Forced Migration and the ‘UK’ Dream: The case of Calais and Social Work Implications
SWSD 2018: Social Work, Education and Social Development - ENVIRONMENTAL AND COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY | HUMAN SOLUTIONS IN EVOLVING SOCIETIES
The following study is meant to bring empiric insights towards professionals by presenting an overview of the migrants situation in the context of Calais ‘the jungle’ refugee camp, following the transformations prior to the destruction of the camp in October 2016 and reflecting the reality of both refugees and service providers in the area. Tens of thousands refugees and migrants passed by and stayed in Calais in the last 20 years, with an apogee of 10.000 people last year (UNICEF, 2016; Safe Passage, 2017). Therefore, aspects related to human rights, immediate needs, vulnerable groups and social work responses are pulled together through research and work experience with the migrants in Calais both in 2016 and 2017. Moreover, the context of Calais brings in the picture elements of human rights and implies professional, political and public awareness in order to advocate for a dignified and sensitive treatment for refugees and forced migrants reaching Europe. The social work element is captured, especially in the area of assessment, service provision, advocacy and further guidance in what concerns good practices in working with refugees and migrants. Participatory observations, focus group discussions, semi-structured and in-depth interviews were conducted in a period of two months in July 2016 and August 2017, with a participation of 50 refugees, service providers and volunteers. The findings show high levels of violence, insecurity, lack of resources and access to basic needs, increased health and psychological issues, discrimination, risks of exploitation, trafficking and addictions. There represent some of the aspects which define the life of refugees and migrants in Calais. High vulnerability and risk is found within the groups of unaccompanied minors and women. The context of Calais fits into the description of Agier (2011) as refugees become undesirable populations, raising questions of human rights and protection.
refugees,human rights,vulnerabilities,strengths,social work response,dignity