August 29, 2010

Fight Trafficking: What to do in the European Union?

By |29 August 2010|

They are forced into sexual slavery, their organs are removed, they are exploited in the workplace. These are just some of the realities of the people who fall victim to human trafficking. Caritas members are currently at a meeting in Paris to urge the current French Presidency of the EU to raise awareness about the risks posed to vulnerable people by trafficking. Here are some of the pictures from an accompanying photo exhibition which tells the stories of trafficking victims.

No domestic bliss for migrants in Lebanon

By |29 August 2010|

Aneesa*, 23, arrived in Lebanon during the 2006 war with Israel. She left her home in the Philippines to become a domestic worker with a family. With battles being fought on the streets of Beirut, Aneesa was very afraid and wanted to go back home after just two weeks. It was too difficult to leave so Aneesa had to stay with the family that had been assigned to her by an agency. Very soon, her concerns about the war outside dimmed in comparison to her own personal conflict, which saw her the victim of violence and abuses at the hands of her employers. “The Mister slapped me and even touched me. He wanted to find out if I was a virgin and single. I begged him not to touch me, but he was very strong and I was frightened,” said Aneesa. As time passed, the list of abuses grew longer. Aneesa was hit, [...]

Migration: weighing up the options

By |29 August 2010|

They cross deserts in Mexico and they take to rough seas in unsafe boats in North Africa. They risk alienation, rejection and poverty far from home to create a better life for themselves and for their families. Many of the world’s migrants do this because there’s no better alternative. “History has shown us that people will always migrate,” says Martina Liebsch, Caritas Internationalis’ Advocacy coordinator for Migration, Trafficking and Gender, “but Caritas would like migrants to be able to make an informed choice, based on different opportunities, about whether to leave their countries or not.” Lack of opportunities in their home countries is one reason why people migrate. People may also go abroad to work because of war, poverty or so they can better support their families by sending money – remittances - home. “Around half the world’s migrants are women and Caritas Internationalis focuses its migration work on women,” says Ms [...]

Imagine a migrant’s rights protected: Migrants rights

By |29 August 2010|

• Priority should be given to economic and social policies which promote development in poorer countries so people do not feel forced to migrate, • Restrictive migration policies are not the answer. More opportunities in countries of origin would make staying at home more enticing, • Better regulation of the labour market to help avoid exploitation. Caritas urges governments and firms to provide decent work conditions. At the Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking Conference in Vienna in February, Caritas called on world leaders to honour the commitments they made to tackle poverty and to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Unfulfilled pledges lead to the despair and injustice which provide fertile ground for trafficking and slavery. At the COATNET (Christian Organisations Against Trafficking) meeting in October in Paris, Caritas highlighted the need for commitment to empowering women in the family and fighting the trafficking of children. At the Global Forum on Migration and Development [...]

Imagine a migrant’s rights protected: Caritas in action

By |29 August 2010|

Caritas organisations belong to ERSO (European Reintegration Support Organisations). Led by Caritas Austria, it offers counselling to migrants before they leave their country. In 2008, the project focused on assisting migrants on their return home, especially those who had been rejected for asylum. The book “The Travails of Sri Lankan Migrants” by Fr George Sigamoney, director of Caritas Kandy in Sri Lanka, shows the hardships faced by women who migrate and their families. Caritas Sri Lanka also released a DVD docu-drama about the plight of migrants called, “The House of the Arabian Child.” Caritas Dakar engaged in support of women from rural areas. They received microcredit to be able earn their living in their villages rather than be forced to migrate to urban areas. They were also encouraged to create women’s organisations. Migrants represent 3 percent of the global population An estimated 2.4 million people are trafficked at any given point in time [...]
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    Needed and Exploited – the Invisible Suffering of Migrant Domestic Workers

Needed and Exploited – the Invisible Suffering of Migrant Domestic Workers

By |29 August 2010|

The issue of migrant domestic workers is a major one in many parts of the world. It is sometimes linked to trafficking in human beings and it affects women to a large extent. Migrant domestic workers are often victims of severe human rights violations, which often are unreported and go unpunished. The most extreme forms of exploitation and abuse have resulted in severe injury and even death. Caritas Internationalis, concerned about the denial of the human rights and dignity of migrants around the world, has decided to compile information on the situation of migrant domestic  workers among its member organisations worldwide, their national/local partners, religious orders, and other Catholic NGOs that share the same concerns. The feedback received from them, presented here below, is a contribution to the work of ILO for the drafting of an international convention on the rights of migrant domestic workers. This compilation is based on answers received to [...]

Protecting women in war

By |29 August 2010|

Women and girls in conflict situations throughout the world suffer the trauma of war. They lose loved ones, they’re driven from their homes, they suffer the hardships of lack of food, shelter, and medicine. Women and girls can also be a soft target for enemy soldiers trying to humiliate and inflict pain on opponents. The use of sexual violence as a weapon of war is of deep concern to Caritas In Colombia’s civil war, a fifth of women who have been forced from their homes cite fears of sexual violence as the main factor For the most part, women and girls are innocent civilians caught in the crossfire. International humanitarian law provides protection for all civilians in conflicts regardless of their sex and has specific codes for the security of women. Caritas says there has been a collective failure of governments to protect women and girls in conflict situations from rape and [...]

