News & Events


In the lead-up to International Migrants Day (18 December), IOM UK and partners organised an eclectic and engaging showcase event held which combined a panel discussion, an exhibition portraying voices and stories from the Calais camps and beyond, a theatre performance screening and live illustration.

The panel discussion moderated by Timothy Large, award-winning journalist and editor, provided a forum for informed debate on the Evolving Dynamics of the Refugee and Migrant Response with speakers Elspeth Guild, Professor of Law at Queen Mary, University of London and Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands and Dipti Pardeshi, IOM Chief of Mission in the UK.

Dipti Pardeshi put the evolving migrant and refugee dynamics into perspective and reflected on how crucial it is for everyone to work together to respond to the current migrant and refugee challenges as an opportunity. She noted that: “At the UN General Assembly Summit this September, world leaders took the important decision to launch a process of intergovernmental negotiations leading to the adoption of two much-needed international compacts: on one hand, a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration; and on the other a Global Compact on Refugees.The decision to develop these compacts is a momentous one. The promise of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is that migration, like other areas of international relations, will at last be guided by a set of common principles and approaches”.

Professor Elspeth Guild added reflections on the importance of language when discussing refugees and migrants: “When one wishes to speak about people in a positive manner, who are forced to move from one place to another, refugees is unassailable. We are at the moment at a crossroads in the transformation of the international framework of law and politics on movement of persons. This has opened a whole new framework to how we are going to use language and think about migration”.

To illustrate how different actors are involved in framing migration, selected works from the Migration Museum Project's exhibition “Call me by my name: stories from Calais and beyond” were presented, as well as a screening of a theatre performance by students from City & Islington College, exploring media representations of migration.

This event was part of the Ethics and Politics of the Refugee Crisis programme, an integrated programme of knowledge exchange activities including an art exhibition, learning labs and school theatre projects, in partnership with Citizenship and Governance research at The Open University, Centre for Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) at the University of Oxford, the Migration Museum Project, ActREAL and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Throughout the project, “not only have we been forced to question the politics and ethics of engagement, including researching and reporting of the refugee and migrant issues, but we have also been compelled to revaluate our understandings of hospitality, compassion, justice, citizenship, borders and migration”, explained Bridget Anderson, Professor of Migration and Citizenship and Research Director of COMPAS at the University of Oxford.

These initiatives are to further long-term and critical-reflective collaboration between academic research, civil society, education, and the culture sectors via avenues of creative expression. This programme demonstrates but also assesses the ways in which art, and the ideas inspired through art, can serve as genuine catalysts for positive exchange.

For further information, interviews, or images, please contact: Christopher Gaul at | 020 7811 6053

Today, the International Organization for Migration turns 65. Throughout our history, we have been standing #ForMigration.

IOM rose from the ashes of World War Two 65 years ago. In the battle-scarred continent of Europe, no government alone could help survivors who wanted no more than an opportunity to resume their lives in freedom and with dignity. The first incarnation of IOM was created to resettle refugees during this post-war period.

IOM's history tracks the man-made and natural disasters of the past 65 years - Hungary 1956; Czechoslovakia 1968; Chile 1973; the Viet Nam boat people 1975; Kuwait 1990, Kosovo and Timor 1999; the 2003 invasion of Iraq; the 2004 Asian tsunami, the 2005 Pakistan earthquake and Haiti’s 2010 earthquake.

IOM quickly grew from a focus on migrant and refugee resettlement to become the world’s leading intergovernmental organization dedicated to the well-being, safety and engagement of migrants.

2016 has been a landmark year for migration. IOM and UN Member States grasped a historic opportunity to officially bring IOM into the UN system, giving a much-needed voice to migrants in the international community. And on 19 September, the United Nations hosted the first ever Summit on Refugees and Migrants.

Over the years, IOM has grown into 165 Member States. Its global presence has expanded to over 400 field locations. With over 90 percent of its staff deployed in the field, IOM has become a lead responder to the world’s worst humanitarian emergencies.

Today, one in every seven people is a migrant - be it a refugee, a student, a migrant worker or a professional who moves between international postings.

