International migration has for years been on the international political agenda, where the challenges faced in relation to both national- and transnational migration has been discussed.
The goal of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) is to identify specific policy goals and best practices to which UN Member States can commit in promoting safe and legal alternatives to irregular migration. The GCM emphasizes that the values that lay within migration e.g. a source of prosperity, innovation and sustainable development should be enhanced by better migration governance. Therefore, the GCM aims to serve as common ground for UN member states to understand how to deal with migrants and migration in the best way possible. The GCM is the first, intergovernmental negotiated agreement, prepared under the auspices of the United Nations that supports exactly an optimization of migration governance.
The vast majorities of migrants travel live and work in a safe, orderly and regular manner. Nonetheless, it cannot be denied that there are also migrants who are trapped in slave-like conditions that are hard to escape. Kenya has severally deprived domestic worker agencies of their licenses and thereby prohibited their citizens to work in the Middle East as maids. However, in early 2018, Kenya lifted the most recent ban from 2014 that forbid agencies to send Kenyan nationals to the Middle East for domestic work. In HAART Kenya we work with migrants, whom we have identified as victims of trafficking in persons, and over the years we have learned some valuable lessons. We are currently one of the few organisations in Kenya that works exclusively with human trafficking related issues. In our organisation we prioritize to raise awareness of risks and dangers related to migration in general but especially to the Middle East as our experience with these cases are that migrants are being held captured, work excessive amount of hours and are denied the freedom of movement. This we do mainly through our many workshops and screenings throughout the whole country.
The GCM sets out the common understanding, the shared responsibilities and the unity of purpose regarding migration. The common understanding builds on e.g. shared knowledge and experience and transnational partnerships which is something that HAART Kenya also advocates for.
The shared responsibilities section in the GCM aims to inform about how to “…facilitate safe, orderly and regular migration, while reducing the negative impact of irregular migration through international cooperation”. Furthermore, it addresses the push- and pull factors that can be listed as reasons behind migration. In HAART Kenya we recognize poverty as one of the main reasons for both domestic- and transnational migration in Kenya. In HAART Kenya we recognize the importance of respecting and fulfilling human rights in the work we do with potential- and identified victims of trafficking in persons in Kenya which we ensure by the protective policies we have in place for our employees and anyone who will work with us.
The Unity of Purpose includes guiding principles e.g.: people-centred approach, international cooperation and child-sensitive in the work with migrants. HAART Kenya has already implemented these principles in our work but we always strive to enhance our work for which the GCM is a good tool. The GCM also lists an agreed cooperative framework that presents 23 objectives for safe, orderly and regular migration. These include e.g.:
1. Collect and utilize accurate and disaggregated data as a basis for evidence-based policies
2. Minimize the adverse drivers and structural factors that compel people to leave their country of origin
3. Provide accurate and timely information at all stages of migration
7. Address and reduce vulnerabilities in migration
10. Prevent, combat and eradicate trafficking in persons in the context of international migration
18. Invest in skills development and facilitate mutual recognition of skills, qualifications and competences
21. Cooperate in facilitating safe and dignified return and readmission, as well as sustainable reintegration
23. Strengthen international cooperation and global partnerships for safe, orderly and regular migration
In our organization we enforce objective 1 that talks about evidence-based approaches. For example, through our recent partnership with Liberty Shared, we now have access to an online platform that helps us collect all of the necessary information that contributes to the overall data-hub in this field.
We also aim to enforce objective 18 which is about the investment in skills development. This we do by organizing and facilitating life skills workshops for our girls so they can sustain a livelihood once a successful reintegration has been completed.
Furthermore, in HAART Kenya we truly value the strength of objective 23 which is about national- and international partnerships from which we constantly benefit, and contribute, greatly through knowledge sharing and judiciously resource distribution.
By Rikke Gramkow