Caritas says women are suffering from exploitation, abuse, trafficking and lack labour rights as they migrate in greater numbers.
It says governments are failing to implement policies to protect vulnerable women migrants.
Caritas representatives from all over the world and a range of high-level migration experts from international organisations will discuss these issues at the conference “The female face of migration” in Saly, Senegal from 30 November to 2 December 2010.
Dr. Lesley-Anne Knight, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis, said, “As poverty, conflict and climate change force more people from their homes, Caritas is working to protect their rights, especially those of women. Supporting migrants continues to be a major part of our work worldwide, from counselling before they leave their homes to medical, livelihood and legal support once they have reached their destinations, as well as assistance for those who want to get back to their homes. Caritas does not just provide care; it also advocates for more legal channels of migration and works to promote better integration.”
The “feminisation of migration” refers to the increasing number of women travelling alone without their families to work as carers, domestic workers or nannies abroad. Half of the world’s 214 million migrants today are women.
The key note speeches at the Caritas conference will be delivered by Catherine de Wenden of the Centre d’études et de recherches internationals (CERI) in Paris and Merlie B. Mendoza of Caritas Manila.
The main objectives of the conference in Saly are to better help Caritas meet the needs of migrant women through the services it provides. Migration can offer important opportunities to women such as better jobs, education, more freedom and the possibility to support family back home. A set of recommendations for Caritas, Church leaders and governments will be disseminated as follow-up of the conference.
Caritas members are located in many of the major departure, transit and arrival countries for migrants. As an international confederation, Caritas can offer guidance and assistance at all stages of the journey.
“Women migrants face marginalisation because of the way we look at them as strangers rather than neighbours; as a burden rather than productive human beings; with suspicion rather than friendship,” said Dr. Knight.
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