Today, as we look forward to the future, we continue to uphold the beliefs that brought us into being 65 years ago: that migration builds resilience and that migrants are agents of change and development.

Figures released today by the Home Office show that 4,162 Syrian refugees were granted humanitarian protection under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (SVPR) in the YE September 2016.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been working continuously, in partnership with the UK Government, UNHCR and local authorities in the country to support the resettlement and integration of Syrian refugees.

“Resettlement offers a noble humanitarian durable solution for those in need of international protection. With a little over 21 million registered refugees with UN and nearly 65 million forcibly displaced, the need has never been greater. With over 4,000 Syrian refugees resettled in a year from the initiation of UK’s Syrian resettlement scheme last September, IOM remains committed to work closely with UNHCR, partners and the UK Government to resettle the most vulnerable Syrian refugees to the UK”, says Dipti Pardeshi, IOM UK’s Chief of Mission.

Since March 2011, more than 250,000 Syrians have been killed and 4.8 million have been forced to flee the country. In 2016, an estimated 13.5 million people, including 6 million children, are in need of humanitarian assistance. The UNHCR states that the five countries neighbouring Syria host 97% of the refugees.

Resettlement is a sometimes unrecognised, yet compelling instrument and a symbol of international solidarity when searching for a solution for refugees who are unable to return to their country of origin and do not have the option to stay in the country of asylum. Given the ongoing situation in Syria and the influx of Syrians to the neighbouring countries, resettlement in countries like the UK is the only option for many of the most vulnerable refugees.

For more than 60 years, IOM has played a vital role in refugee resettlement around the world. IOM’s partnership with the UK Government through the SVPR meets the organisation’s wider objective of providing safe and humane migration management to vulnerable refugees, and its commitment to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society.

For more information, please contact Christopher Gaul ( or Gabriela Boeing ( 020 7811 6000
Image: Stik

The Evolving Dynamics of the Refugee and Migrant Response
at Rich Mix
Main Space
35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA
on 2 December 2016
10.00am - 2.00pm

Panel Discussion
Bridget Anderson – Professor of Migration and Citizenship and Research Director of the Centre for Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), University of Oxford
Elspeth Guild – Jean Monnet Professor at Queen Mary, University of London and Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands
Dipti Pardeshi – Chief of Mission, International Organization for Migration UK Office
Tim Large – Award winning Journalist and Editor

Selected works from the Migration Museum Project's Call me by my name: stories from Calais and beyond

By students from City & Islington College exploring media representations of migration and the Calais camp

Live illustration
Of the panel discussion by Laura Sorvala (

To register for the event, please visit the Eventbrite page.

The event is to mark International Migrants Day and is part of the Ethics and Politics of the Refugee Crisis programme, in partnership with the International Organization for Migration, the Open University, the University of Oxford's Centre for Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), the Migration Museum Project and actREAL.


To mark the UK’s Anti-Slavery Day in October 2016, IOM in collaboration with the South East Strategic Partnership for Migration (SESPM) hosted a half day, CPD accredited conference on modern slavery for the Surrey, East Sussex and West Sussex local authorities.

The conference attracted over 70 participants from the local authorities, including Chief Executives, heads of services, and those with responsibility for safeguarding and anti-slavery policies. In addition, representatives from fire and rescue services, trading standards and other frontline agencies in Sussex and Surrey also attended.

In the opening conference session, speakers from IOM, the SESPM and the Home Office provided the participants with detailed information on local authority’s legal duties under the Modern Slavery Act and as first responders to proactively detect victims of trafficking and modern slavery and report such cases to the Home Office. Lucy Botting, the NHS England Modern Slavery Lead, and a Councillor in Surrey County, emphasised the need for a more integrated multi-agency approach, linking local authorities and other support services, such as health.

Roy Millard from the SESPM presented two awareness-raising videos that he developed with the support of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner’s Office as free tools to help frontline agencies, such as fire and rescue services and local authorities, to inform their staff members about modern slavery, the indicators to be aware of and to stimulate their professional curiosity.

