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Organization for Migration on the safe travel campaign trail
Video Fair (IVF)
Extracted from IVF Newsletter: Issue No 9 (Sept - Dec 2006)
November 01, 2006
Waving a banner
"ku Joburg ne Pakati" (Johannesburg through sex), a woman
invites clients to offer her a lift in exchange for sexual favours
so that she can earn money. To her the risks of such unsafe travel
outweighs everything because she needs to survive.
Not only is this
woman at risk of contracting the HIV virus that causes AIDS, but
she can also be raped or murdered.
For another woman,
her survival path is through hitch hiking in as much as 30 trucks
a day, all which would be traveling outside the borders. Sometimes
she gets the lucrative foreign exchange.
Touched by the
plight of these women, the International
Organization for Migration (IOM) carried a three months campaign
on the "Life is a journey, keep it safe" using video as
a tool to disseminate information.
The campaign was coordinated by the International Video Fair Trust
(IVF) on behalf of IOM and disseminated information covering issues
of irregular migration, HIV & AIDS and human trafficking.
The campaign was
part of a larger multimedia campaign that also saw other forms of
media such as drama, song, dance, radio shows, posters, bill boards
and car stickers being used by the IOM in the past 12 months.
IOM is an international
organization, which has offices in over 100 countries globally.
Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. Its regional office
for Southern Africa is in Pretoria, although it has offices in Angola,
Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe. IOM
member states in the region are Angola, the Democratic Republic
of the Congo, Madagascar, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Mozambique and Namibia hold observer status. IOM has signed a cooperation
agreement with the Government of Lesotho.
IOM serves migrants
and governments by providing and processing organized movement arrangements
for persons in need of international migration assistance.
It also seeks
to create an understanding of migration issues, and help find ways
of ensuring migrants can contribute to the economy and the social
development of their host countries. Achieving these objectives
becomes easier if migration is managed in a way that recognizes
the human dignity and well being of migrants.
Its other function
is to assist governments to deal with the fast-emerging issues of
trafficking in persons for exploitation, on smuggling of illegal
migrants, on dealing with HIV & AIDS and mobile populations
and can provide technical cooperation assistance on Migration Management.
The just ended
campaign reached some of the most vulnerable groups in the country,
with a special focus on mobile population such as truck drivers,
cross border traders, families and individuals in search of work,
providing critical information on what documents are needed and
how to avoid the grave dangers of irregular migration. It focused
on border towns and transit routs in order to reach all potential
"No one is
denying the challenges facing Zimbabweans, said Mr. Mohammed Abdiker,
Chief of Mission of IOM Harare at the start of the campaign. "But
irregular migration puts people - often women and children at greater
risk. Low or no pay, sexual abuse and human trafficking are just
some of risks IOM wants to combat."
Migration is a
natural phenomenon and when done correctly, can serve to benefit
all. Irregular migration is when people live or work abroad without
correct documentation, or when they partake in activities, which
are not permitted on their visa. Undocumented migrants may face
exploitation in the workplace, through low or no pay, little or
no access to health care, lack of legal rights, and the risk of
falling prey to human trafficking schemes, the sex trade and HIV
infection. If caught, irregular migrants may face deportation.
According to statistics
by IOM, 400 Zimbabweans are deported from South Africa a day through
the Beitbridge border post. Last year 97000 people were deported
from South Africa alone. IOM said human traffickers prey on the
false hopes of those who see no possibility of getting a job or
any prospect for a decent future at home and are seduced by promises
of good money abroad. "People tend to think life is a bed of
roses when they migrate", says IOM Communications Manager in
Harare Nicola Simmonds.
Some of the disturbing
cases she cited in Zimbabwe were a study that had shown that Zimbabwean
minors and teenagers were living in squalid conditions at Musina,
a border town in South Africa and human trafficking of youths to
Egypt, China and South Africa who were lured with promises of pursuing
modeling careers. Simmonds said as a result of such cases, youths
were the target of the next IOM campaign.
During the campaign
films such as the Miners tale, 5106 and Scenarios from Sahel were
featured. HIV & AIDS, human trafficking and condom use were
shown in different parts of the country.
At feedback sessions,
some women confirmed traveling without proper travel documents,
citing a cumbersome and expensive process in trying to cross the
border the proper way. Others complained of the long process to
get the passports and visas.
your advice, but surely I cannot wait one year so that I can migrate
whilst my family is starving," said one.
However the films
were generally a success, save for a few areas such as in Manicaland
where attendance was low due to cultural and religious beliefs.
Most women in that area refused to talk about condoms or even receive
in some of the areas said they had understood the main message being
conveyed by the films such as the need to consistently use condoms
when indulging in sex and the risks associated with illegal border
crossing such as human trafficking and HIV & AIDS.
They also learnt
the need to have correct documentation when traveling, to be faithful
or abstain from sex, to ensure they have adequate money and food,
respecting their parents, and how to use both male and female condoms.
Said one: "I
learnt that get your facts right about where you are going. Have
your passport, visa, cash, and condoms". While another one
said: "life is a journey for me to keep it safe I should travel
on the right channel legally and if temptations come my way I should
always use condoms".
The shows were
also shown in beer halls and targeted the general communities including
the high-risk groups such as the truck drivers and the commercial
sex workers. Some truck drivers admitted they were not faithful
because they could not be satisfied with one woman. They appreciated
the condom distribution while some commercial sex workers requested
for more condoms.
Some crowds admitted
they had enjoyed the condom demonstration which they found highly
educative especially with regards the female condom which was still
It was suggested
at some places that the films be shown also to secondary schools,
army barracks and mining communities.
said: "I really enjoyed this segment . . . it taught me about
life e.g. condoms and traveling."
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