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Economies, societies are strengthened by migrants’ rich contributions world over- IOM Chief António Vitorino

International Organisation of Migration (

 

Economies and societies are strengthened by the rich contributions of migrants the world over, the Director General of International Organisation for Migration (IOM)  António Vitorino, has said.

“Where given the opportunity, migrants are already playing an essential role in scientific research, healthcare, and in supporting essential industries such as food production, transportation and the production of personal protective equipment (PPE). Migrants’ contribution will be essential as we recover from the impacts of the pandemic,” he added.

According to him: “Few crises in our collective memory have had the global reach of COVID-19. Across our societies, communities have responded to this pandemic with strong cooperation and solidarity. Some, however, have found in it a pretext to scapegoat foreign nationals including migrants, and others living on the fringes of society, blaming them for the virus’ spread.

“Racist and xenophobic incidents linked to the outbreak have been widespread. They include verbal and physical assaults, social exclusion, denial of access to goods and services, boycotting of businesses, discriminatory movement restrictions and quarantine policies, as well as xenophobic rhetoric from politicians, other public figures and the media, in what the UN Secretary General has described as a “tsunami of hate and xenophobia.”

As strict lockdown measures ease, he added: “We are concerned that incidents of xenophobia will further increase, exacerbated by social tensions created by the projected economic downturn. As countries around the world take the first steps towards re-opening their societies and returning their populations to streets, schools, shops, and workplaces, it is all the more important that the fight against xenophobia continue and that it is integrated into economic and social recovery efforts.

READ  Ailing migrant dies as IOM supports 13 stranded travellers along Cote d’Ivoire –Ghana border

“Fear and uncertainty in the midst of a pandemic is understandable, but this fear should not justify xenophobia and racism. Discriminatory attitudes and hate crimes grounded in fear compromise the rights of those targeted, affect the safety of all and undermine the complex recovery process. It is essential that accurate information about how the disease is spread is provided to the public. Continued misinformation regarding the role of “foreigners” or “outsiders” in spreading the virus wreaks havoc, endangers lives and prevents people from making sound choices to protect themselves, their families and the wider community.

“The right to health is universal. Everyone should be entitled to seek and receive medical care if they suspect they have been exposed to the virus, and share information to prevent its spread. Migrants and their communities should not have to fear discrimination, reprisals or other adverse consequences for doing so. Many States recognize this and have granted migrants free access to COVID-19 testing and treatment regardless of their legal status, ensuring that those in an irregular situation are not reported to immigration authorities.”

READ  Without safe migration, economic recovery will be limited

Economies and societies, the IOM  said are strengthened by the rich contributions of migrants the world over. “Where given the opportunity, migrants are already playing an essential role in scientific research, healthcare, and in supporting essential industries such as food production, transportation and the production of personal protective equipment (PPE). Migrants’ contribution will be essential as we recover from the impacts of the pandemic. To ensure migrants won’t be threatened by xenophobia and discrimination, IOM calls for:

  • Public communications based on facts and scientific data so as not to contribute to xenophobia or racial discrimination. Political leaders, the media, community and religious leaders, and civil society groups all have roles to play in this regard. Individuals can only make sound choices if they have accurate information about how the disease is spread.
  • Awareness-raising campaigns and policies that foster social cohesion. Everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect. Non-nationals who are under a State’s jurisdiction, including those stranded due to border closures, are entitled to see their rights respected and be allowed access to necessary services without fear of reprisal.
  • Measures to prevent and address discrimination and stigmatization in States’ COVID-19 response plans, must include efforts to prevent violence and hate crimes against migrants and other groups based on nationality or ethnicity. Those responsible for such crimes must be held accountable.
  • Policies regarding the entry and stay of foreign nationals meet international obligations and are not based on intolerance and fear.
READ  Remittances and Beyond: COVID-19 impacts all forms of migrants economic contributions

Concluding, the  UN organization said: “Now more than ever, the safety of our society as a whole depends on the effective protection of the most vulnerable. Xenophobia and discrimination undermine our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. IOM together with our diaspora partners have issued a Joint Statement reaffirming  solidarity in the face of xenophobia due to the COVID-19. As countries move toward the second stage, third stage, and beyond in their COVID-19 response plans, respect for the rights of all, including migrants, will maximize our success in curbing the pandemic and promoting an effective and inclusive recovery.”

