Domestic workers in Hong Kong. Photo: Asia Times
Domestic workers on a day off in Hong Kong. Photo: Asia Times

Since 2014, The National Agency for Placement and Protection of Indonesian Workers has noted more than 2,600 cases of Indonesian migrant workers being reported dead or missing.

Marselina Neonbota was 16 when she chose to leave her village in Indonesia to work in Malaysia. She took a chance and joined thousands of other Indonesians who migrate to wealthier nations for work, where they can earn more in just a few years than in almost a lifetime back home, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

She never made it home.

Apart from the 2,600 mentioned earlier, even more people like Marselina – who were recruited illegally – go missing or worse, they return in coffins.

Exclusive numbers from AP revealed more than 8,000 cases of missing and deceased migrant workers in Asia since 2014. Furthermore, 2,000 similar cases were found in the neighboring Philippines. The numbers just keep increasing.

And it does not end there. Further investigations conducted by the AP found at least 61,135 migrant workers missing or deceased in the same time period – which is two times the number provided by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The situation gets even more depressing. As Among Resi, IOM’s head of counter-trafficking and labor mitigation division says, it is basically next to impossible to find missing migrant workers. In most cases, the families have little detail on where the victims have gone.

In some cases, the families don’t even have photos of the victims.