Moratorium is one option, but it is not the only option.
Jakarta (ANTARA) - A moratorium on the recruitment of Indonesian seafarers on foreign fishing ships would only serve as a short-term solution to the problem of forced labor at sea, a Foreign Ministry official said.

"The moratorium will not automatically stop the practice. As a short-term solution, it (moratorium) can be done," Judha Nugraha, director for the Protection of Citizens and Legal Entities Overseas at the Foreign Ministry, said at an online discussion on illegal activities in the fishery industry, held here on Wednesday.

According to Nugraha, the main challenge for the country is the illegal recruitment of migrant workers.

He cited the moratorium on migrant workers obtaining work in the Middle East as an instance where in spite of a ban, workers were still moving out for employment illegally.

"Moratorium is one option, but it is not the only option. The root of the problem is far more complex than this," he observed.

Nugraha highlighted some cases where the contract between sailors and employers did not specify protection for Indonesian crewmen.

For instance, he said, there were no fixed working hours for the crew, and the skipper had complete authority to decide them. Some sailors disclosed that they worked for a minimum of 18 hours per day, he added.

"There is a need to have standards and protections (laid down) in making the work contract," he averred.

Nugraha said all Indonesian embassies and representatives abroad have a 24/7 hotline service, and that number can be obtained on the Safetravel application.

National Coordinator for the Indonesian Destructive Fishing Watch (DFW), Moh Abdi Suhufan, has warned that human trafficking is just the tip of the iceberg and a serious crime that has continued plague the fisheries industry.

Support from all parties would be needed “to encourage a multidoors solution, among others, through multidoors law enforcement and management”, Suhufan said.

He urged the police to thoroughly investigate cases of human trafficking and forced labor involving Indonesian crewmen working on foreign ships.

The government, he said, would need to take strategic measures, including improvement of management, working conditions at sea, competence and law enforcement, and access to technology for victims so they can file reports.

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Translator: M Razi, Sri Haryati
Editor: Gusti Nur Cahya Aryani
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