 

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Human trafficking: PJI  urges proper trauma management for returnees

The Pathfinder Justice Initiative (PJI), a Non-Governmental Organisation, has called for proper trauma care for migrant returnees to prevent them from becoming vulnerable to subsequent trafficking.

Evon Benson-Idahosa, the Executive Director, PJI, made the call at a Rehabilitation Workshop for Providers Serving Survivors of Human Trafficking held in Benin on Thursday.

The workshop was organised by PJI and funded by INSighT- Building Capacity to deal with human trafficking and transit routes to Nigeria, Italy and Sweden.

Benson-Idahosa said that a majority of returnee-migrants usually undergo different traumatic situations and needed to be properly rehabilitated before being integrated back into the society. She noted that if the migrant returnees were not properly rehabilitated, they would not be able to put into good use any form of skills acquisition or empowerment received.

“Providers serving survivors should know how to handle traumatised victims because many of them, especially females, have been raped and have gone through horrible experiences during their trafficking journey.

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“The providers should know that there are best practices in terms of handling trafficked victims; they need to use a survivor centred approach to prioritise the needs of the victims,” she said.

She called on the government at all levels to partner more with NGOs on providing best traumatic care for returned migrants in the country.

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How Nigerian-American police officer burst human trafficking syndicate in US

A retried Nigerian American Police officer, Samuel Balogun  narrated how he  burst a human trafficking syndicate that specialized in using minors for prostitution.

“My biggest accomplishment was bursting a human trafficking crime,” Balogun said.

Giving details of how he executed the task,  the dark skinned retired police officer said: “ There was a guy that was using minors for prostitution on the internet.  I have an accent and when I speak people know I am an African. So, I had to go undercover and had to call the guy on the internet.  I said ‘ hey! what is going on, I am in town. I am a truck driver and I want some girls.’ I asked  how old? He said the younger they are, the more money. I said about 15 to 16 years. He said ok.  I asked  how many he could bring and he replied two. He said which hotel was I and I gave the name to him. He told me to hang up and  he called back  the hotel. He subsequently called me and asked if I was there and I said yes. He said he would be there in 20 minutes.

“We were waiting for him to come but he was smart too. He dropped the girls down the street and made them walk to the room. The girls asked how much I was ready to pay and wanted to take off their clothes but I said not yet.  In the next room were officers listening to our conversation. When I make a signal, that means it is time for them to come in. but before you make the signal, you have to make sure they have mentioned the price, they have given the reason why they were there, so it doesn’t look like you are entrapping them.  When I made the signal, the officers burst in and arrested everybody including me.

Thereafter, Balogun said  the police  processed the girls and after that, “they said look, you are minors and we know somebody is pushing you to do this. Now we don’t want to arrest you but tell us how to get to the boss.  The girls cooperated and  made as if they were leaving. When the man pulled up to pick them up, and that was how we arrested  him. That stopped a lot of those crimes.”

READ  Nigerian girl held captive in Lebanon cries for help

Balogun said he was in Nigeria to bring his wealth of experience to bear on the disturbing security situation in the country. “ I am trying to bring back  my experience as a  police officer in the states to Nigeria. When you look at the #endsars period, the performance of the police was something that hurt my feelings. How can we make it better? How can we make the police job something that people will look with respect  and want to join?”

He hinted that his  security firm is involved in training not only police officers but “ I also train private security companies. I am in touch with a lot of private security companies in Nigeria.  There is another concept which Nigeria is embracing right now.

