Beranda Pustaka Blog Labeling And Its Relation To The Life Of Children Of Migrant Workers (APM) In East Lombok

Labeling and its Relation to the Life of Children of Migrant Workers (APM) in East Lombok

Blog / Anak dan remaja rentan Mitra Payung : LPKP

By: Aulia Wulandari

Timaq jaoq eleq ranto dengan, idi kakak leq ranto dengan. Ruen doang idiq kakak bae saq penggitan…. Anak jari isiq ku gitak, idiq kakak isiq ku gitak. Aden taoq, idiq kakak turut entan dengan….”

Even when far away from home, oh kakanda (term of endearment for older male, could be husband, lover, etc). Only your face oh kakanda that is always seen. I look at our children. Oh kakanda, to be like everyone else [1].

That is the meaning of the lyric footage of a Cilokaq (dangdut song in Sasak language) sung by one of the famous local artists on Lombok Island, NTB. This song seems to be a reflection that illustrates how people live on Lombok Island. Yes, going away to become a migrant worker is indeed one of the professions taken up by many people in Lombok. This profession is considered as one of the professions that can provide a decent livelihood for the community in a relatively short time.

In fact, in the writer’s hometown, East Lombok, many tiled houses are claimed as “results from Malaysia” proving the increase in people’s income from migrating work activities. The 2014 NTB Central Bureau of Statistics recorded that the total number of official Indonesian Migrant Workers (PMI)[2] originating from Lombok Island is reaching 38.374 workers, with East Lombok as the district contributed the largest number, which is 23.213 for male workers and 1.313 for female workers[ 3].

With this number, it is not surprising that NTB province is always included in the top five regions of the largest migrant worker senders in Indonesia. The large number of migrant workers in this area does not only have impacts in the economic sector, but also impacts on the social life of the community. One of them is many children from migrant workers (APM) in this region. Quoted from the online news page, according to the research of Yayasan Tunas Alam Indonesia (SANTAI) year 2015, in Wanasaba Village (one of the districts in East Lombok) there are more than 350 children (0-18 years) left by their parents, either father or mother or even both to work as migrant workers [4]. This phenomenon then raises several questions about the condition of the children of migrant workers, what problems they are facing, and what are the responsibilities of the surrounding community and the state for this large number of  Children of Migrant Workers (APM)?

Labeling and Children of Migrant Workers in East Lombok

Apart from the risk of abandoned Children of Migrant Workers (APM), the community’s perspective on their existence also needs to be analyzed. One of them, the emergence of labels or nicknames attached to families with migrant workers as head of the family. The same matter in labeling or calling “Malaysian products” houses. Wives of migrant workers who are left behind are also often labeled “bebalu Malaysia” or Malaysian widows.

The conditions of migrant workers’ household also require wives to work. This then raises a new problem, which is the lack of care and even abandonment of Children of Migrant Workers (APM) as mentioned above. These poorly taken care children are also labeled as anak iwok (iwok children) [5] by the local community.

This may sound trivial. However, that is the reality or social fact that grows in one of the regions that sends the largest number of migrant worker in Indonesia. In addition, various discriminatory actions or attitudes that seem subtle will certainly lead to the emergence of social exclusion that keeps the Children of Migrant Workers (APM) away from their rights to get welfare. Therefore, it is very important to review various factors other than economic factors that cause the Children of Migrant Workers (APM) to be marginalized.

The profession as a migrant worker is still often regarded as a last resort when a family is in a loop of economic problems. The community then considers that this profession is only engaged by the lower classes and tends to underestimate those who are involved in it. This then triggers the emergence of labeling as mentioned above.

Labeling is the process of giving nicknames to individuals and communities. In this case, labeling children of migrant workers as the weak and having low strata then creates a problem. The pattern that can be used to understand how this labeling can affect the psychological and social conditions of the children of migrant workers (APM) is the pattern of Social Breakdown Syndrome Model proposed by Parrillo as follows:

The pattern that usually occurs to the elderly is very likely to occur to the children of migrant workers (APM), which in East Lombok case, often discriminated that lead to their exclusivity or exclusion from social life. In fact, they are often placed in low social class positions by the community. Labels that are attached to themselves as children with lacking parental protection and care, stimulate their negative synergies to take actions in despair.

It is not impossible that the number of early marriage in this area is also contributed by the children of migrant workers (APM) that ‘run away’ from their family economic conditions. In addition, many children of migrant workers (APM) also drop out of school due to economic inability and the drive to quickly change their destiny to escape discrimination. In fact, many of them actually become migrant workers like their parents to avoid discriminatory views of their community groups.

Other than that, the lack of attention from parents and the label given by the community to themselves open opportunities for the children of migrant workers (APM) to take serious deviant actions. Minor potential deviance that can be done by the children of migrant workers (APM) are able to lead to greater deviance as a result of the wrong interpretation process from the community about their existence.

