7 Ways To Support Migrant Women & Girls On International Women's Day 2019
The month of March is all about celebrating women: it's Women's History Month, and Mar. 8 is also International Women's Day. This day is dedicated to shining a spotlight on women's rights, from what has been achieved so far to the women who have helped achieve it, and everything in between. But this isn't just a day to feel thankful for the strong women in your life or the ones who inspire you: it's also a day to consider the many women around the world who still need so much help and support. That includes migrant women and girls who desperately need assistance, and fortunately, there are some ways you can support migrant women and girls on International Women's Day (and, really, any day).
Migrant women and children all over the world need help, but the issue has hit far too close to home in the United States recently. Thanks to the zero tolerance policy put into place by the Trump administration, more than 2,000 children were separated from their parents — and that isn't even an exact number, as officials won't give precise statistics. According to the United Nations, there are an estimated one billion people around the world who are migrants, and almost half of them are women and girls.
While all migrants are vulnerable and at risk of being abused and exploited, female migrants face a particularly scary risk. According to a 2016 report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, women and girls make up 71 percent of all human trafficking victims. The lack of shelter, overcrowding, and chaos of being a migrant woman increases the risk of this type of sexual violence. There isn't anything they can do about abuse in most cases, either, because many of these women lack the resources, support, and knowledge to get help.
There are so many reasons to help these women and girls out in any way you can, and it's not something you should push aside. Here are a few ways you can support migrant females this year:
1. Donate To The Families
Volunteering your time is important (more on that in a minute), but donating money is also necessary. Many migrant women need financial help desperately, so if you're going to donate something, make it money (whatever you can afford) instead of a product. There are organizations you can donate to that give aid to migrants in need, like Border Angels, which is a volunteer coalition that provides water, free legal help, and emergency services.
2. Donate To The Lawyers Helping Them
There are lawyers who are working to help migrant women and girls, and many barely have the resources they need. If you want to help them out, look into The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), which is the largest immigration services legal nonprofit in Texas. When you donate, you're supporting legal aid for immigrant families, which is something they desperately need.
3. Volunteer Your Time To The Lawyers
Not everyone has the money to donate enough where they feel like they're making a real contribution. If you have the time and the ability, consider volunteering. The Immigration Justice Campaign is an initiative started by the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the American Immigration Council. They look for pro bono attorneys and volunteers who can help with interpretation and mental health evaluations, and you don't need to be in a border state to get involved.
4. Volunteer To Help With Translation
If you speak more than one language, use your skills to volunteer for something good. You can volunteer to help interview migrants at the border if you live in a border area. You can do that through the Texas Civil Rights Project or The Legal Aid Justice Center, which looks for volunteers to help with translation or administrative tasks.
5. Call Your Senator And Speak Up
No, dialing your senator is not a waste of time. You should call your Congressperson and tell them how you feel about what the administration is doing with immigrant families. The ACLU gives exact directions on how to do this by getting your call to your representative and even telling you exactly what to say. They recommend you say, "Hi, my name is [YOUR NAME] and my zip code is [YOUR ZIP]. Do not use my taxpayer money to fund the Department of Homeland Security as it continues to detain families, abuse immigrant children, and unleash ICE to terrorize communities."
6. Assist A Hotline
RAICES has a hotline (866-378-2667) that is run by volunteers who answer calls throughout the day. Volunteers are trained to get information about separated parents and then they work to locate the detained parents and get them set up with legal services. You can look into how you can help with that on their website.
7. Find A Charity To Donate To
There are a lot of charities and organizations out there that make donating easy: all you have to do is go on their website and find the form you need to fill out, and you've potentially helped someone out in a big way. You can donate to something like RAICES or the ACLU. She Matters is another group that helps migrant women and refugees. The Immigration Center for Women and Children is a good organization to donate to as well. There are more listed here.