August 13, 2012
Anis is a brilliant advocate who has pushed migrant domestic workers’ rights into the headlines of Indonesian newspapers and the agenda of the Indonesian president.
Nisha Varia, senior researcher, Women’s Rights Division

Human Rights Watch's Alison Des Forges Award celebrates the valor of individuals who put their lives on the line to protect the dignity and rights of others. Human Rights Watch collaborates with these courageous activists to create a world in which people live free of violence, discrimination, and oppression.

Anis Hidayah, executive director of Jakarta-based Migrant Care, speaks out on behalf of the millions of Indonesian women and men who seek work abroad to feed their families and face serious risk of exploitation and abuse. As Migrant Care and Human Rights Watch have both documented, Indonesian women domestic workers in Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait often work up to 18 hours a day, seven days a week.

Many are not paid; some are confined, beaten, or raped by their employers. Several factors place migrant domestic workers at high risk of abuse, including exclusion from labor laws, predatory recruitment practices, poor oversight of both recruiters and employers, and immigration policies that facilitate abuses.

Hidayah dedicated her life’s work to the protection of migrant workers’ rights when, as a graduate student, she learned about a migrant domestic worker who had been raped in Saudi Arabia and was unable to obtain redress. Hidayah helped build a broad network of migrants’ rights activists to raise the profile of the abuses suffered by this often hidden population. She organized countless protests, garnered extensive media coverage, and gained access to top policymakers in Indonesia’s parliament and ministries of manpower, migration, and foreign affairs. Migrant Care monitors thousands of abuse cases, presses the Indonesian government to provide better protections for migrant workers, and advocates for stronger regional and international standards.

Human Rights Watch honors Anis Hidayah for her dedication to exposing and ending egregious abuses against Indonesian migrant domestic workers.

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