Guarantees and Protection of Children of Migrant Workers (APM)

The state has guaranteed the fulfillment of children’s rights and protection in article 1 of Law Number 23 Year 2002, “child protection is all activities to guarantee and protect children and their rights so that they can live, grow, develop, and participate, optimally in accordance with human value and dignity and get protection against violence and discrimination.”

However, to seek fulfillment at the regional level, more concrete actions and policies are needed. Some results of studies recommend the importance of such manifestations, for example regarding the importance of regional regulation or the need to establish child protection working groups at the provincial and district levels [6], especially in migrant worker sender areas or regions because usually this inequality of citizen’s rights fulfillment still brings exclusivity to the residential areas. Because of this, the community program reach in the regions tend not to have positive change impacts.

The commitment of local governments to carry out their responsibilities in realizing welfare, as well as the protection of Children of Migrant Workers (APM) in the form of services and programs provision for them, must be developed. In the field of education, for example, it is very important to strive for social security networks in the education sector in East Lombok because in general, deviance and labeling commonly occurs to school-aged Children of Migrant Workers (APM). Protection for Children of Migrant Workers (APM) is basically the responsibility of local governments, especially the district government. In addition, utilizing social workers to manage these fields will certainly help the process of realizing welfare for the children of migrant workers.

Other than the government, the role of other actors such as non-government organizations (NGOs) that can reach the sender areas of migrant workers is also very much needed. On the island of Lombok itself, there are non-governmental organizations such as Yayasan Tunas Alam Indonesia (SANTAI) which is engaged in dealing with Children of Migrant Workers (APM) problems. This foundation is established in two districts on Lombok Island, namely East Lombok District and Central Lombok District.

Back in the analysis about the people’s habits to often label the families of migrant workers, including the Children of Migrant Workers (APM), efforts are needed in addition to the establishment of special institutions that manage the APM, just like public education programs. Do not let the existence of government programs and non-governmental organizations sharpen exclusivity because it is common for some groups of people to assume that existing programs are not for their “groups” and tend to stay away from them, so the programs must really pay attention to the inclusion process, not only the efforts to embrace Children of Migrant Workers (APM), but also ensure to embrace public awareness in an effort to protect the APM.


Understanding a social concern is actually not only through an understanding on the constraints of economic capital attainment in community. Communities also have social and cultural capital that directs their various interpretations of things. Habits that lead to a practice of discrimination in certain groups within society are rarely recognized by the community.

Therefore, in addition to striving for various problem solving using economic factor analysis, it is also necessary to analyze other external factors that influence the condition of a community, such as factors developed from people’s habits. The exclusion of Children of Migrant Workers (APM) could be traced through small habits in the community that also contributes to the marginalization of Children of Migrant Workers (APM), just like labeling.

Because of that, through this writing, the writer hopes that community environmental analysis of Children of Migrant Workers (APM) to also be carried out to get a thorough understanding of what migrant workers’ children actually face, especially in East Lombok region. In addition to embracing the the Children of Migrant Workers (APM), education for community around those children is also very much needed as an effort to raise awareness about value and dignity of those children whose rights are guaranteed by law, and they have equal position in an effort to build their capacity to achieve prosperity.


Soetomo. 2015. Masalah Sosial dan Upaya Pemecahannya. Yogyakarta: Pustaka Pelajar.

Badan Pusat Statistik Nusa Tenggara Barat. 2014. Jumlah TKI resmi asal provinsi NTB menurut Kabupaten/kota dan jenis kelamin 2014. [in network] accessed through on October 28, 2018.

Adhanariswari, Ririn dkk.2012. Pembentukan Model Pemberdayaan Anak Buruh Migran Di Kabupaten Banyumas. dalam jurnal dinamika hukum vol. 12 no 1 Januari. [in network] accessed through website, on October 28, 2018.

Bonasir, Rohmatin. 2017. Satu Desatki, 350 Anak Ditinggalkan Oleh Orang Tua. [in network] accessed through   on October 15, 2018.


[1] Lyrics of  Cilokaq Sasak “Icaq Raoq” song performed by local singer, Erni Ayu Ningsih

[2] Criterias for Indonesian Migrant Workers (PMI) are mentioned in article 4 of Law Number 18 Year 2017 on the protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers. This term is a new definition of Indonesian Workers (TKI).

[3] Statistics Indonesia (BPS) of West Nusa Tenggara. The number of official TKI from NTB province according to district/city and gender 2014. Accessed through

[4] See page

[5] Anak Iwok (Iwok children) is actually a term for children who live alone because both of their parents have passed away. This nickname is often attached to the children of migrant workers who are abandoned.

[6] Ririn Adhanariswari and friends in legal dynamics journal vol. 12 no. 1 January through on October 28, 2018


This essay was written by Aulia Wulandari for essay writing competition organized by Program Peduli. The views of the writer do not reflect the views of Program Peduli.