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Dreamseekers, in joy or in tears: The plight of Indonesian domestic workers

Young girls dream of better lives and unknowingly become pawns in the modern machine of human trafficking

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 October, 2013, 9:49am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 November, 2013, 1:20pm

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Every month, tens of thousands of Indonesian women are sent to Asia and Saudi-Arabia to work as domestic helpers.

Young girls dream of better lives and unknowingly become pawns in the modern machine of human trafficking.

The story of a journey followed by so many undereducated Indonesian girls. A journey that starts in a small village in Indonesia, will lead you through training camps in the city, immerse you in a life of servitude, debt bondage, and low pay, far from any known reference, and will end back home, in joy or in tears.

Photographer Gratiane de Moustier said: "I’m illustrating what I consider a modern version of slavery and human trafficking.

I’m illustrating what I consider a modern version of slavery and human trafficking
Photographer Gratiane de Moustier

"These women are often mislead by sponsors who travel across the country selling dreams of adventures overseas, and fantastic monetary prospects.

"They leave their homeland with high hopes and aspirations, but more often than not the reality at their destination turns their dreams into nightmares.

"Through my interviews, I keep getting the feeling that these girls are not prepared for this life. They don’t have the tools to know how to react if their employer gets too close, or intrusive. Most girls I have talked to barely know when their rights are violated.

"Since they aren’t educated enough to know their rights as workers, it’s easy for sponsors and agencies to take advantage of them.

See more of de Moustier's work on her website

Photos: Gratiane de Moustier

Video: Dreamseekers: A story of Indonesian Domestic Helpers