Walking the Talk: Putting Alternatives into Practice and Policy

Saturday, the last day of WIDE annual conference, was dedicated to discussions on topics such as women human rights or migration and equality.

The first speaker was Patel Pragna, representing Southall Black Sisters ONG. Mrs. Patel talked about the situation of migrant woman in the United Kingdom. She mentioned the unhappy situation of migrant women who leave their country in order to find a better life in England, but unfortunately the British laws represent their misfortune. Once on British ground in maximum two years they are supposed to be married in order not to be deported and so they become victims of abuse. In one form or another they become the plunder of abused marriages. Most of the times they are imprisoned in their husbands homes or even in one room beaten or malnourished.

The law may help them or so it is said, only if they are able to provide proves of their abuse, but in order to be declared victims of an abuse the quantity of proof must be extremely consistent and the process is so long that most of the victims give up.

The Southall Black Sisters ONG, tried to solve the issues of gender equality, based on the fact that if Britain put a great deal of effort in order to eradicate violence against British women why shouldn’t they do the same font migrant women from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Middle East, Africa, etc.

It was also discussed that there is a continuous circle as the state says that this problem should be solved by the migration control, while the migration control blames the government.

In the end of her presentation, Mrs Pragna underlined that her organization (ever since the 1990s) has been campaigning in order for migrant women to feel able to leave a violent marriage without being afraid of deportation.

The second speaker was Adila Mammadova Aydin, lawyer for the Migration Centre, Azerbaijan, working on strategies to protect women that are victim of trafficking. She talked about the Chinese refugees that come to Azerbaijan, how they work in massage saloons and how they are forced to practice prostitution, and how in case of any disease the Migration Center has to find  all the men that came into contact with these women.

 She also asserted that the reason for this type of trafficking is the fact that these women have no access to information regarding the place they are going to work to when they leave their countries. Doe to this, the Azeri Migration Center has founded a call center where by calling 152 they can get whatever information they need.

The third presentation was that of Banica Cerasela, from the Advocacy and Human Right Centre, Romania, on the situation of Roma women linked to migration. She started this topic from a little story about the migration of Roma people from India 1000 years ago. She also mentioned that ever since Roma people have confronted themselves with discrimination. Most of them don’t have identity cards even now in the 21st century. Along with this, in case of education, if any, most of them barely finish the 4th grade, due to poverty or lack of resources to maintain all the kids in school. Due to a perpetual search for a better life Roma women are easy victims for human trafficking, and so the one that may sense her into this business is a member of the family: a brother, a cousin, an uncle, etc.

 In order to escape this „slavery” regime, the Roma woman has to declare the abuse to the police, but as it is a hidden activity, and as no one talks about it, these women are trapped within a vicious circle; the police doesn’t believe them as most of the times it works hand in hand with the „provider”. The only help these women have is to get legal aid, but as we all know legal aid without being well financed does not bring the needed help. The legal aid is not the proper one, the process is so long, the proof must be consistent so the majority of Roma women give up and accept their faith.

 Bringing this problem in the limelight of publicity, it will just bring more stigmatization instead of solving it, the so called positive discrimination we all know about it. What she stressed out is that if a problem is not talked about it does not mean is inexistent.

 At the end of the discussion she underlined that trafficking is not specific for Roma women, it is specific for everybody as any woman can be easily trapped, and the only ones that may help them are NGOs, that fight in order to pressure the government into making some changes.

Sinziana Ghise & Ana Maria Oteanu, participants at Panel 3 in the third day of the conference

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