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Are They Your Loved Ones or Parasites?

By Qasim Swati (United Kingdom)

Hundreds of millions of people move from one place or country to another, especially in order to find work or better living conditions. These people are known as migrants or migrant workers. This migration is not only from poor countries to the rich ones, as people generally think that the majority of people of the world move to rich countries from poor countries, but migration is rising faster between poor countries than to rich ones, according to a study, published in The Guardian by Patrick Kingsley (Migration correspondent) on Wednesday, 20 April, 2016.

Some 85.3 million people migrated from south to north in 2015, while over 90.2 million moved between southern countries in just one year, as reported by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

These migrants make numerous sacrifices in different foreign countries or even in various parts within their own countries in order to find a better future for themselves and their loved ones. They face miscellaneous hardships and go through incredible tough experiences in life, while living away from their countries, families and friends.

Most of them are uneducated and even do not know how to read and write. As a result, they face severe and harsh problems, like language barriers, inability to find suitable jobs and being unable to adjust themselves to the new environment in their host countries and be used to overcoming new challenges in life abroad.

The majority of these migrants are treated like slaves in some countries of the world, particularly in several countries of the Middle East. Some of them are the victims of modern slavery, including forced labour, domestic servitude and other types of abuse, even in rich, developed and industrialised countries of the globe as well.

A large number of the victims of modern slavery can be found in such sectors and workplaces of the host countries, as the sector of agriculture, the construction industry, car washes, takeaways and restaurants, factories, like food factories, cotton mills and other such places of work.

Despite some of them being highly educated and well-qualified, the majority of such migrants cannot get the jobs they are looking for in foreign countries, due to certain reasons, which forces them to find unskilled and blue-collar jobs instead in order to meet their financial needs and earn some extra money for sending to their loved ones (family members, other relatives and friends) back in communities of origin.

As a result of their determination to sacrifice for the well-being of their loved ones they have left behind in home countries, these migrants undergo various unpleasant, adverse and unfavourable experiences in life, such as being exploited by their employers, bosses, managers and supervisors at their workplaces, suffering physical, emotional, mental and psychological abuse, owing to certain circumstances and situations, and other such things. Some of them have to go hungry for long hours or even several days, etc., due to either having not enough food to eat or shortage of time or both.

In spite of tolerating miscellaneous hardships, these migrants do their best to save some money and send as much remittance to their loved ones back in the countries of origin as possible for them. “Remittances”, as defined by Peggy Levitt (professor and chair of the sociology department at Wellesley College, Massachusetts, USA) in The International Migration Review, “are normally considered as money or goods that migrants send back to families and friends in origin countries. However, remittances can be defined beyond just being goods or money, as they can also be of a social nature, such as the ideas, behaviour, identities, social capital and knowledge that migrants acquire during their residence in another part of the country, or abroad, that can be transferred to communities of origin” (Levitt, 1998: 927).

Remittances sent by migrants back to their loved ones in origin countries account for a huge portion of the economies of the relevant countries. According to the statistics by World Bank, 2021, published on migrationdataportal.org on 3 June, 2021, the top five recipient countries for remittance inflows in 2020, in current USD were India (83 billion), China (60 billion), Mexico (43 billion), the Philippines (35 billion) and Egypt (30 billion).

Similarly, in 2020, the top three source countries for remittance outflows in current USD were the United States (68 billion), the United Arab Emirates (43 billion) and Saudi Arabia (35 billion).

Despite massive sacrifices made by migrants for the sake of betterment, comfort and better living conditions of their families, other relatives and friends, the majority of them are not treated fairly and with justice by their such loved ones in their origin countries, particularly in south Asian countries, like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

There are countless examples of the abuse and exploitation of the migrants and their nuclear families at the hands of their loved ones. For instance, many migrants are robbed of their properties, inheritance, wealth and other such rights by their own brothers, sisters and, in some cases, by their parents, as reported by many eye witnesses and the migrants themselves in certain parts of Pakistan.

In many cases, the wives, daughters and other female family members of some migrants have been physically assaulted, sexually abused, mentally tortured and maltreated by the brothers, parents (especially fathers of the migrants), other relatives and friends of these migrants.

In most cases, the wives and children of the migrants are not treated well and cared for by their so-called loved ones in their absence, even though this might be their legal, religious, social and moral responsibility to do so. There are also many examples of murders, physical injuries and other immoral treatment of migrants at the hands of their loved ones, whenever these migrants have tried to ask and demand for their basic rights, like the ownership of their properties, inheritance, wealth and other valuable assets.

This is the reason why every migrant can tell you a shocking story about their abuse at the hands of their family members, other relatives and friends when asked. Thus, most of the loved ones of a migrant behave like parasites rather than being as grateful human beings towards migrants.

Qasim Swati is a freelance journalist, writer and human rights activist, based in the UK, and can be reached at https://qasimswati.com or mailto:info@qasimswati.com.

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