March 8, 2012

Domestic worker abuse: Battered, bruised but back in Nepal

By |8 March 2012|

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 […]

Female face of migration

By |7 March 2012|

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.

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.

February 27, 2012

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.

September 15, 2011

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 [...]

August 3, 2011

Migrants as economic actors

By |3 August 2011|

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 [...]

July 11, 2011

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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 [...]

April 8, 2011

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    Migrants blocked in camps at Libyan borders eager to go home

Migrants blocked in camps at Libyan borders eager to go home

By |8 April 2011|

Many migrant workers from Bangladesh had been living in Libya for a long time, often for several years. Most of them were employed in the construction sector, in the capital Tripoli but also in Brak, Misurata or Nalut.

March 23, 2011

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    The story of Samer and Maryam, Palestinian migrants fleeing from Libya

The story of Samer and Maryam, Palestinian migrants fleeing from Libya

By |23 March 2011|

Two weeks ago, Samer started his journey back home. From Bengazi in Libya, he left for Egypt. Walking is difficult for the old man, but he wanted to leave Libya while it was still possible, before the city would be surrounded by the government’s troops.

Massive departures at the Salloum border camp

By |23 March 2011|

Yesterday, a lot of people had to pack their stuff at the Salloum border camp. Salloum looked like a crowded, badly-organised coach station. Dozens of buses were obstructing the access to the camp. There has been a lot of movement here in the last days. A lot of people could finally leave.

September 8, 2010

Independence day in Brazil

By |8 September 2010|

By Angela Page Brazil marked Independence day on 7 September. It was a public holiday, a day for celebration. But for many Brazilians it seems that little has changed since colonial times. Some landowners still own farms the size of a small country and continue to wield great power. “With such huge estates it is difficult to monitor what goes on there”, says Jose Francisco of Caritas Brazil. That’s why he’s spent this week campaigning for a Limit to Land Ownership. It is estimated that there are 25,000 people living in slave-like conditions on large farms in Brazil. Facts about land justice in Brazil “Such huge areas of land are difficult to monitor – people can go on the land and do what they like there” says Jose.“Limiting land ownership will also help prevent the loggers and people burning down trees indiscriminately.” Throughout Brazil urns have been filling up with hundreds of signatures a day. More than [...]

August 29, 2010

Pan Asia campaign against trafficking

By |29 August 2010|

Alice was 25 when she left her job in Manila, the Philippines. She is a qualified civil engineer, yet her salary was not enough to pay for her four brothers and sisters to go through school. When she saw an advertisement offering well-paid posts as civil engineers in Kuwait, she contacted the recruitment agency immediately. She had to pay half the agency's fees up front, agreeing to repay the rest on taking up her position. But when she arrived in Kuwait she was told to sign a contract to work as a domestic servant. The agency refused to allow her to return to the Philippines, insisting that she take up the post and pay them the money she owed. For two and a half years she worked as a domestic servant for a family. She never had a day off, and regularly worked 20 hour days. “Child trafficking and sexual exploitation [...]

Lebanon Migration Center

By |29 August 2010|

Starting with a small team of three people in 1994, the Caritas Migration Centre today helps thousands of foreigners living in Lebanon. In spite of political and economic difficulties, Lebanon hosts many refugees in need of protection and better living conditions. Palestinians, Sudanese, and tens of thousands of Iraqis are now in the country.. Caritas Lebanon provides help, legal council and assistance, medical aid, and support with the education of children. The outburst of violence in Iraq in 2003 initiated a surge of refugees into the country, so that Caritas Lebanon quickly had to develop its capabilities and today there are six centres dedicated to help the Iraqis. The Centre is also very active in the protection and the defence of the rights of women who have come to Lebanon as domestic workers. Originating in Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Ethiopia, they are sometimes the victims of ill treatment. Caritas helps the victims and also [...]
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    Caritas urges European Union not to turn migrants into criminals

Caritas urges European Union not to turn migrants into criminals

By |29 August 2010|

Caritas is calling on European governments to stop the criminalization of migrants as outlined in new EU legislation. Caritas organisations in Latin America and the Caribbean have urged Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and European Union states to review their harmful common migration policies. Caritas and church organisation in Europe backed the call, saying the EU must respect human rights. A European Parliament directive on 18 June threatens to turn migrants into criminals and allows for their expulsion. Caritas Latin America and Caribbean President, Bishop Fernando Bargalló says that this policy is opposite to a safe, humane and coherent migratory system that has at its heart the fundamental rights of the human person. Bishop Fernando Bargalló said “Caritas is urging the European Parliament to reconsider legislation which criminalises honest migrants who are trying to bring their families out of poverty. “The European Union has benefited for years from the efforts of hard working migrants [...]