Addressing the Unwritten Chapter in Migration
"Safe to Migrate, Ready to Return" Trainors Training
By mid-2023, VF had increased the total number of trainees to 181 participants. These leaders reported that through their re-echo seminars, they reached an additional 554 returned and aspiring migrant workers. A total of 735 migrants were trained under this program.
In another related event, VF has institutionalized an anti-trafficking training curriculum in partnership with the Immigration Academy. VF has trained over 300 Immigration Officers to detect and prevent human trafficking in major airports. They also interacted with victims of human trafficking at the Center of Hope to learn more about gender-sensitive interviewing approaches and the referral of victims to concerned agencies.
One significant gap in migration and development conversations is the need for more focus on the reintegration of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) returning to the Philippines. To address this problem, the Voice of the Free (VF), with support from the Macquarie Group Foundation, designed, implemented, and replicated a Trainor’s Training on Safe Migration and Safe Return.
As the pandemic restrictions eased, VF resumed training sessions reaching 70 trainers and leaders of migrant workers’ associations, faith-based organizations, local government units (LGUs), and government agencies nationwide.
Overall, the trainors training program has contributed to promoting the reintegration of OFWs and addressing the complex issues surrounding migration. VF has created a network of trainers and leaders amongst OFW networks, church leaders, and NGO partners who actively support OFWs' effective return and reintegration, ensuring their well-being and sustainable livelihoods.
The two-day training sparked interest in practical communication and advocacy skills. Participants were equipped with a training manual and electronic resources to facilitate replication in their local contexts. The training covered principles of safe migration, reviewing the recruitment process, reconnecting with families, financial literacy, employment skills, and overall well-being. The trainers also highlighted critical attitude and behavior changes for successful reintegration, such as accessing local programs, investing savings into businesses, and contributing to sustainable community development.
One workshop highlight is financial literacy and resilience, which is crucial for OFW’s long-term recovery upon return.
The final training on March 2-3, 2023, was with the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission for Migrants and Itinerant People (CBCP-ECMI), which mobilized their trainers to reach out to their local dioceses, communities, and schools nationwide. An archdiocese comprises provinces across the country. The CBCP initiated similar training and began designing livelihood programs to address the economic reintegration needs of returning OFWs.