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Seventeen maids have died abroad

Jakarta Post - November 25, 1997 (posted by Tapol)

Jakarta – Seventeen Indonesian housemaids died abroad while 46 others were either tortured or sexually abused over the past year, a report said.

The report, compiled by Solidaritas Perempuan (Women's Solidarity), a non-governmental organization for the protection of Indonesian women's rights, said the housemaids worked in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon. Chairperson Tati Krisnawaty said that two female workers died after they fell from their employers' apartments in Singapore.

One worker was burned to death in Hong Kong, another died of an unspecified accident in Malaysia and the other, Solihah, was beheaded in Saudi Arabia in October for killing her employer.

Tati said the cause of the deaths of the other 12 women remained unknown as the organization failed to obtain the information from related authorities of the countries where they worked.

"Violence against Indonesian female workers abroad was 'systematic' and yet the government failed to undertake a fundamental effort to protect female migrant workers," she said. She also condemned the employers, who had violently intimidated the workers, robbed them of their rights, physically and sexually harassed them and, in some cases, raped them.

"This violence against female workers caused both physical and psychological scars, shocked them and even ended in their death," she said.

Tati's statement coincides with the International Anti-Violence Against Women Day, which falls today.