Jakarta – The Agency for the Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers (BP2MI) has repatriated 52 workers who were stranded without pay in Saudi Arabia, an official said on Thursday.
Agency head Benny Rhamdani said the agency arranged the repatriation of the workers after news of their situation went viral on social media. They returned to Indonesia on Thursday evening.
The workers had been sent to Saudi Arabia illegally, he said, adding that he suspected they were victims of human trafficking.
"In a video uploaded on YouTube, the migrant workers were stranded in Saudi Arabia because they had not been paid by their employers since 2018. They also demanded that their placement agency afford them their rights," Benny said as reported by kompas.com on Thursday.
The BP2MI coordinated with the Indonesian Embassy in Saudi Arabia to repatriate the migrant workers.
After their arrival in Jakarta, the agency found that 31 of the workers were not listed in the BP2MI records. The workers said they had been dispatched to Saudi Arabia by private placement agencies, namely El-Safah, Putra Timur Mandiri and Anugrah Sumber Rezeki. They had all worked as domestic workers.
"The BP2MI will soon report to the National Police's Criminal Investigation Department as we suspect the companies were illegal placement agencies, allegedly engaged in human trafficking," he added.
The agency has quarantined the workers to comply with COVID-19 health protocols and will later provide them passage to their hometowns. (dpk)