The work of Caritas on migration
Prior to departure
To ensure that migration is an informed option, Caritas provides pre-departure counselling.
Experts give guidance on risks, on what to expect and on how to make the experience safer.
Caritas Sri Lanka has awareness-raising programmes that warn potential female migrants
of the difficulties of going to places like the Middle East. Sometimes employers confiscate
passports, thus trapping vulnerable migrants in abusive situations. Caritas gives
commonsense advice, such as telling migrants to give a copy of their passports to their
Support along the journey
The journey to other countries can take migrants across deserts and seas. It can leave them
open to hunger, ill health and desperation. Caritas welcomes strangers and offers them food
and shelter, whatever their legal status. In the desert of Mali, the Caritas Gao Migrant House
provides a resting place during their departure and return trips. It gives them food, medical
and psychological support.
Without a family, support network or local knowledge, migrants often need an enormous
amount of help in their host country. Caritas gives language and vocational training to help
migrants settle in. Caritas offers social and legal support to those seeking refuge.
Many women have faced violence and torture before or during the journey. Specialised
services are offered by some Caritas members to help migrants deal with trauma they may
have faced in their host country, or with the difficulties of returning home.
Caritas helps migrants identify job and training opportunities both in their new country and
also if they return home. In Senegal, Caritas helps people start up small businesses. This gives
them an income and provides them with a reason not to migrate.
Children who migrate alone are particularly vulnerable. Caritas reports abuses and ensures
that children’s best interests are taken into account. Caritas Switzerland actively campaigns
against the genital mutilation of women and young girls.
Trafficking in human beings
Caritas supports COATNET (Network of Christian Organisations against Trafficking in Human
Beings). This offers advocacy and a network of service providers who give advice on
preventative measures, assistance and help on returning home.
European Reintegration Support Organisations (ERSO) provide voluntary returnees with predeparture
counselling, information about reintegration when they decide to return and
assistance once they arrive back home. Six of the ERSOs are Caritas members.
Advocacy and capacity building
Caritas advocates for changes for migrants at local, national and international level. In 2010,
Caritas launched the “Under one roof, under one law” campaign to highlight the need for
greater protection for migrant domestic workers. And Caritas Lebanon helped a domestic
worker achieve an unprecedented legal victory when she received compensation for being