
IU's case was reported to the foreign ministry by Indonesian migrant workers union (SBMI). SBMI's spokesperson Haryanto revealed that IU (20) was recruited by a local agent based in Jakarta and sent to Gabon on Nov 6, 2016.
However, IU never received what had been promised by the recruiting company during his 15-month work in a fishing vessel in Gabon, Haryanto noted.
Moreover, IU had never passed a certification to be a ship crew member, but the company provided forged documents in order for him to pass.
He was promised work in a tanker ship, but had to, in fact, work in a fishing vessel, with USD160 as monthly salary. IU also reported that he experienced exploitation and physical abuse aboard the ship.
The recruiting company was later identified as lacking a business permit until 2017, Haryanto noted.
On Feb 14, 2018, the seaman was repatriated to Indonesia after officials from the foreign ministry and Indonesian Embassy in Nigeria assisted the negotiation with the local government and involved parties in Gabon.
Sri, IU's mother, stated her appreciation to the government and the migrant workers union for saving her son from Gabon. "I hope such an incident would not happen to the others," Sri stated.
IU's case has been filed with the Crime and Investigation Unit of the National Police for investigation. The seaman has been undergoing treatment at a trauma center of the Ministry of Social Affairs in Jakarta. (Antara)
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