Migrants risk all to cross from Mexico to the US

By |7 March 2012|

Human smuggling is a boom business according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, with the profits in the billions (over $32 billion in 2005). Caritas Internationalis says that while every country has the right to regulate immigration, restrictive measures are simply encouraging people to resort to more dangerous and expensive channels of migration.
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    Drugged, kidnapped and enslaved in brothel: how one Nepalese woman fought back

Drugged, kidnapped and enslaved in brothel: how one Nepalese woman fought back

By |7 March 2012|

By Laura Sheahen “In the brothel, there were no windows. The only light was from the lightbulb—that was the sun and the moon for us.” Charimaya Tamang grew up in the hill country of Nepal, working on her family’s farm. She was used to the outdoors and sunshine and freedom. But after waking from a drugged sleep thousands of miles from her village, the sixteen-year-old was shut in a room behind three doors, each one locked after the other. Unlike most girls from rural Nepal, Charimaya knew early on that the men who eventually abducted her were criminals. One had approached her in her village, complimenting her intelligence and her classroom work, suggesting she leave her home for better opportunities. “They’d say, ‘You have potential, you could work in a business,’” she remembers. But Charimaya had read in a book about human traffickers who buy and sell unsuspecting people into […]

A future for Congo’s women

By |27 February 2012|

"Karibu, welcome," said Adèle. She and a dozen other women are hard at work in a field beside the Goma to Rutshuru Road in North Kivu, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Adèle is an agronomist and also heads three associations supported by a Caritas project to rehabilitate women war victims. "We've planted peanut seeds and we're in the process of taking out the weeds so they don't overrun the place," she said. "When Caritas launched the project, 60 women were involved. We were given peanut, bean and pea seeds. After the first harvests we bought some maize seeds. Look at what they’ve turned into. We have two hectares of fine maize that we'll soon be able to harvest." Marie-José is one of the women who have benefited. “When I joined the association, I wasn't in very good shape,” she said. “My husband had been killed and all our property had been [...]

‘They’ve sold you’: sex trafficking in Nepal

By |27 February 2012|

To mark the launch of a new Caritas report on the female face of migration, communications officer Laura Sheahen and photographer Katie Orlinsky travelled to Nepal to document the trafficking of young girls and women. Follow their journey. By Laura Sheahen  “We girls were hidden under floorboards during police raids. There were ten girls there — it was so cramped you couldn’t breathe.” Rekha* was fourteen when she left her homeland of Nepal for India, saying yes when a friend’s mother offered her domestic work abroad. But when Rekha reached India, there was no maid job. Instead, she found herself in a dark room with many other girls. “I cried a lot. I didn’t even know how to speak Hindi,” she remembers. “I met another Nepalese girl, and she said, ‘They’ve sold you.’” Over the course of 18 months, Rekha was sold into three different brothels. In the last one, she convinced [...]

U-turn Ukraine: There’s no place like home

By |27 February 2012|

Oxana had left Ukraine to join her husband. He had gone to Brussels to look for work after being made redundant and with the lack of job opportunities at home.

How human traffickers recruit

By |13 February 2012|

By Laura Sheahen  This is Part 1 of a two-part article on human trafficking. To find out more about how COATNET helps former victims, see Part 2. “When we started in the early 2000s, a common way for traffickers to lure people was through ads in the newspapers,” says Gabriela Chiroiu of Caritas Bucharest. “They’d offer attractive jobs in modeling or dancing, needing no experience. The ad would say ‘young people preferred.’” “In Romania, unemployment is high. Factories and companies continue to close,” says Chiroiu. “People think, ‘OK, someone’s offering a job that’s maybe not the best job in the world, but something is better than nothing.’” But the ads were really targeting teenage girls for sex work. “Then people started being careful about such ads,” she said. “We and other groups checked all the modeling agencies—we called them. We created a blacklist of about 20 agencies.” Today, such ads are more likely to be on [...]

Tackling human trafficking

By |13 February 2012|

Throughout the world, criminals exploit poor or desperate people. Traffickers offer them jobs that don’t exist and take them from their homes before selling them into unpaid prostitution, beggary, or forced labour.
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    In southern Haiti mothers are at the heart of development strategy

In southern Haiti mothers are at the heart of development strategy

By |23 December 2011|

Food security, especially that of children, is a major problem in Haiti. Caritas has put in place various initiatives in the province of Les Cayes in southern Haiti to deal with this issue. With the help of CRS, the local Caritas has set up more than 200 mothers groups. What's a mothers group? "As the name suggests, it's a group of mothers from a particular district with whom local Caritas workers develop activities in order to improve families' food security and living conditions," explains Jean Harry Dominique, the CRS agricultural projects coordinator for the region. To get a better idea, we joined him on a field trip to Roche-à-Bateau. Mutual financial assistance "I'd like to set up a small business selling rice, flour an sugar. The last time I made a decent profit. I've asked for 1,000 gourdes (US$25) to buy products." Ariette Tessono is speaking. She belongs to a mothers group [...]

