Thousands of garment traders have lost their jobs in the past few months after the government banned second-hand clothing imports, furious officials said on Tuesday.

The Used Garment Traders' Association (APPB) claims the ban, which was introduced last September, breaks human rights legislation as it has left huge numbers of people out of work.

They are now calling on the government to lift the ban or face possible legal action under human rights law.

"Offering no compromise or alternative, the government, through the Industry and Trade Minister, issued the decree in September leaving thousands of people who were dependent on the trade jobless," stormed APPB general chairman Agus Ngawanto Manik.

"The policy has also clearly shown the government's indifference about the poor and people who have little capital."

A non-violent protest against the ban took place outside government offices in Jakarta on Wednesday.