Indonesian embassy to seek thorough probe into online 'sale' of maids in Singapore: Report

In Carousell listings put up by user @maid.recruitment, the faces of several maids, allegedly from Indonesia, were posted. Some of the profiles even indicate that the maids have been "sold". PHOTOS: SCREENGRABS FROM CAROUSELL

JAKARTA - Indonesia's embassy in Singapore will request a thorough investigation of recent online advertisements in the Republic "selling" Indonesian domestic workers' services.

Listings put up by a user with the handle @maid.recruitment on online marketplace Carousell had peddled the services of several maids, purportedly from Indonesia, The Straits Times reported last week. Some of the ads indicated that the maids had been "sold".

The Indonesian Foreign Ministry's overseas citizen protection director, Mr Lalu Muhammad Iqbal, said on Sunday (Sept 16) that the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore had expressed its concerns about the practice to the Republic's Ministry of Manpower (MOM), Jakarta Post reported.

"Tomorrow (Monday), on the first working day, the Indonesian Embassy will also send a diplomatic note to the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressing concern that similar incidents have occurred several times in Singapore, and will request a thorough investigation of such cases," Mr Lalu was quoted as saying.

Migrant CARE, an advocacy group for migrant workers, has also hit out at the "selling" of Indonesian domestic workers on an online retail platform.

The group's executive director, Mr Wahyu Susilo, condemned the exploitative practice of enslaving humans and demanded legal action against the perpetrators.

"There must be standards and a code of conduct in providing job openings and employment information for migrant domestic workers, in accordance with human rights requirements," Mr Wahyu said in a statement on Sunday, according to Jakarta Post.

The MOM said it was investigating the ads and had asked that the listings be taken down.

Advertising maids like commodities is unacceptable in Singapore and constitutes an offence under the Employment Agencies Act.

Mr Wahyu said the practice of selling migrant workers like commodities was nothing new, noting that there have been many advertisements offering Indonesian maids "for sale" on the streets in Kuala Lumpur, dating back to 2012.

"There was also a case in Singapore where migrant workers were offered and put on display in stores. This is certainly very unfair and demeaning to the dignity of Indonesian migrant domestic workers," he said.

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