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Exploitation of Contract Work perpetuates Sexual Harassment

The exploitation of contracts linking women workers in garment factories in the area of ​​the Cakung Archipelago (BKN), north of Jakarta, perpetuates sexual harassment and crime. This happened in Linda's factory.

Linda, 35, works in a factory whose employer is South Korea. He said the mechanics often "held" it when the sewing machine was damaged.

He "authorized" the harassment because he "was afraid", believing that workers like him were being pursued by production targets, so that their body parts were "held" or "touched" by their superiors as long as "the machine was safe".

The power exercised over the workers' bodies at Linda's workplace is not limited to that. Linda tells her colleague, who was forced to have sex by her boyfriend, who works in the same company, because it is threatened that the contract of work of this friend will not be extended. The worker has a network with management, such as the foreman or supervisor, and this power relationship is used to perpetuate his sexual desire.

Linda's friend was pregnant and her boyfriend forced her to have an abortion, while being threatened to forbid telling this story.

"If he tells people that he has a war dispute, his employment contract will be terminated by known [leaders] of his girlfriend," Linda said.

Women workers occupy the lowest position in the production system of garment factories. Most work in sewing and packaging machines. The exploitation of contract labor has been used by male coworkers and superiors to harass and even sexually assault female workers.

According to research by Perempuan Mahardhika, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting women from sexual violence and sexual harassment of 773 women workers at KBN in Cakung, there are still women workers with good contractual status. that they worked 4 to 6 years. years (6.34%), 7 to 10 years (3.10%) and more than 10 years (1.68%).

In fact, in the Labor Act No. 13 of 2003, the contract work system is only valid for a maximum of two years and can only be extended for the following year.

Linda tells the story of another colleague who was forced to have sex until she was pregnant with the production manager. The abuser actually married the worker to another man. Now the worker chooses to return to his hometown.

Such working conditions are commonplace in Cakung's KBN, according to Boy.

A 25-year-old garment worker whose boss was from South Korea told his colleague that he had been forced to have sex with the factory manager because he needed medical expenses to his mother.

"The production company's factory likes the operators who pack these products, and then [they] walk. [He] told friends," Boy said.

The news was apparently transmitted to the ears of the factory manager's wife.

"So the email is angry at him in front of all the employees, the father shouted, I do not have the heart, but what are you doing?" The child came out [working] because he was embarrassed. "said, whose factory where he worked was closed last October.

Use a high position at the factory

Ajeng Pangesti, 30, said some of the perpetrators of sexual harassment were people sitting on the board of directors of the company, usually foreign nationals commonly referred to as "sir".

In Cakung, most garment factories are owned by South Korean entrepreneurs.

"HRD or his president embrace those friends who are not comfortable entering the PT and still believe that when they complain, they will be fired," said Ajeng, a member of the Women's Labor Committee. .

Ajeng believes that the practice of "appointment contracts" - the term designating sexual harassment "is supposed to be" in the name of extended employment contracts "- still commonplace, especially the system of employment contracts is increasingly "inhuman".