Caritas staff members and colleagues from six continents were in Rome for Caritas Internationalis governance meetings this week. They also had time to see a photo exhibit showcasing Caritas’ work to stop human trafficking and unsafe migration. The exhibit, hosted at the residence of U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Miguel Diaz and funded by the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See, featured images of young women in Nepal who are at risk of being trafficked. The photographs, which were taken by Katie Orlinsky, showed rural and urban scenes of women in Nepal, one of Asia’s poorest countries. Caritas members around the world work together to raise awareness of false job advertising and other tactics that traffickers use to lure women into unsafe situations.
In Asia’s slums or impoverished villages, women and teenage girls will listen when a well-dressed stranger offers them a job. In Nepal, a poor country on the northeast border with India, thousands of young women leave their homes in search of work abroad. Sometimes the jobs offered are legitimate—the women earn money and help their families. But sometimes they are sold by human traffickers and are forced to work for free. In the worst cases, they are beaten or forced into prostitution. Click on the photo to the left to see an audiovisual feature about the problem—and to find out what Caritas is doing to help.
Photos by Katie Orlinsky or Laura Sheahen
Audio by Laura Sheahen
What is human trafficking?
Human trafficking is a crime in which traffickers deceive and recruit people, often across national borders, for the purpose of exploitation (forced labour, beggary, prostitution or removal of organs). Traffickers often lure impoverished victims with false promises of good jobs. When a person is working against their will, is not being paid, and is unable to leave–or if the conditions of their work are not regulated–they may be victims of trafficking.
Where is Nepal and what is happening in Nepal?
Nepal is an extremely poor country on the northeast border with India. Due to poverty and lack of jobs, many Nepali people consider working abroad to earn money for their families.
What kinds of fake jobs are being offered?
Unscrupulous employment agents in Nepal might offer teenage girls work as a housemaid, or offer to make them a movie star in India. Other agents offer men construction jobs in the […]
Recently, a viral video showing the abuse of an Ethiopian migrant in Lebanon shocked those who saw it. The Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center (CLMC) has worked with abused housemaids for years and sends us this timeline in the life of Alem, who was known to CLMC staff. By Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center Staff Like over 200,000 migrant women in Lebanon, Alem Dechasa-Desisa, a 33-year-old Ethiopian, made the difficult choice to leave her family and two children, and come to Lebanon as a housemaid to improve her family’s living conditions. Unlike many women who are able to realise this dream, Alem faced the harsh reality that some domestic migrant workers experience in Lebanon. In the video, Alem’s employment agent showed publically, in the streets of Beirut, the same treatment that some employers keep secret and hidden. Before LBCI news released the video on 8 March, the International Woman’s Day, the TV […]
“It happened on 20 December 2009, in the province of Chiapas. When I fell off the train, my right leg went under the wheels. But I’m lucky. I’m still alive.”
It’s not the first time that Edwin, a migrant from Honduras, has crossed Mexico. His first journey across the country dates back to 2000. He managed to cross the border four times, and each time he was deported by the United States immigration authorities. Today he’s back in the Caritas migrant reception centre in Saltillo. After five months of travelling from Honduras, he’s arrived at his destination.
“I don’t want to go the United States anymore. I’ve come here to try and find an artificial limb. With God’s help, I’m counting on Caritas and the extraordinary people who work in this house to help me to get it.” With his new artificial leg, Edwin will give himself up to the immigration […]
It is 7:30pm, in Amatlan, in the province of Cordoba Veracruz. The train whistle blows in the distance. In Norma Romero Vazquez’ kitchen, headquarters of the “Patronas ”, women bustle about.. Carmen, 90, the oldest of the women in the family, takes a crate filled with bags of food.
Along with her daughters and granddaughters, Carmen goes to the railway that passes about ten meters away from her house. Over a distance of a kilometer, the fifteen women share the crates out between themselves. When the light of the train appears, they get as close as possible to the tracks and stretch out their arms laden with food bags. “God bless you”, cry the migrants aboard the goods train. In a few minutes, the train has gone. Back to Norma’s kitchen.
For over 15 years, Carmen, Norma and the others have been handing out food, clothing and medicines to the migrants on […]
“I like guitars, they’ve been with me all my life. In Honduras, my father was a well-known musician. Trying to repair these old carcasses occupies my hands and my mind.”
