“Without migration, societies worldwide would never have achieved their current level of development… travel and communications have become faster and easier, people are moving from country to country in even greater numbers….Yet the structural factors driving migration, demographic imbalances, economic inequalities, conflict, disasters and the impacts of climate change, are likely to persist, if not intensify….” “Migrants whose rights are respected, who enjoy a decent standard of living and who can apply their skills contribute more to their countries of destination and to their countries of origin.” Report of H.E. Peter Sutherland, UN Secretary-General Special Representative on Migration, 3 Feb. 2017.

Why Is This Important?

Migration has become a compelling issue of our times. SI has focused on women and girl migrants because of their vulnerability in the migration process. The human rights and dignity of migrant and refugee women and girls must be protected by States and other actors with whom they come into contact, regardless of their status. Women and girls experience multiple layers and intersecting forms of discrimination, vulnerability and risk factors in their countries of origin, while in transit, and in their countries of destination. Female migrants may be forced or tricked into being trafficked for labor or sexual exploitation They may be fleeing domestic violence and other forms of physical or sexual violence, forced and early marriages, or female genital mutilation. In times of war and conflict rape is common and there are groups who will sell women and girls multiple times into sexual slavery.

Soroptimist Work on Migration

SI issued it’s Where We Stand on Migration statement in June 2019. We know of projects in Norway to help women refugees and migrants from the Middle East with handicrafts and social opportunities and even teach their children how to ski. Korea has a number of projects which include helping girl students in high school who have come from North Korea and singing as a chorus with migrant women. The Netherlands raised a large amount of money to send to build schools for migrants from Syria living in Turkey. There are many more projects that could be more fully identified.

An SI Representative at the UN in New York participated for almost two years in meetings and informal dialogues concerning the process to achieve an effective Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration(GCM). This involved reading and analyzing numerous documents, including many drafts of the GCM, the Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Migration, Women in Migration and reports and comments by many other organizations, including Women in Migration. Meetings : Those held by the Secretary-General of the intergovernmental conference to adopt the Global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration, where SI statements were read; the UN International Organization for Migration; the UN Ambassadors/Co-facilitators of the GCM sponsored by the Committee on Migration and testimony or statements made on behalf of SI at their informal dialogues, and suggestions for inclusions in the GCM. Numerous reports and blogs were made to SI during this process. A flyer was produced related to Implementation of the GCM.


Highlights from World Migration Report 2020: Data and information on migration and migrants

  • The number of international migrants globally in 2019: 272 million (3.5% of the world’s population)
  • 52 per cent of international migrants were male; 48 per cent were female.
  • 74 per cent of all international migrants were of working age (20–64 years).
  • India continued to be the largest country of origin of international migrants
  • India had the largest number of migrants living abroad (17.5 million), followed by Mexico and China (11.8 million and 10.7 million respectively).
  • The top destination country remained the United States (50.7 million international migrants).
  • The number of migrant workers declined slightly in high income countries while increasing elsewhere.
  • Between 2013 and 2017, high-income countries experienced a slight drop in migrant workers (from 112.3 million to 111.2 million). Upper middle-income countries observed the biggest increase (from 17.5 million to 30.5 million).
  • Globally, male migrant workers outnumbered female migrant workers by 28 million in 2017. There were 96 million male migrant workers (58%) and 68 million female migrant workers (42%).
  • International remittances increased to USD 689 billion in 2018 – with the top 3 remittance recipients were India (USD 78.6 billion), China (USD 67.4 billion) and Mexico (USD 35.7 billion).
  • The United States remained the top remittance-sending country (USD 68.0 billion) followed by the United Arab Emirates (USD 44.4 billion) and Saudi Arabia (USD 36.1 billion).
  • The global refugee population was 25.9 million in 2018.
  • 20.4 million refugees were under the mandate of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and 5.5 million were Palestinian refugees under the mandate of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
  • 52 per cent of the global refugee population was under 18 years of age.
  • The number of internally displaced persons due to violence and conflict reached 41.3 million.
  • This was the highest number on record since the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre began monitoring in 1998.
  • The Syrian Arab Republic had the highest number of people displaced (6.1 million) followed by Colombia (5.8 million) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (3.1 million). The number of stateless persons globally in 2018 was 3.9 million.
  • Bangladesh had the largest number of stateless persons (around 906,000). had the largest number of stateless persons (around 906,000). It was followed by Côte d’Ivoire (692,000) and Myanmar (620,000).

Lead Image UN Photo: Mark Garten Secretary-General António Guterres speaks with students on their first day of school at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Subscribe to receive the Soroptimist International Newsletter by email.