Seven women legislative candidates in Jakarta pledged their support for the protection of female migrant workers during a forum in Jakarta on Sunday.

The candidates from the Jakarta II electoral district, which covers Central Jakarta, South Jakarta as well as overseas voters, gathered for a discussion held by Migrant Care, the Indonesian Women’s Coalition (KPI) and KAPAL Perempuan on March 10 to show their commitment to the protection of female rights, The Jakarta Post reported.

Nuraini, a candidate from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), said politicians were still reluctant to talk seriously about women’s issues in a male-dominated field, especially when it does not benefit the men.

She added that there were a considerable number of reports about abuse and violations committed overseas that either dragged on too long or were swept under the carpet.

During the discussion, she stressed that the implementation of a law on the protection of migrant workers that was passed in 2017 should be properly supervised and controlled. The article mandated a set of government regulations on the legal, economic and social protection of migrant workers as an amendment to a law that was first implemented in 2004.

The 2004 law that was pro-business was supposed to have transitioned into a protection-first law in 2017, but many say the regulations have yet to be implemented.

Nuraini said the law strictly requires dozens of regulations to be implemented, but so far only Ministerial Regulation No.18/2018 on social security – a regulation that oversaw social security for migrant workers – was being implemented.

According to executive director Migrant Care Wahyu Susilo, the majority of female migrant workers overseas are extremely vulnerable to violence, discrimination and even capital punishment. The regulations derived from the 2017 law should be able to solve these problems, but are still not being implemented properly.

The issue regarding the protection of migrant workers was put in the spotlight when Indonesian migrant worker Tuti Tursilawati was executed in October 2018. She was found guilty of murdering her employer’s father. She had previously pleaded self-defense due to frequent sexual harassment and assaults.