Making Money Off Migrants is a case study of the plight of the migrant worker. While it focuses on the experience of Indonesian migrant workers in Malaysia, many of the problems described would be familiar to migrants In the United States or Germany.
It examines the stages through which migrants move from recruitment in their villages to their travel to a departure point in Indonesia to arrival in Malaysia and often, to eventual arrest and deportation. It shows the abuses they can suffer, including extorting and illegal detention, long before they ever reach Malaysia; the often dangerous journeys that undocumented migrants attempt, in part because official procedures are too costly and burdensome, and the difficulties they encounter on the Malaysian side, from unpaid wages to lack of recourse in case of employer abuse.
It shows how the dividing line between documented and undocumented workers becomes very blurred, with workers wishing to go to Malaysia legally often becoming the victims of unscrupulous Indonesian officials. And it sets these problems in the context of the ever-changing policies of the Indonesian and Malaysian governments. The book concludes with a plea to recognise the importance of protecting the rights of migrant workers.