Migration is one of the defining global issues of the early twenty-first century, with more and more people on the move today than at any other point in human history.
Asia is the largest source of temporary contractual migrant workers in the world, with China and the Philippines among the top 10 suppliers and Indonesia and Vietnam in the top 25. Forty percent of the world’s domestic workers are from Asia.
Migrant workers (both foreign and internal), foreign brides, undocumented migrants, including victims of trafficking and smuggling; and people in immigration detention centres are among the most vulnerable people in the world, and in need of support and assistance. Of these, migrants from rural areas, those who work alone in isolated settings such as domestic workers, and those who do not work within a legitimate corporate structure, such as undocumented persons, are at greater risk.
Jesuits and collaborators, including the Jesuit Refugee Service, serve vulnerable migrants at the local level by providing casework, medical and legal help, social and learning activities, accompaniment, chaplaincy work and pastoral care. We also foster capacity building among non-government organisations working in aid of migrants within this part of the world.
The focus at the Jesuit Conference level is on improving and strengthening collaboration and coordination between the countries from which the migrants come and those to which they go (sending and receiving countries), and on developing ways to communicate more effectively and advocate for changes in policies and practices affecting vulnerable migrants.
In the Jesuit Conference, the main centres working with migrants are Sahabat Insan in Indonesia, Tokyo Migrants’ Desk in Japan, Yiutsari in South Korea, UGAT Foundation in the Philippines and Rerum Novarum Center in Taiwan.