International labour migration is a phenomenon that has steadily been increasing over the last few decades. Intensified by globalization more and more people, especially from developing countries, are forced to look outside their countries of origin to search for employment and better opportunities. Migration has become a major means to alleviate poverty and improve one’s living conditions.
The United Nations International Migration Division, quoting statistics released by the Population Division of the United Nations  estimates that there are more than 191 million foreign migrants globally, as against an estimate of 150 million in 2000. Of this 30-40 million are undocumented migrants while 48% of these migrants are women. The actual numbers are however difficult to estimate owing to increasing numbers of undocumented migrants.
While data on HIV infection among migrant workers remain scanty in most countries of origin, several countries have already begun recording actual cases of HIV+ migrant workers. There is inherent bias in these data as they are often a result or function of mandatory HIV testing done to migrants both by the origin and destination countries. In the Philippines, migrant workers comprise 32 percent of the total documented HIV cases. Bangladesh also reports a high incidence of HIV among returning migrant workers with 50 percent comprising the total 219 confirmed cases in 2003. In Pakistan, 80 percent of the known HIV cases were deportees from the Arab States.
The growing complexity of mobile populations and its interface with HIV and AIDS; clearly show that migration and HIV/AIDS no longer exist in simplistic and uni-directional patterns. Migrants and mobile populations experience changes in their sexuality throughout the migration cycle. Such changes are played out in their beliefs, attitudes and behaviours and these are often mediated by various factors such as their socio-economic conditions, political status and cultural backgrounds. There are situations in the migration process that facilitate or hinder them to make decisions about their sexuality and these may also be the same factors that make them vulnerable to HIV. Migration per se is not a risk factor for HIV infection, however, the conditions in which some migrants find themselves, separated from families, communities and social support systems, make them more vulnerable to exploitation, or on the other hand, influence them to engage in more risky behavior that can result in HIV infection.
Migrant workers’ entry into destination countries and their work permits are often facilitated through mandatory testing of major illnesses, a policy that gains strength from the popular belief that mobile populations are vectors of grave diseases. In many destination countries deportation becomes a grave and immediate consequence. Basic medical care is never made a consideration. Deportations due to HIV status have resulted in severe economic loss for migrant workers and their families, as they have since been declared “unfit” to work abroad. Back in their countries of origin, they experience discrimination and social isolation in addition to difficulty of finding alternative employment.
Unfortunately, governments in migrants’ destination countries do not view their health as a priority. Undocumented migrants are penalized, while documented migrants are often restricted in the fulfilment of their health and human rights. Many governments from origin countries do not demand better policies for their nationals, because the national income generated from labour export has become too important for them.
Moreover, the government in several origin countries are also not putting migrants’ health as their priority. Deported HIV positive migrants often remain hidden in their hometown due to lack of referral system upon their arrival in the origin country. The HIV case among returnee migrants remains unrevealed and undocumented. This situation had caused false documentation of HIV cases in the country and furthermore, caused problems in treatment, care and support programs.
The above conditions and scenario require actions that will alleviate the abusive situation of migration stemming from national policies of destination countries and inadequate protection mechanisms in origin countries. With the HIV epidemic showing no signs of slowing down, especially when looking at the number of new infections, and with the growing tendency of people on the move, it is imperative to undertake more discussions on the nexus of migration and HIV and AIDS in order to develop appropriate and relevant responses and programmes.
Together with CARAM ASIA, the 9th ICAAP is hosting a pre congress forum for Migrant on 8 August 2009 at Inna Grand Bali Beach Hotel in Sanur, Bali. The Migrant Forum is one of the eight pre-congress community forums hosted during the congress.
The forum expects to mobilize 200 delegates from Asia Pacific region and beyond. Participation in the Migrant Forum is free for registered congress delegates. Selected number non-congress delegates may attend the forum by invitations only. Please confirm your participation here!
For inquiry about Migrant Forum, you may email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Download Sanur map - Download Complete programme
|Inna Grand Bali Beach, Sanur
|| 7 August 2009
|| Community Forum Opening Programme
| Inna Grand Bali Beach, Sanur
|| 8 August 2009
|| Breakout Forum: Migrant Forum
| Bali International Convention Centre (BICC), Nusa Dua
|| 9 August 2009
|| Community Forum Closing Plenary
Travel & Accommodation
If you plan to attend the Migrant Forum, you may need to adjust your travel plans accordingly to arrive in Bali before 8 August 2009. Airport transfer service is provided at the airport to all official hotels and to selected drop-zones in Bali. Please check the web section on Accommodation and Transportation to see if your preferred area is covered by the congress shuttle service.
Except those who receive scholarship awards from the 9th ICAAP, you are free to arrange your own accommodation while in Bali. Sanur is a half hour away from the congress venue, Bali International Convention Center in Nusa Dua. There are many budget-accommodations around the Sanur area in the proximity of Inna Grand Bali Beach Hotel, the location of the Migrant Forum.
Please check the web section on Accommodation for more information. Should you choose to stay in other parts of Bali, please check the web section on Transportation to see if your preferred area is covered by the congress shuttle service.
For pre congress shuttle schedule from 7-8 August 2009, download here!
For the congress shuttle schedule from 9 - 13 August 2009, download here!
For map of pick-up and drop-off zones, download here!
Community Forum Voices