No choice but to go?
Human beings have always migrated. Conflict, natural disaster, even politics play a role in forcing people to move, and often they have no choice but to do so.
However, very often migration happens when people go in search of opportunities to live better lives. These are opportunities they feel do not exist where they currently live. Individuals, and sometimes entire families migrate, and often this can be an unsafe migration. Sometimes migration is used for the gain of traffickers, and where children and youth are involved exploitation and abuses can occur.
In our work we see many examples of unsafe migration practices. For example families who cross illegally from Cambodia into Thailand to beg on the lucrative streets of Bangkok. Very often they are arrested and placed into shelters before being sent home. This is not a good situation for these families. We collaborate very closely with local authorities to enable us to do direct work with them in the shelters before they return home. From that work we hope to ensure they do not choose to undertake unsafe migration again.
We’ve developed a range of tools and approaches to use with communities and those individuals who are thinking of migrating. Using these we hope to prevent unsafe migration, through raising awareness among communities of the multiple risks they can face. We talk with them about the necessity of migration – are there local solutions for those facing economic hardship, for instance? Is there access to vocational training or local employment opportunities, for example? Are people aware of the range of services and support available to them in their home area?
Support From Friends
Recently a team of our #everydayheroes from the Kaliyan Mith Aran project visited a community near Poipet city, in Banteay Meanchey province. On the border between Cambodia and Thailand, the city is one of many places where high levels of migration between these two countries occur. The team went to conduct an awareness and information session on safe migration to the local community. Many in communities like these don’t fully understand the risks posed by illegal migration. Traditional broker-assisted migration happens in these areas too. Traditional practices can unfortunately also lead to exploitation and abuses, including children or youth being sold into marriage, or offers of work which turn out to be modern forms of slavery in practice!
With communities like this we seek to reassure them and spend time with them. We give them solid information and resources to help them make good decisions when it comes to considering migration. Very importantly, we listen to their migration experiences as this can help to inform the resources and strategies we are continually evolving to ensure that as long as migration continues to take place, it does so safely!