States must do more to tackle rights violations against women, trafficking: UN

6 September 2006

Governments must do more to address the human rights violations and lack of opportunities that force women and girls, who make up half the world’s 95 million migrants, to leave their homes, while countries need to work together to make migration safer and in particular stamp out human trafficking, according to new reports issued today by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Governments must do more to address the human rights violations and lack of opportunities that force women and girls, who make up half the world’s 95 million migrants, to leave their homes, while countries need to work together to make migration safer and in particular stamp out human trafficking, according to new reports issued today by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

This year’s State of World Population report, A Passage to Hope: Women and International Migration, was accompanied for the first time by a companion volume entitled Moving Young, which highlights the social, economic and demographic aspects of youth migration, the agency said in a press release.

“There is an urgent need for stronger cooperation between countries to make migration more safe and fair. And there is a dire need for greater action to address the lack of opportunities and human rights violations that lead many women to migrate in the first place,” said Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, UNFPA Executive Director.

“Although awareness and action against trafficking is growing, there is an urgent need to do more to end this terrible crime and the impunity that goes with it. The report calls for greater cooperation between and within countries to bring traffickers to justice and to provide services and human rights protection for trafficking victims.”

Human trafficking is the third largest illicit trade after drugs and gun smuggling, UNFPA said, warning that it remains an ongoing source of “revenue” to be exploited over and over again until those being trafficked are too ill or too worn out to continue. Many die as a result of their servitude—either as a direct result of violence or from contracting the many diseases, including HIV, to which they are susceptible.

Another manifestation of female migration is the massive outflow of nurses from the developing world to industrialized countries such that the yearly exodus of 20,000 highly qualified nurses and doctors from Africa is worsening an already grave situation for a region ravaged by HIV/AIDS, malaria and high numbers of maternal and child deaths.

“Now is the time for vision and leadership on behalf of women migrants,” said Ms. Obaid. “Labour, human rights protections and sound immigration policies can ensure that migration for women is a passage to hope as the title of this year’s State of World Population report suggests.”

The Moving Young report offers a glimpse into the lives of young migrants and the reasons that compel them to leave their homes and countries, through profiles of young men and women from 10 countries whose stories are very similar to those of millions of others who cross borders every day.

Many are searching for jobs and better opportunities, while others are forced to escape conflict or persecution. An increasing number of students are seeking education abroad, while many young people move to be reunited with parents or other relatives who have already settled abroad. Many leave their homes to marry, including young women forced to do so against their will. Many go willingly, lured away by false promises, while others are coerced into sex slavery.

“Young people are characterized by innovation, by creativity, by perseverance and hard work, and by wanting to try something new. If well-guided and directed, that spirit is the kind that will bring well-being to any society,” said Ms. Obaid.

The launch of the two reports comes a week before the UN holds a High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development in New York from 14 to 15 September. That event will be the first of its kind to bring together the world’s governments to discuss the many challenges and benefits of migration.

 

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