Serving Domestic Migrant Workers: Siti

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Having random objects thrown into her face by her angry employer became a weekly occurrence. When the abuse escalated to physical violence, Siti began to fear for her life, but not knowing she had any recourse to justice left her feeling frightened and helpless

- Siti from Indonesia

Siti is an Indonesian in her early 20s, who worked for a couple with two children. The first indignity she suffered was not being given a bed, and being forced to sleep on the floor. Siti’s life was complicated as her employers often gave her conflicting instructions. Having random objects thrown into her face by her angry employer became a weekly occurrence. When the abuse escalated to physical violence, Siti began to fear for her life, but not knowing she had any recourse to justice left her feeling frightened and helpless. Seeking help from her employment agent proved to be futile, and left her feeling wrongly judged and deeply disappointed. All she desired was some basic human respect.

Fortunately Siti’s options were not completely exhausted. Her sister referred her to Christian Action, so she was able to leave her abusive employer’s home before she was seriously harmed. For the duration of her case at the Labour Department and later the Labour Tribunal, Siti was offered shelter, counseling and paralegal services for free. While she waited for her case to be concluded, she participated in a number of activities and outings arranged by Christian Action. Thanks to generous donations, Christian Action was also able to provide Siti with the money she has needed for any transportation and visa expenses related to her case.

When Siti first arrived at Christian Action’s shelter she was very traumatized, and kept to herself. Counseling and feeling safe were exactly what she needed, and after a while she began to engage with the other women in the shelter, as well as with her Christian Action case worker. Gradually optimism began to replace Siti’s bitter disappointment and hopelessness.

Siti has now returned to Indonesia, and Christian Action continues to pursue her case with the police and legal authorities. She has clearly indicated that she trusts Christian Action to follow up on her behalf, and Christian Action in turn, genuinely hopes Siti eventually gets the justice she deserves.