Rachmat Gobel: Domestic Workers are Assets in Building the Families Where They Work.

Editor : Dulwahab Nasaru

JAKARTA- Vice Chairman of the Indonesian House of Representatives Commission for Security and Foreign Affairs, Rachmat Gobel, said that domestic workers (PRT) are part of building the families where they work. “So, it’s not just about making a living, but also participating in building the family, a part of improving the welfare of the family where they work. This is the most important value that must be understood,” he said on Wednesday, February 15, 2023.

He made this statement while receiving a delegation of civil society coalition advocating for the enactment of the Draft Law on the Protection of Domestic Workers (PPRT) to become a law. On this occasion, Gobel was accompanied by two members of the Indonesian House of Representatives from the Nasdem Party, namely Charles Meikyansyah and Taufik Basari. The delegation, led by Lita Anggraini from the National Advocacy Network for Domestic Workers (Jala PRT), consisted of representatives from various elements of society, including the HMI-Wati Corps (Kohati). Lita stated that she had been advocating for the enactment of this bill for more than 19 years. Now, the bill has been completed in the Legislative Body of the Indonesian House of Representatives but has always failed to be enacted in the plenary session of the House because it has not been approved by all factions. This bill will become an initiative of the Indonesian House of Representatives. Gobel said that the Nasdem Party Faction is one of the initiators in advocating for this bill.

Lita expressed her gratitude to the Nasdem Party Faction for consistently advocating for this bill. However, she stated that she did not understand why there are other factions that consistently reject the enactment of this bill. “Even though all objections have been accommodated. For us, what is important is how there is protection and legal guarantees for PRT. There are PRT who have been boiled in hot water, burned with hot irons, put in dog cages, fed dog feces, sprayed with chili water, subjected to sexual violence, and lost contact for up to five years. They are generally from villages and poor communities. So they need defense and legal protection,” she said. According to her, Jala PRT receives an average of 600 complaints every year. “I am sure that there are still many that have not been reported. So, this figure is like the tip of the iceberg, only what is visible on the surface,” she said.

However, Gobel said that besides providing protection and legal guarantees, there are greater and more strategic values that domestic workers play. “Domestic workers are part of the elements that help determine the success of human resource development. They are not just cooking, washing, and cleaning the house. But the most vital thing is that they participate in building the welfare and maintaining the balance of the family. Imagine a house without domestic workers. Especially if these domestic workers are also tasked with taking care of children,” he said.

In addition, Gobel said that Indonesia always demands protection for Indonesian migrant workers abroad, especially for domestic workers. However, in Indonesia, domestic workers have not yet received protection. “So, the enactment of this law will be an example for other countries that they are also protected in their own country,” he said.

Gobel said that domestic workers are not tools within the families where they work. “Domestic workers are assets for the realization of the welfare of the family where they work,” he said. Therefore, according to Charles Meikyansyah, the Nasdem Party Faction will continue to fight until this bill is enacted into law. “Believe me, we will continue to fight. In the Bamus meeting, members of the Indonesian House of Representatives from Nasdem requested that this bill be