ROME, OCT. 23, 2008 ( At a global forum next week on migration, Caritas will be urging nations to support the Millennium Development Goals, so that migration can become an option, not a necessity.

The international charity plans to promote migrant protection and boosting the development of poor countries when it participates in the Global Forum on Migration. The Manila conference will focus on "Empowering Migrants for Development."

This global forum is an annual international conference on migration and development issues. It developed as a regular forum following a meeting called the High Level Dialogue on Migration organized by the United Nations in September 2006.

Caritas Internationalis plans to emphasize at the forum the need to support women so as to reduce the number of mothers forced to migrate.

"Women who are searching for work abroad so they can support their families and educate their children are particularly vulnerable to exploitation if they're not protected," said Martina Liebsch, the Caritas advocacy coordinator for migration, trafficking and gender.

The aid group will advocate the protection of women as they are in transit, educating them about their rights, and the adoption by the international community of migration policies sensitive to the sex of the migrant. It further will highlight the need for special concern regarding the trafficking of children and young adults.

"People in developing countries across the world frequently use migration as a livelihood and income diversification strategy, but the costs of the journey and the life abroad may lead to more poverty and insecurity rather than improved living conditions," a Caritas statement said.

"The right to not be compelled to migrate should be an essential element in any discussion on migration," Liebsch affirmed.

A Caritas-organized conference for 2010 will look at the social costs of female migration on relationships, families and societies.