News: Migrant Workers and Trafficking

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Subject: News: Migrant Workers and Trafficking
From: Gillian Caldwell (caldwellg@LCHR.ORG)
Date: Tue Mar 07 2000 - 10:07:59 EST


Gillian Caldwell
Director, WITNESS
c/o Lawyers Committee for Human Rights
333 Seventh Avenue, 13th Floor
NY NY 10001-5004
212-845-5252 tel
212-845-5299 fax
caldwellg@lchr.org
http://www.witness.org

> Migrant Workers Make More Passages of Hope
> By Kirstin Downey Grimsley
> Washington Post Staff Writer
> Tuesday, March 7, 2000; Page E01
> As multinational companies continue moving their operations across borders
> in search of cheaper labor, record numbers of workers are moving in the
> opposite direction in search of better pay and higher standards of living,
> a new report on global migration patterns has found.
> A review of recent census reports from 152 countries determined there are
> about 120 million migrants in the world now, including some refugees
> fleeing war or famine who don't return to their homelands. That number is
> up from 75 million in 1965 and is expected to grow, the report said.
> The swell of migration is creating a new $6 billion-a-year industry--human
> trafficking--as workers from poor countries pay brokers for false
> documents or to smuggle them into more desirable countries.
> "Workers Without Frontiers: The Impact of Globalization on International
> Migration" was issued last week by the International Labor Organization, a
> United Nations agency based in Geneva. The biggest motivator for
> immigrants is a better economic life, author Peter Stalker found.
> "In a world of winners and losers, the losers do not simply disappear,
> they seek somewhere else to go," the British economic researcher wrote.
> Some foreign workers are needed because of tight labor markets in some
> countries, including the United States--which admits more immigrants than
> anyone else. In Europe and Japan, where birthrates are shrinking and the
> population is aging, tight immigration controls may eventually be loosened
> because immigrants will be needed as manual laborers, health-care aides
> and other jobs viewed as undesirable by local residents.
> But the increase in immigration has stirred debate in many countries and
> sparked social and political unrest in others, including recent incidents
> in Spain that involved violent attacks on immigrants. Immigration is
> "controversial and complex everywhere," Stalker said in an interview.
> Wide pay disparities among nations are giving workers an incentive to
> move, Stalker found. One 1996 study, for example, found that workers who
> earned $31 a week in Mexico earned $278 a week after they illegally
> immigrated to the United States. Indonesians who earned 28 cents per day
> in 1997 could earn $2 or more per day in neighboring Malaysia.
> Manufacturing workers who earned 25 cents an hour in India in 1995 could
> earn 46 cents an hour in Thailand or $14.40 in Australia, the report
> found.
> "We're shaking people loose from their environments," Stalker said. "It
> won't make them all migrate, but at least it's making them ask the
> question, 'Now we're on our own, what should we do?' "
> One thing some are doing is paying to sneak into richer countries. It
> costs about $500, for example, to arrange illegal boat passage from
> Morocco to Spain, according to the report, while passage from Eastern
> Europe to Western Europe can cost $1,000 to $5,000.
> A sophisticated travel "package" that would include transportation and
> forged documents from China to the United States can cost $30,000. Others
> risk their lives to make the trip. Some drown in the Mediterranean Sea
> trying to get to Europe, or off the coast of the United States trying to
> reach Florida.
> Bangkok has become an international center for false-document production,
> according to the report. Passports, mainly Korean and Japanese, are
> doctored using sophisticated technology, and they cost about $2,000 each.
> Labor brokers also do a big business. The airport check-in lines at Dhaka,
> Bangladesh, are thronged by rows of workers wearing uniforms provided by
> brokers, preparing to fly to Malaysia and the Persian Gulf. The brokers
> charge the workers a fee for this service.
> In the Philippines, workers reportedly paid up to $4,600 to a broker for a
> job in Japan or $3,800 for Taiwan, though legally the limit is about $200.
> A Ukrainian worker who found a job in the Czech Republic reported he was
> required to pay half of his $2.50-an-hour salary to his labor broker.
> In some countries, migrants replace workers who have migrated elsewhere.
> In northern Thailand in 1996, for example, thousands of Burmese
> construction workers helped build a stadium to house the Asian Games,
> while Thai construction workers departed their homes in search of
> better-paying positions building expressways in Taiwan.
> Between 3 million and 8 million people from Mozambique, Zimbabwe and
> Lesotho have moved to South Africa in search of work, the report said.
> Argentina has an estimated 200,000 undocumented workers from Peru, Bolivia
> and Paraguay.
> Stalker said that increased worker migration is likely to continue for
> some time because it will take years before economic equilibrium is
> reached. Even when economically developing countries begin to prosper,
> Stalker said, their citizens continue to try to emigrate until they
> develop a sense of financial security in their home country. That's the
> reason that many South Koreans continued to seek to move abroad even as
> their economy grew stronger, he said.
> Labor costs for manufacturing -- where many immigrants are employed -- are
> highest in European countries and lowest in Asia. China's costs have
> remained flat for many years.
> Costs per hour
> 1980/1995 (latest available)
> Germany $12.33/$31.88
> Switzerland $11.09/$29.28
> Norway $11.59/$24.38
> Japan $5.52/$23.66
> Sweden $12.51/$21.36
> France $8.94/$19.34
> U.S. $9.87/$17.20
> Canada $8.67/$16.03
> Singapore $1.49/$7.28
> Hong Kong $1.51/$4.82
> Philippines $0.53/$0.71
> India $0.44/$0.25
> China $0.25/$0.25
> SOURCES: Morgan Stanley, International Labor Organization
> Migrant Workers' Impact
> Percent of nations' labor force that is foreign:
> Australia 25.0%
> Canada 18.5%
> Austria 10.0%
> U.S. 9.4%
> Germany 9.1%
> France 6.2%
> Britain 3.4%
> Italy 3.4%
> NOTE: Figures are for 1998
> Sources of immigration to U.S.:
> Legal
> Mexico 18.4%
> Philippines 6.2
> China 5.2
> Vietnam 4.8
> India 4.8
> Cuba 4.2
> Dominican Republic 3.4
> El Salvador 2.3
> Undocumented
> Mexico 54.0%
> El Salvador 5.6
> Guatemala 3.3
> Canada 2.4
> Haiti 2.1
> Philippines 1.9
> Honduras 1.8
> Poland 1.4
> NOTE: Figures are for 1997 for legal; 1996 for undocumented
> SOURCES: U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, International Labor
> Organization
> 2000 The Washington Post Company
>
>
>
>


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