Happy the pizzamakers

By |29 August 2010|

By Michelle Hough Take some flour, water, yeast, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and a pinch of salt. Add 15 immigrants from around the world. Mix them together with a Caritas Roma course… The fire’s stoked up, the ingredients are ready and for 15 immigrants in Rome, today is exam day. They’ve gathered at a cooking school in the suburbs of the Eternal City to show what they’ve learned on a 200-hour pizza-making course run by Caritas Roma. “One of the most difficult things about making a pizza is trying to get it into the centre of the oven,” says Saeed Anwar from Afghanistan. “You have to make sure it doesn’t drop off the spade as you shovel it in. You also have to make sure it doesn’t go too near the edges so it doesn’t get burnt.” For the exam, students cook not only pizza but also mouth-watering starters such as rice balls, stuffed olives and potato croquettes. Once [...]

Caritas supporting Polish caretakers working in Germany

By |29 August 2010|

The first Polish home care providers supported through a German-Polish Caritas cooperation have started working in Germany. The project was created to bring together Polish home care providers and elderly Germans assisted by Caritas in their homes.

Migrant domestic workers campaign

By |29 August 2010|

They look after your children, they clean your kitchen and hang your washing but often they are invisible. For many migrant domestic workers around the world the law doesn’t protect them and their rights are trampled underfoot. They are often women and they work long hours for low pay. They have little economic security and protection from abuses. Caritas is urging the international community to protect migrant domestic workers. They need respect from employers, freedom to change jobs and legal recognition of their work. They deserve the same rights as other workers enjoy. “Under one roof, under one law”. Find out more about Caritas work on the issue of migrant domestic workers: PRESS RELEASE: Protect migrant domestic worker rights Women’s Day: Protect domestic workers Protect maids, nannies and carers from exploitation Needed and Exploited – the invisible suffering of migrant domestic workers PRAYER: The woman next to you FEATURE STORIES: From Mongolia to Brussels Caritas supporting Polish caretakers working in Germany BLOGS:  Taiwan’s [...]

A way home for a Ukrainian mother

By |27 August 2010|

Olga had left her three children in the Ukraine to find work in Belgium.When she realised there could be opportunities to return to the Ukraine and set up a business in her home town, she turned to Caritas. Caritas Belgium’s repatriation programme gives returnees help in finding a home and a way to make money. It offers medical and financial support as well as education and training. In 2009, Caritas prepared 215 people for repatriation. Of these, 186 went back home. They helped Olga, who is a single mother, return home to her children. Once there, Caritas Ukraine, as part of the Solidarity Net, studied the business possibilities for Olga in the area. Her town didn’t have a hairdressers so Caritas Ukraine gave Olga money to buy the equipment she needed to set up a hairdressing business. “We act as a bridge for migrants between Belgium and their home country, where we [...]

Female face of migration conference in Senegal

By |26 August 2010|

Caritas Internationalis is organising a conference on “The Female Face of Migration” in Saly, Senegal 30 November to 2 December 2010 in cooperation with Caritas Senegal. The aim of the conference is to better understand the phenomenon of the ‘feminization of migration’, which describes the increasing percentage of women migrating. Caritas Internationalis Director of Policy Martina Liebsch said, “More women are migrating independently from their families. The demand for workers in female-dominated sectors, such as in domestic work and healthcare, in countries of destination is increasing. Migration policies have not adjusted to this trend. “There is no systematic global understanding on how to assess the impact of emigration and immigration policies on men and women. No globally agreed “code of conduct” exists to ensure migration is a safe informed option for earning a living. Little support is available on how to assist families separated by migration.” Caritas members, migration experts and academics will [...]

June 23, 2010


By |23 June 2010|

In April and October at the UN in Geneva, Caritas highlighted that women who migrate and work in people’s homes can be exploited and abused. Caritas made recommendations on how to improve the situation of migrants, based on a study of experiences collected from members and partners. Caritas attended the annual consultations of the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) in Geneva. Caritas contributed to the session on urban refugees, presenting a case study about Colombian refugees in Ecuador. Caritas highlighted the failure by governments and the UN to protect women and girls in conflict situations from rape and other forms of violence and exploitation. Caritas took part in the Civil Society Days at the Global Forum on Migration and Development in Athens in November. Caritas advocated for rights, stability and security for migrants to contribute to their own development. Together with Christian partners, Caritas urged the international community to give migration policies [...]

February 27, 2010

Women’s Day: Protect domestic workers

By |27 February 2010|

The 8th of March marks International Women’s Day which celebrates the achievements of women around the world. But for all the women who achieve success, there are also women who suffer great difficulties in achieving even the basic necessities for a healthy and happy life. In its work, Caritas’ focuses on the effects of migration on women. Migrants represent 2.9 percent of the world’s population and half of these are women. Women who migrate from their country often work in people’s homes in their new country and are vulnerable to abuse. On International Women’s Day Caritas is calling on governments and the international community to protect migrants who work in people’s homes as maids, nannies and carers from exploitation. What the world needs to remember is that these women who care for us in our own homes and who make huge sacrifices to find a job abroad, also need caring for themselves. Learn [...]

September 2, 2009

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    Rape destroying Congo’s communities, says Caritas psychologist

Rape destroying Congo’s communities, says Caritas psychologist

By |2 September 2009|

Some of the rape victims who are brought to Caritas Congo are as old as 70. One of the youngest to require help was just three months old. “Some of the women who come to us are so badly damaged by the rape that they can no longer walk,” says Ange Mbala, a psychologist for Caritas Congo in Goma. Caritas Congo has counsellors who work in communities and are able to identify women and children who have been abused. The stigma attached to a sexual attack means that women may be reluctant to come forward and seek medical help. Type the words “Congo” and “rape” into a internet news search engine, and the number of stories seem endless. This week one report said that a three-year-old girl in eastern Congo died from horrific injuries after being raped by a rebel. Reports describe rape being used “as a weapon of war”. “It’s about destroying [...]

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