Undocumented Domestic Worker Wins Right to Seek Redress - FreedomUnited.org

Undocumented Domestic Worker Wins Right to Seek Redress

  • Published on
    July 31, 2019
  • News Source Image
  • Category:
    Forced Labor, Law & Policy
Hero Banner

In a landmark ruling, a high court in Malaysia affirmed that an undocumented Indonesian domestic worker has the right to have her case heard as she pursues redress for forced labor and unpaid wages.

She was not paid for nearly five years by her employer, but courts previously threw out her case because she did not have a work permit.

“This is a precedent for all undocumented workers,” Glorene Das, executive director at the Kuala Lumpur-based migrant rights group Tenaganita.

“With this precedent, there is hope for undocumented workers to seek redress in court. They are workers who have been exploited in trafficked and forced labor situations.”

Thomson Reuters Foundation reports:

The Indonesian woman, who is in her 20s and whose name was withheld by Tenaganita for privacy reasons, fled to the group’s shelter in 2017. Tenaganita helped her file the legal case over unpaid wages.

She sought about 30,000 Malaysian ringgit ($7,300) in unpaid wages at the government’s labor department and then a labor court, but both rejected her case.

She lodged an appeal with a high court last year, which ruled on Monday that it was “premature” for the claim to be thrown out based on the work permit status, according to Tenaganita and the Malaysiakini news website.

The court also ordered the case to be fully heard.

“All I want is my wages that I have worked for, so that I can go home to my family,” the Indonesian woman said in a statement provided by Tenaganita.

Malaysia’s Human Resources Minister declared a “war against human trafficking” earlier this year, promising to review labor laws. However, he has also proposed withholding 20% of migrant workers’ wages in order to prevent them from running away from their employers — a scenario that clearly puts workers at risk of debt bondage.

The U.S. State Department’s 2019 Trafficking in Persons report put Malaysia in its Tier 2 Watch List – the second-lowest ranking – for not meeting the minimum standards in efforts to eliminate human trafficking.

Subscribe

Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

This week

Passing of CSDDD blocked – human rights in danger

What could have been a day to celebrate, has turned into a day full of disappointment. On February 28, 2024, the European Council blocked the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD) after the vote had been postponed due to insufficient support, as reported by Reuters. Thirteen out of the 27 member states voted against the law or abstained from the vote, leaving the ‘qualified majority' of 15 countries short of one. A timeline of

| Wednesday February 28, 2024

Read more