Director of Indonesian Citizens Protection of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lalu Muhammad Iqbal noted in a statement on Wednesday that Qibtiyah has been reunited with her family in Tempurejo Village in Jember District of Indonesia's East Java Province on Tuesday.
The Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Embassy in Riyadh had earlier received a report from her family on March 9, 2018, of Qibtiyah going missing.
It was reported that Qibtiyah, also known as Jumanti binti Bejo, arrived in Saudi Arabia on August 14, 1990, when she was 46 years old. Qibtiyah never had contact with her family in Jember since then.
Qibtiyah's name was not found in the database of the Indonesian Embassy in Riyadh, Indonesian Consulate General in Jeddah, or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
It indicates that Qibtiyah had never sought any service from the Indonesian representatives during her 28-year stay in Saudi Arabia.
Information on Qibtiyah was spread and communication with Indonesian citizen communities in Saudi Arabia was established to find her.
One day, an Indonesian citizen, Niayah binti Kasimin from Malang, East Java Province, revealed that she had interacted with Qibtiyah.
Niayah worked for the older sibling of Qibtiyah's employer.
The investigation then led to Abdul Azis Muhammed Al-Daerim, Qibtiyah's employer.
However, the employer was not cooperative once he came to know that the Indonesian government was looking for Qibtiyah.
He remarked that Qibtiyah had returned home three months ago.
Thereafter, the Indonesian Embassy sent a diplomatic note to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The Indonesian ambassador in Riyadh had also sent a letter to the governor of Riyadh.
On April 18 2018, with support from the local authority, the embassy managed to secure Qibtiyah from her employer to be returned to her family in Indonesia.
"Her family saw this as a miracle. They had lost all hope. However, through efforts by the Indonesian citizens protection team of the Indonesian Embassy in Riyadh, she was finally found," Chairil Anwar, an official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated after handing over Qibtiyah to her family.
Qibtiyah said her employer had not committed any form of violence against her.
However, for 28 years, the employer had failed to fulfill his obligation to Qibtiyah, such as making a residence permit, extending passport, or facilitating communication with her family.
The employer is now obligated to pay Qibtiyah's salary for 28 years.
"A bank account has been opened for Qibtiyah. She will spend the rest of her time in her hometown enjoying the result of her hard work for 28 years," Anwar noted.
The Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed that since 2014, it had received some 950 reports of missing Indonesian citizens, especially migrant workers, overseas.
Some 679 reports on missing Indonesians were received in the Middle East countries, 189 in East and Southeast Asian countries, and 25 in South American countries.
One of the major challenges in conducting search of missing Indonesian citizens or migrant workers was the lack of documents since most migrant worker placement agents failed to submit data of migrant workers to Indonesian representatives overseas, the ministry stated.(*)