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University of New South Wales Faculty of Law Research Series

Faculty of Law, UNSW
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Farbenblum, Bassina; Taylor-Nicholson, Eleanor; Paoletti, Sarah --- "Migrant Workers' Access to Justice at Home: Indonesia" [2013] UNSWLRS 75

Last Updated: 9 November 2013

Migrant Workers' Access to Justice at Home: Indonesia

Bassina Farbenblum, University of New South Wales

Eleanor Taylor-Nicholson, University of New South Wales

Sarah Paoletti, University of Pennsylvania Law School

This paper is available for download at Available at


This paper may be referenced as [2013] UNSWLRS 75.


Each year, around half a million Indonesians travel abroad to work. Half of those go to the Middle East. They are typically women from small cities or villages with primary education and limited work experience, hired to perform domestic work. Many suffer abuse and exploitation but have virtually no access to recourse within their host country’s legal system.

The vulnerability of migrant workers abroad makes it crucial for them to be able to seek redress in their own countries. Access to justice at home also allows for redress when home governments and private recruitment businesses breach their legal responsibilities to migrant workers.

'Migrant Workers’ Access to Justice at Home: Indonesia' is the first comprehensive study of migrant workers’ access to justice in their country of origin. The report analyses the mechanisms through which migrant workers may access justice in Indonesia, and the systemic barriers that prevent most workers from receiving full redress for harms that they suffer before, during, and after their work abroad.

The report also outlines the laws, policies, and procedures that govern the operation of each redress mechanism, and contains recommendations for improving access to justice and private sector accountability in 11 key areas, addressed to government, parliament, civil society, donors, and others.

'Migrant Workers’ Access to Justice at Home: Indonesia' provides a strong evidence-based foundation for advocacy and law reform within Indonesia and globally. It can also function as a guide for civil society groups in Indonesia to better understand, use, and test existing justice mechanisms to enforce migrant workers’ rights.

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