Migration Forum 2001:
Trafficking and smuggling in human being: causes and consequences
The Second Caritas Europa Migration Forum took place in Prague on 8-10 November 2001. Ninety-eight participants from 34 countries gathered to exchange information and experiences from their activities in assisting victims of trafficking and smuggling, and to discuss short-term and long-term strategies to combat these horrific situations. The participants, which included persons in charge of migration at Europe Caritas organisations, representatives of Caritas Internationalis, of Caritas of Africa, of the Middle East, and of the US, Council of Europe representatives, the OSCE and other decision making experts, and Christian and other organisations, shared background information and analysis. The Forum drafted the following recommendations addressed to Caritas organisations in Europe and worldwide.
Based on the clear distinction between trafficking and smuggling, Caritas Europa Migration Commission is asked to promote and coordinate Caritas activities on 3 levels: direct assistance to trafficked women- including raising awareness of the situation and providing services to these women; advocacy on the trafficking of women- making problems visible and influencing decision-making processes; and capacity building and networking- increasing cooperation among agencies and specialised services.
There needs to be continued discussions on regional protection, resettlement programs, new migration channels, an "asylum visa," legal assistance at airports, continuation of advocacy to influence EU legislation, and improving the immigration system as a whole, so that legal ways of immigration might be one measure in a set to combat trafficking and smuggling. Caritas migration partnerships need to be reformed and clearly explicated.
The question of integration of immigrants and those immigrants in irregular situations is one of the greatest challenges facing national and European societies. A cultural change is necessary to understand the migratory dynamics, to accept that migrants in our society are part of a communal future, to exercise political measures that prevent illegal and abusive practices such as trafficking and exploitation, and to guarantee the upholding of democracy and human rights. The integration of refugees in Europe occurs in three categories; legal conditions, social conditions, and practical conditions. Caritas has an important role to play regarding all three aspects of integration.