“It is called community policing. In the states it is called neighbourhood policing or community policing. It works in a way that in every street, there would be a police officer that lives in that neighbourhood.   You get to know the people and the people know you. In some apartments, they will give you a discount just for the police officer to be there because they know once a police officer is living there, the police car is outside and the crime level will reduce. People are more likely to talk to that officer because they know him. They are more able to tell him’ hey we know who committed that crime.’  For every crime, you need people to tell you what happened. You can have all the gadgets but if people are not talking, you can’t solve the crime.”

READ  Nigeria evacuates 160 stranded citizens from US

 

He further said: “I am training police officers, security companies and executive protection. What my security company is doing is to free the police officers from attachment to chiefs, politicians and all that.  We train civilians to represent those officers so that they can go back to the street and do their normal jobs.  We have what we call executive protection/training. We have people that follow the president.  We can train you on how to be efficient and sometimes using less force, description tactics.”

Further expatiating on what his security firm does, the soft spoken officer said: “What my company is trying to do is to bring people to the table.  We are trying to train companies that there is a better way of security where we can teach you how to defend yourself, how to prepare for any emergency, and how to use less force. I have a guy, a navy seal that worked for the United States of America. You will be amazed about what he can do. He can disarm you in a minute even when you come with AK 47.    I am also bringing Hostage Negotiation, people that can talk to you when ransom has to be paid. In the US, we call it Hostage Negotiation.  They can talk to these people, and know their psyche. It is a full package. When you come  to my firm, you can see the whole spectrum  and choose.”

As a vastly travelled person, Blagun said: “I travel a lot and in all the African nations is where you see officers with AK 47. They said it is more intimidating. Criminals use AK 47 in America too but we still don’t carry it.  Is that the right weapon for the police officers, I leave that question open. “

READ  JIFORM seeks urgent help for 30 Nigerian ladies trafficked to Lebanon

On the attitude of the Nigerian authorities his plans, he said: “I have talked to a lot of people in higher positions. In some places I don’t want to mention, I have got good responses.  My firm has done some things with certain private firms and the police. I have dealt with some highly placed security firms. So, this is not my first time here.  We are   looking at having training in Sheraton around July/August this year. It is going to be a big one. I am bringing a retired FBI agent, a navy seal, a retired marine , myself and may be two other officers.

“This is my country, I am proud of it. I am sad sometimes when you look at the security aspect of it.  With my experience, I am trying to make it a better place.  It has always been my passion to come back home. I am retired and don’t really need to work again. My benefits are okay untill I die.  But why die with all this experience when I can pass it to the next person.”

 

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Hundreds of thousands of people leave Britain due to pandemic

 

Hundreds of thousands of people have left Britain as a fallout  of the pandemic on the economy, according to a study released yesterday.

There is an “unprecedented exodus” of workers born outside Britain, researchers at London’s Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence said.

“It seems that much of the burden of job losses during the pandemic has fallen on non-UK workers and has manifested itself in return migration, rather than unemployment,” said the authors.

The study is based on labour market data.

The trend was particularly notable in London, where one in five residents was born abroad.

The capital’s population has fallen by 700,000, the study said, adding that nationwide, the figure could be more than 1.3 million.

If these numbers are accurate, this is the largest decline in Britain’s population since World War II, according to the study.

No evidence suggests that similar numbers of British people who live abroad are returning to Britain.

However, this could be a temporary trend, the researchers said, noting that workers from abroad might return after the pandemic.

The British economy depends on workers from abroad and it is not only threatened by migration due to the pandemic.

Many industries fear the loss of skilled workers due to Britain’s departure from the European Union and stricter migration laws.

A further trend in 2021 is also causing concern, described as a “baby bust” by consultancy PwC, which said many couples were postponing having children due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

This could lead to the lowest birth rate since 1900, PwC said in early January.

READ  Ailing migrant dies as IOM supports 13 stranded travellers along Cote d’Ivoire –Ghana border

Support Voice for African Migrants


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Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best and latest migration, trafficking, displacement and humanitarian reports including thorough investigative reports in these areas, we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

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