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Almaty – One in four Central Asians are migrants, meaning ten million people are on the move, often irregularly, in search of work. High unemployment, growing populations and low wages propel people from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, who face exploitation, trafficking, and human rights abuses.
In order to raise awareness of migration in the region, and counter the xenophobia and intolerance that feed these abuses, IOM, the UN Migration Agency and partners have organized a photo exhibition in Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan.
“People have a negative perception of migrants, so I prefer not to get tested for HIV in Georgia”, said a labor migrant taking part in a focus group on HIV and tuberculosis. The discussion was part of a research project by IOM in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, which had its concluding workshop this week in Tbilisi.
Representatives from IOM, the UN Migration Agency drew attention to the vulnerabilities of young migrants in Central Asia at a roundtable in the Kazakhstani capital Astana this week. The event, jointly organized by IOM and UNICEF, focused on the challenges faced by youth at all stages of the migration process.
Some 1.5 million people live with HIV in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. It is the only region in the world where the HIV epidemic continues to grow, with a 57 per cent increase in new infections annually.
Bishkek – Sadbarg Gazieva, 38, sees more in the photographs than most of the other 100 or so people at the exhibition in the American University, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.