People’s Global Action held demonstrations Oct. 27 as the opening of the UN-sponsored Global Forum on Migration and Development kicked off in Manila. Under the theme, “Migrant workers are human beings, not commodities,” the nine-day PGA activities are “meant to supplement” the UN event.

There are more than 8 million Filipinos working overseas, some one-third of whom live in the United States. Others are concentrated in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Europe. According to the United Nations, there are currently 192 million migrants working outside their home countries. Last year alone, Filipino migrant workers sent back $14.4 billion to support their families back home and supply a valuable boost to the country’s economy.

But migrant workers face many challenges around the world, including discrimination and being forced to work in slave-like conditions. According to the International Labor Organization the United States hosts the biggest number of undocumented migrants. It said that of the 40 million estimated undocumented migrants, 10 million, or 25 percent, are in the U.S.