06 / 09 / 2004 Marema Touré Thiam: I don't think anybody wants to leave their country to become a prostitute on a street in Milan, Barcelona, or Paris
The Forum's "141 Questions" (119): "Immigration: is there a solution to inequality?" Marema Touré Thiam, subdirector of the Central of Bank of the Western African States (Senegal), and Aderanti Adepoju, director of the Human Resources Development Center of Lagos (Nigeria), shared with the participants in today's sessions experiences and testimonies on human migration. The speakers and numerous public participants agreed that migration is the logical consequence of the need to improve people's conditions of life and people should never be treated as criminals.
"Human migratory movements contribute to the reduction of economic inequalities, especially for women, who, when they leave their countries, are fleeing other kinds of oppression, not only economic, but also social and cultural," Marema Touré Thiam stated at the Haima stage. She explained that she is an example of the positive effects of migration. The current subdirector of the Central Bank of the Western African States of Senegal, lived in France for many years "where I received a training that allowed me to move forward in life."
Aderanti Adepoju, director of the Human Resources Development Center of Lagos (Nigeria), agreed with Thiam and added that "Immigration forms a part of human culture, it is the result of economic inequality and now, paradoxically, can be a contributing factor to encourage inequality." Adepoju reminded us that Spain "has historically been a country of emigrants and today, fully integrated in the European Union, has become a country that receives many immigrants."
Adepojou defended that the children of Westerners "do not want to do the jobs that they don't like, but immigrants are willing to do them to improve their lives. This produces a certain complementary nature to the situation," the director del Human Resources Development Center of Lagos stated.
In response to the participation from the public, who talked about the illegal African immigrants who reach the coasts of Europe, Adepoju explained that many of the illegal immigrants "already live in an irregular situation in their countries of origin. In any case, in general, immigrants are victims of a lot of abuse, unlike foreigners with a specific profession such as doctors, scientists, or nurses, who live in the West: 50% of the doctors who work in the United Kingdom are foreigners." Thaim, added that she doesn't believe "that anyone wants to leave their country to work as a prostitute on any street in Milan, Barcelona, or Paris. The majority of these people are victims of the mafia."
Asked if she thinks that immigrants are cheap labor that the West needs to maintain their economic development, Marema Touré reminded us that, according to the statistics of the European Union, immigrant workers will be fundamental for the future as the European population grows older. Touré proved to be firmly against the massive immigration of Africans to Europe because "people who leave can lo longer work for their country." What we need in her opinion, are for the most disadvantaged countries, such as Senegal -as Spain, a few decades ago- to receive the help of developed countries because the clandestine immigration loses all of its purpose."
Diverse interventions from the public, who explained their own experience as Andalusian immigrants in the post-war period to Catalonia, showed their sympathy and respect to people who currently see themselves as forced to migrate to another country to look for a better future because, as a visitor said, "they also know how hard it is to leave their land to survive."
Thiam and Adepoju agreed with the arguments from he last public participant, a young Venezuelan who demanded a structural change in the institutions and the world government so as not to fall into an ingenuous position in respect to the migratory movements that are currently taking place in the world."