Time to free Rizana Nafeek

By |15 September 2011|

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 [...]
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    American dream ends in mass graves for migrants heading north

American dream ends in mass graves for migrants heading north

By |11 July 2011|

By Fr. Francisco Gallardo, director of the Caritas migrant house at Matamoros, near Mexico’s border with the USA.  People leave their homes in search of the “American dream” but they end up coming to us looking for lodging, clothes and help. Many of them arrive completely exhausted. There are people who’ve been kidnapped and who come to us full of fear. They’ve been tortured and abused and are in a pitiful state. Most of those who come to us are men. There are very few women and children. Sometimes people come with children but they can’t prove they are their parents. We think that they’re taking the children to their real parents in the US. We’ve been working with migrants in this diocese for the past 24 years. Originally, we opened our doors to migrants who came from the centre and the south of Mexico. But then the situation became more dramatic and [...]

The female face of migration

By |7 July 2011|

The Sister* from Caritas Sri Lanka searches for the women migrant workers who’ve returned home abused and traumatised, their dream of saving a nest egg for their families shattered. Chandrangani Gunathilaka’s story is one of the worst the Sister has heard. Chandrangani went to Kuwait as a maid in January 2010, paying agents over $200, but quickly fell ill when her employers starved her. Her agents smacked her head against a wall and stood on her chest when she asked for another job. Coughing up blood, Chandrangani made it to the Sri Lankan Embassy. “ There were many suffering people there,” she said. “Some were burned. Many were beaten.” Chandrangani ended up in a wheelchair. The Sister, who sets up safe migration programmes for Caritas Sri Lanka, arranged for medical treatment. Chandrangani can now take a few steps and deeply appreciates the Sister ’s help and counselling. “Nobody else came to visit [...]

Migration conference in Senegal

By |7 July 2011|

In Tinzawaten there’s next to nothing to eat or drink, the houses are roofless shells, it’s freezing at night, scorching in the day, murder and rape go unpunished, women are sold as slaves and babies are born in the open. This is the desert of Mali. The people of Tinzawaten are migrants who’ve been deported from Algeria, shoved across the border and dumped with nothing. The harrowing scene is described by Fr Jerome Otitoyomi Dukiya at a conference organised by the Caritas Internationalis General Secretariat and Caritas Senegal in Saly, Senegal. Fr Jerome said, “Algeria signed an agreement with the EU in exchange for financial and development aid that migrants would only be returned to their own countr y. The deal doesn’t mean abandoning them to years of limbo in places like Tinzawaten. But who’s making a fuss about it?” Caritas is. It is advocating for full legal protection for migrants, especially [...]

A woman’s world?

By |10 March 2011|

Across the globe, women do 66% of the world’s work and produce 50% of its food, yet earn only 10% its income and own 1% of its property. Such figures show just how far we still have to go in the struggle to achieve the genuine equality and empowerment of women worldwide, an objective set down in the third Millennium Development Goal. Listen to Martina Liebsch, Caritas Internationalis policy director, interviewed by Vatican Radio for International Women's Day 2011.

Caritas in Uruguay to tackle urban and domestic violence

By |28 February 2011|

Urban and domestic violence has become a more pressing problem in Uruguay. Caritas Uruguay decided to push forward peaceful conflict resolution programmes throughout the country.

Greater protection of women migrants essential

By |2 December 2010|

Caritas Internationalis urged its 165 national members to unite to protect the rights of women migrants at the end of its special ‘Female face of Migration’ conference. Over 100 representatives from the Caritas confederation of Catholic charities and other migration experts from 50 countries attended the three-day conference in Saly, Senegal, 30 November to 2 December. Speaking at the end, Caritas Internationalis Secretary-General Lesley-Anne Knight said, “Behind the difficulties that women migrants face, there is always poverty and a lack of a sense of belonging and of being part of a family. “Caritas organisations should get involved at a local and national level, lobby political and religious leaders and open their hearts to their sisters and brothers who are seeking peace and security in their country.” Caritas calls for effective and lasting international solutions to protect women migrants and ensure they are supported to make informed choices. Women represent roughly half of the world’s [...]

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