November 07, 2011

Who else is in the boat, or in the lorry? Mixed Flows: Trafficking and Forced Migration

“Mixed flows, or ‘mixed migratory movements’ occur when refugees are included in migratory movements. They use the same routes and means of transport. They employ the services of the same smugglers and they purchase fraudulent documents from the same suppliers. They move along the same routes through the same transit countries and often in the hope of reaching the same countries of destination. In many cases these refugees are joined by other people on the move with specific protection and assistance needs and rights, including victims of trafficking as well as unaccompanied minors and separated children. There is broad consensus that such movements are likely to increase in the years to come.” International Organization for Migration (IOM), 2010

Never before have there been as many international migrants and never before have the patterns of migration been as complex and intertwined. People on the move, be they trafficked people, asylum seekers, urban refugees, survival migrants or those displaced by disasters, are overwhelming existing protection and assistance mechanisms.

It is no longer possible to focus exclusively on particular groups of migrants because to do so is to risk missing a deeper understanding of the causes and consequences facing migrants today. Catholic Church teachings on the pastoral care of migrants have been refreshingly inclusive of people caught up in human mobility and instructive of how to respond to the needs of new categories of forced migrants that are emerging as a response to the challenges of our time.

Messages to Maryanne Loughry rsm
Research Professor
Centre for Human Rights and International Justice and the Graduate School of Social Work,
Boston College, Massachusetts
Associate Director of the Jesuit Refugee Service-Australia

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