Fight capitalist greed and exploitation; Women and men migrants unite for dignity, against modern-day slavery

The International Migrants Alliance (IMA) commemorates the 2015 International Women’s Day by calling on all women and men migrants, refugees and displaced peoples all over the world to stand up against injustice and modern-day slavery.

We make this call even as we celebrate with Erwiana Sulistyaningsih the success of her court case against her former employer who has abused, violated and treated her like a slave for eight months.

Herself formerly a victim, Erwiana now stands among us as a survivor, an advocate and an activist. She has learned that only through collective struggle can marginalized, oppressed peoples like her can win their battles and achieve justice. Together with lawyers and migrant-serving institutions were throngs of migrant workers from Hong Kong who have banded together in an organized effort to raise support for her case, build awareness and solidarity among migrants and locals, and encourage people in Hong Kong and even elsewhere to fight modern-day slavery.

We make this call because the fight is far from over.

Migrants are among the first to experience the crunch of the global economic crisis. With the crisis of neoliberal globalization intensifying and ever spiraling down, migrants can expect the worst forms of oppression, discrimination, social exclusion and exploitation.

Bilateral and multilateral agreements among States have only intensified the commodification of migrant labor, treating migrant workers merely as cheap, docile labor with no rights or freedoms. In countries of migrants’ destination, existing laws and policies that demean migrants and deprive them of rights, movement and freedoms continue to be made more stringent and oppressive. In their own countries, migrants and their families see no hope of any pro-people development as their own governments continue to implement neoliberal policies that have always prioritized capitalist profits over the rights and dignity of peoples.

In the light of the new sustainable development goals being formulated in the United Nations, it is but proper for us to involve ourselves in the process, whether within it or outside it. We need to raise our voices and make them louder, both at the local and international levels. We need to register our resistance against a very neoliberal and corporate framework that global leaders use in shaping these goals and directing our future, at our expense.

Wherever we may be, we need to stand up, band together and form ourselves in organizations, forge principled unities with other groups and build solidarity. For wherever there is exploitation of a migrant or refugee, there should be organized resistance.

Today is the ripe moment to stand up and resist.

Statement on the 2015 International Women’s Day
Eni Lestari, IMA Chairperson (+852-9608-1475)