On 5 – 8 December 2014, the Mekong Migration Network (MMN) attended the 6th World Social Forum on Migration (WSFM) in Johannesburg, South Africa. The theme of the 6th WSFM was “Migration in the Heart of our Humanity: Rethinking Mobility, Development and Globalization”.
The MMN delegation included network members from Cambodia and Burma. At the forum, MMN organised a workshop under the pillar “Migration, Globalisation and Crises: Trends and Alternatives”.
Migrant Workers at Sea, 7 December 2014
The MMN workshop was entitled “Migrant Workers at Sea” and held at OLD FORT room, Constitution Hill on 7 December 2014. The aim of this workshop was to discuss the vulnerabilities of migrant workers aboard fishing vessels and to explore the trans-global responses needed to tackle the abuse, exploitation and trafficking that plagues the industry.
Ms Omsin Boonlert, MMN Secretariat, provided an overview of migrant workers in the Mekong sub-region context. Ms Vichuta Ly, from network member Legal Support for Children and Women (LSCW), discussed the issues faced by migrant fishermen from Cambodia, and Mr Htoo Chit, from network member Foundation for Education and Development (FED), highlighted the experiences of Burmese migrant fishermen in Thailand.
During the Q&A section, the participants shared experiences of migrant fishermen from both the Asian and African region and then discussed the country of origin response when migrant fishermen face exploitation. In addition, participants expressed their concerns about human trafficking issues, noting the similarity in the experiences of migrant fishermen in the Mekong region and in African countries.
The participants suggested that improving mutual cooperation between both countries of origin and destination countries to protect migrant workers from exploitation in this industry was needed. The contribution of migrant workers to the economies of both their country of origin and destination country should also be highlighted, which will raise awareness of migrant rights at the community level.
During the WSFM 2014, the MMN delegates also attended several workshops including workshops on gender based violence amongst migrants, human trafficking, children on the move, strategies on building alliances between civil society and local authorities, and the impacts of migration policy on country of origin and transit. Throughout the meeting, the MMN delegates were not only sharing experiences of migrants from the Mekong sub-region, but also connecting MMN with migrant/refugee rights advocates from around the world.
The WSFM Declaration can be found here: