This paper studies the experiences of female Indonesian migrant workers employed in the domestic sector as maids, housekeepers, and nannies in Indian Ocean World destinations. Specifically, it examines the extent to which female international labour migration from Indonesia to Asia Pacific and the Middle East enables the violation of labour and human rights, and by extension, the perpetuation of modern systems of Indian Ocean World bondage. Part I focuses on the context of international Indonesian female labour migration, outlining its history from the 1980s to the present. This section investigates the socio-economic factors which contribute to women’s choices to migrate for domestic work, such as rural impoverishment and gendered divisions of labour. Part II assesses the human rights abuses that occur throughout the migrants’ placements overseas. It argues that Indonesian female international labour migration supports modern forms of Indian Ocean World bondage, functioning as a system which permits the widespread abuse, extortion, and exploitation of female migrant workers, and the limitations of their human rights.

Published: 2019-05-15