Chairperson, Serikat Buruh Migrant Indonesia (SBMI) - Hong Kong

Active in Country: Indonesia and Hong Kong

DTP Alumna - 2016 25th Annual Program Sri Lanka

Elysa participated in DTP’s 2016 25th Annual Program in Sri Lanka.  She is a domestic worker from Indonesia and advocates for the rights of migrant workers.  Her work focuses on the rights of domestic migrant workers in Hong Kong.  She starting volunteering for SBMI (an Indonesian trade union established by migrant workers) as an advocate in 2015, based on her experience as a migrant woman domestic worker in Hong Kong.  Now she is a Chairperson in Hong Kong.

She experienced exploitation and abuses from Indonesian agencies, recruitment agencies, and employers. Recruitment agencies were not providing help and support, not providing decent work, nor providing guidance when the rights of migrant workers are infringed.

  “I felt helpless as there were no assistance, and I had to fight for my own right. The governments (home and receiving countries) do not have adequate policies, and the policies that are in placed are not aligned with the ILO Convention 189 (Domestic Workers Convention 2011).

 “The training from DTP has been useful for my work as an advocate.

  •  I was able to apply the training for one of my cases – when the victim was questioned by the recruitment agency because she stopped paying her loan as she was not receiving remuneration on the work she has conducted.  The theoretical and practical lessons on advocacy and lobbying from the training helped build my confidence to fight for justice.
  • From the knowledge I gained from DTP, I was able to impart these knowledge to other advocates. I was invited by Malaysia Prakash to provide assistance on one of the migrant workers case. During this investigation, the victim felt unsafe from the recruitment agency. We were able to provide safety and security for the victim, and win a case at the labour tribunal.
  • During my training program in Sri Lanka, I was fortunate to attend a migrant workers’ rights workshop hosted by Migrant Forum Asia (MFA). From this workshop, I was able to connect with other like-minded NGOs and attendees who are fighting and advocating for the same cause. From this meeting, I was able to re-connect with IDWF (International Domestic Worker Federation), which subsequently led to the invitation to attend a program on ILO Convention in Jakarta”.

From the DTP program, Elysa learnt the importance of changing the views of policy makers that help enable a safe and protective space for migrant workers.

 “Together, we fought for the rights of migrant workers such as recruitment costs. In Hong Kong, I was able to monitor the recruitment agencies that were charging illegal fees on migrant workers. We built solidarity and motivated ourselves to escape the problems. We improved our knowledge on the law and regulation in the destination country and home country as domestic workers. We have won 2 court sessions in Hong Kong and 3 court sessions in Indonesia”.

 “I am thankful for DTP program as it taught me how to be a better advocate as well as the importance of building solidarity”.


*For safety and security reason, in this document I have changed my name to Elysa.


Profile written September 2016