43 million people are forcibly displaced right now—fleeing from conflict, persecution, or threats of imprisonment, hoping for shelter and safety. What’s worse, developing countries are disproportionately hosting these refugees (80%) and anti-refugee sentiment in increasing in many industrialized ones. The UN and other agencies commemorate World Refugee Day (June 20) by affirming support for refugees who need a “safe haven where they can recover from mental and physical trauma and rebuild their hopes for a better future.”
This week PLoS Medicine publishes two articles addressing issues relevant to refugees: a paper by Anita Davies and colleagues concludes our series on Migration & Health, a six-part analysis of the health risks and policy needs associated with the various phases of migration. One of the series guest editors, Dr Cathy Zimmerman, discussed the series and its importance in a recent podcast.
The other article is an editorial focusing on trafficking, an important element in the health of migrants and refugees. The PLoS Medicine editors argue that despite internationally agreed policies outlining states’ responsibilities to protect those affected by trafficking, many countries lack the political will to establish those protections.
Together, these articles make a powerful call for action at the individual and collective levels.