IOM, China cooperate on trafficking

09:01, April 28, 2011      

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International Organization for Migration (IOM) Director-General William Lacy Swing said on Tuesday that more cooperation is needed on migration issues between source, transit and destination countries.

The IOM will continue to partner with China to combat migrant smuggling and human trafficking and protect the rights of migrant workers, Swing said at the launch of a migration cooperation project with China.

The three-year second phase of the Project on Capacity Building for Migration Management in China, funded by the European Union, will be jointly implemented by the IOM, the International Labour Organization and the ministries of foreign affairs, public security, civil affairs and commerce.

"This is a significant milestone in the IOM-China relationship and also reflects excellent cooperation between China and Europe," said Swing.

Chen Xu, director-general of the Foreign Ministry's department of international organizations and conferences, said China attaches great importance to the management of migrants and the protection of the rights of overseas Chinese nationals.

"Based on mutual respect, the Chinese government is willing to enhance cooperation with European nations in the field of migration, promote understanding of each other's migration policies, strengthen the management capacity of migration, continuously expand legal channels for Chinese and European personnel, and prevent and suppress illegal migration and human trafficking," Chen said.

Addressing illegal migration has been part of the European Union's common migration policy since its inception, said Minister Counselor Johan Cauwenbergh from the delegation of the EU to China.

Illegal migration includes individuals who enter the territory of a state illegally either through the use of forged travel documents or with the help of organized criminal networks of traffickers or smugglers.

It also encompasses individuals who enter legally but "overstay" or change their purpose of stay without the approval of the authorities.

According to Cauwenbergh, the number of visas issued to Chinese nationals by EU and Schengen country embassies on the Chinese mainland increased from around 550,000 in 2009 to more than 780,000 in 2010.

"Europe greatly appreciated the growing number of Chinese nationals wanting to discover, exchange and do business with Europeans", Cauwenbergh said.

China, too, is suffering from illegal migration with a growing number of foreigners involved in illegal entry, employment and residence.

Committed to preventing human trafficking as stated in its National Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking of Women and Children, China has made efforts to accede to the United Nations Optional Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.

While noting that smuggling and human trafficking are important challenges, Swing said they actually form a very minor part of the migration agenda.

Migrants contribute to the development of society and economies, said Swing. "We cannot manage today without migration Migration will continue to be a mega trend of our century."

The first phase of the project, between 2007 and 2010, established a partnership between China and Europe to combat illegal migration, and discuss ways to harness the benefits from the legal migration of Chinese nationals to Europe.

China is in no danger of losing large amounts of talents since it offers so many great opportunities at home, said Swing.

A report by China Merchants Bank and Bain & Company on China's private wealth released on April 20 showed that over half of the surveyed wealthy people on the Chinese mainland have migrated or are considering migrating to another country.

When asked about how this phenomenon will affect China, Swing told China Daily that he didn't think there was a danger of China losing large amounts of highly skilled people.

"I think the opportunities in China are so great that you will not be in any danger of losing such large amounts of talents," he said.

According to Swing, the IOM has many programs for experts around the world, who have many ways to continue to make their talents available in their home nations, such as offering courses in their home countries or investing and doing business there.

Source: China Daily
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