Luis Enrique has been working for over an hour on patching up the two guitars that madre Guadalupe brought him at Belen, the migrants reception home in Saltillo, North Mexico.
Luis Enrique arrived the previous day. He thinks about Manuel, his travelling companion. “I had told him to wait, that there was movement on the bank.”
Three days before, the two friends were on the bank of Rio Bravo, the border between Mexico and the United States. Luis Enrique knows the passage they were meant to cross well. He used it twice in the past already. Twice also, he was deported by the American migration services. He paid dear for these experiences, but now knows what you need to do to cross the border without […]
By Laura Sheahen, “When I got home, my family saw my condition and cried.” Twenty-four-year old Damber Kumari Gurung had left her village in Nepal for Saudi Arabia to work as a maid. More than a year later, she came back covered with bruises. She’d worked long hours in a private Saudi home, getting about four hours of sleep each night as she struggled to keep up with the cooking, cleaning and washing. The family she worked for rarely paid her, and when she asked for her salary, they sent her back to the employment agents in Riyadh. She can’t say exactly what happened next. She remembers fighting back when they tried to strip her, and ripping one of the agent’s shirts. When she arrived at the airport in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, she was black and blue. “I was crying bitterly. People surrounded me,” she says. A woman at the […]
When impoverished women decide to leave their countries to work abroad, they often are deceived or abused. Smugglers and human traffickers may exploit them, forcing them to work as unpaid prostitutes or beggars. Women who become domestic workers are sometimes beaten, overworked, or not paid. Many women leave behind their own families to care for others, making their children vulnerable. The Female Face of Migration, a report by Caritas Internationalis, describes the problems that migrant women face. Explore this page to learn more: read the policy paper, get to know to stories of four women, and play our interactive game “Follow the Migrant Woman” to see what choices you would make if you were a poor woman going abroad.
For Stefani, the wait is terrible.
It’s 8 am in a Caritas Belen reception centre in Saltillo in the north of Mexico. The city is 300 km from the United States. She is waiting for her boyfriend Onan to turn up. They were suppose to meet here, before trying to cross the border together.
Stefani is 17, a teenager from Honduras. She is seven months pregnant. “I could not travel by the train anymore,” she says. “I could not run. I could not jump on and off the trains. It was too dangerous”.
She reached Saltillo by bus along with her boyfriend’s 15 year old brother. They did not have enough money for a third ticket for Onan. He had to ride the freight train. She last saw him a week ago. “He should already have arrived”, she says.
Every year, thousands of undocumented migrants brave criminal gangs, immigration officials and the elements to hitch […]
Campaigners are hoping that the plight of Sri Lankan death row housemaid Rizana Nafeek could end soon with her release from a Saudi Arabian prison and her return home.
Rizana Nafeek was sentenced in 2007 to beheading for strangling a baby she was looking after as a nanny in 2005. Rizana was just a minor herself when the tragedy took place. She maintains that it was an accident caused by her inexperienced efforts to save the baby from choking.
Riyadh Acting Governor Prince Sattam updated Sri Lankan officials last month, saying that a Reconciliation Committee is currently negotiating with the aggrieved parents to settle the case either with a pardon or the payment of ‘blood money’. The Sri Lankan government is ready to pay.
The Caritas Sri Lanka National Director Fr. George Sigamoney recently visited the family of Rizana Nafeek to keep them updated. Caritas Sri Lanka is still doing all it […]
By Olga Zhyvytsya, Caritas Internationalis project advisor
Financial inclusion promotes social inclusion of migrants in the country of destination – this was the idea that brought together the Italian Banking Association and civil society organisations at the meeting “Migrants and financial inclusion” held in Rome, 14 June 2011.
Italy, once a country of origin for migrants, today faces significant immigration flows. According to Caritas Italy data from 2010, 5 million migrants live in Italy and they constitute 7 percent of the population; foreign employees constitute 10 percent of the work force and 3.4 percent of enterprises belong to foreigners. Migrants contribute 11 percent to the GDP and pay near 11 mld euro in social security contributions. Moreover, near 1 million children of migrants were born or brought up in the country. As a result, Italy faces the growing necessity to consider migrants more as citizens rather than simply as guests, with […]