In Indonesia, the world of debt collecting is typically made up of darker skinned minorities from the Islands of Maluku in Eastern Indonesia who are locally perceived and stereotyped as being intimidating members of the underworld. But in reality, Indonesia’s debt collecting industry is regulated and crucial to the country’s economic stability.
We met up with a crew of Moluccan debt collectors to find out more about their tight-knit community and the different ways they secure money for banks. Although they claim to be non-violent, some collectors say they use various “tools” to get people to pay up, from brandishing machetes to staying overnight at a debtor’s home until the debt is paid. We also talked to a lawyer who’s worked with Indonesians struggling with debt to learn more about the partnerships between the banks and the collectors, and the legality behind some of the intimidation tactics they allegedly use.