PETALING JAYA | A migrant worker rights group contends that the RM50,000 compensation a court awarded to an Indonesian woman who was trafficked and forced into labor for 10 years is inadequate.

“The sum awarded to the victim was not reflective of the amount of work and torment she endured for a decade,” Tenaganita said in a statement.

On Oct 13, a housewife was sent to jail to serve her 10-year sentence after she lost her final appeal on a charge of trafficking the victim, known only as Supiyah, and exploiting her for forced labor.

The appellate court also upheld a decision by the sessions court in 2020 for Zaimatulhakma Abdul Hamid to pay RM50,000 in compensation.

It was reported that Supiyah was not only assaulted, but was barred from returning to Indonesia. During her 10-year stay in Malaysia, she was only paid a total of RM6,000, which led to the Court of Appeal describing it as “modern-day slavery”.

Though unhappy about the compensation for the victim, Tenaganita was satisfied with the appellate court’s decision to uphold the conviction against her former employer and the sentence meted out.

The human rights NGO said the case highlights the prevalence of abuse suffered by domestic workers and the exploitation they face.

It urged the government to amend the First Schedule of the Employment Act 1955 to remove explicit discrimination against domestic workers.

“For a long-term solution, we urge Putrajaya to enact a separate legislation and regulatory mechanisms for comprehensive protection of domestic workers through a standard contract recognizing the core rights enshrined in the ILO Convention on Domestic Workers,” it said.