The Solidarity Center and the International Union of Food, Farm, and Hotel Workers (IUF) have launched the Information Center for Migrant Workers (ICMW), in Chisinau, Moldova. This new resource center will advocate on behalf of Moldovan migrant workers, those considering migrating for work and their families. The center opened September 28.
Many of the continent’s migrant workers are Moldovans who seek employment in agriculture and construction across Western Europe, Ukraine and Russia. More than 15 percent of Moldovans worked abroad last year because of the serious economic challenges they face at home. These workers are highly vulnerable to exploitation, and tragically, a major regional target for labor and sex trafficking. The information center will assist in the prevention of human trafficking and identify trafficking victims.
The Information Center staff of three includes a labor attorney who will provide free consultations to Moldovans concerned about their rights at work. The ICMW also cooperates with trade unions in destination countries to offer resources, emergency contacts and support for Moldovan workers abroad. In addition, ICMW coordinates with Moldovan national trade unions and human rights activists to provide training and public awareness outreach to workers across the country.
“People are used to getting information from family, friends and the Internet, but these are not always the most reliable sources,” says ICMW Communication Specialist Tatiana Corai. “After Moldovan workers arrive abroad, they are faced with different challenges. We want our citizens going abroad to work to have all the necessary information.”
As part of the ICMW’s launch, the Solidarity Center conducted a workshop for Moldovan journalists who cover social issues. The workshop provided members of the media with new insights into the struggles of migrant workers and gave journalists the tools and information needed to raise the profile of this important issue in local media.
The Solidarity Center also unveiled a worker rights resource website for Moldovans: muncitorimigranti.md (in Romanian).
The ICMW is supported by the Solidarity Center, the IUF and the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.