In the second part of the conference, a number of good practices from other UK authorities (local and regional) with developed internal referral pathways, training models and multi-agency networks, were shared with participants. Antony Botting, the Modern Slavery Project Lead for the London Borough of Croydon, gave an overview of their referral pathway, the Prevention of Modern Slavery in Croydon Sub-Group (a multi-agency gathering including third sector stakeholders) and associated action plan – covering activities such as awareness-raising training, linking with health services and developing a duty to report procedure. Following this, the Executive Director of the West Midlands Anti-Slavery Network(WMASN), Robin Brierley, presented his experiences in developing one of the most well established multi agency partnerships working to counter modern slavery in the UK that engages a diverse range of statutory, non-statutory and third sector organisations.

inally, the Welsh Government’s response to modern slavery was presented by Stephen Chapman. As Welsh Anti-Slavery Coordinator, he is responsible for their strategy and delivery plan, training strategy and referral pathways. The leadership group was highlighted as a successful model of multi-agency collaboration to deliver on the strategy and plan. A new Welsh Code of Practice for Ethical Employment in Supply Chains for government offices and other institutional bodies was also presented to the attendees as a measure that ensures the transparency in supply chains clause of the Modern Slavery Act is embedded in government structures.

Concluding the event, Heather Bolton, Chief Executive Officer from South East England Councils commented that “Sussex and Surrey now have some of the key tools they need to launch multiagency mechanisms to counter trafficking and modern slavery in their respective authorities, and effectively fulfil their duties”.

IOM’s Sarah Di Giglio who hosted the Q&A session, noted the “high level of engagement expressed by the participants throughout the event” and commented on both the formal and informal success of the event in “forging links as a necessary foundation to a stronger counter trafficking approach in the region”.

For more information, please contact Sarah Di Giglio on

IOM is grateful to the Shiva Foundation for supporting the conference.


On 18 October, Anti-Slavery Day 2016, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) recognises that human trafficking and modern slavery knows no borders – victims and survivors everywhere must be identified and protected, and traffickers stopped. Migrants are particularly at risk, as IOM data and analysis shows.

IOM has found that nearly three-quarters (71%) of migrants taking the Central Mediterranean routes connecting North Africa to Europe have experienced exploitation and practices which may amount to human trafficking, based on anonymous surveys taking place at arrival locations in Southern Italy.

The findings, based on an in-depth analysis of close to 9000 survey responses taken over the last ten months along the Central and Eastern Mediterranean routes, provide strong evidence of predatory behaviour by smugglers and traffickers and the kinds of enabling environments within which trafficking and associated forms of exploitation and abuse thrive.

While there have been many interviews, reports and qualitative studies that document the often horrific experiences of individuals along the migratory trails, the survey results are the first attempt to quantify the prevalence of these exploitative practices in a way that shines light on their alarming scale and frequency.

The survey includes six questions that are proxy indicators for potential human trafficking or exploitative practices, such as being forced to perform work or activities against their will, carrying out work or performing activities without getting the payment expected and being kept at locations against their will (by entities other than governmental authorities). For the Central Mediterranean route, 49% of respondents reported having been held in a location against their will during the journey in situations that amount to kidnapping for the purpose of requesting a ransom. Libya, a country experiencing protracted instability, is the location where the vast majority of cases of abuse were reported.

The findings also show that rates of positive responses to one of the indicators are between 7 and 10 times higher on the Central Mediterranean route than the rates of positive responses to the same survey conducted on the Eastern Mediterranean route. What emerges most clearly from the data is that the longer a migrant spends in transit, the more vulnerable they are to exploitation and/or human trafficking. In fact, 79% of migrants who had spent at least one year in a country different from that of origin had experienced at last one of the surveyed exploitative practices.

Furthermore, migrants interviewed in Italy spent more time in transit: 35% of respondents interviewed spent more than 6 months on the route to Europe, compared to 11% interviewed on the Eastern Mediterranean route. Although environmental, operational and personal factors may also contribute to a high rate of positive responses to the indicators, it is likely that journey duration plays a significant role.

“IOM is extremely concerned about the trends of exploitation and abuse that migrants are experiencing as they undertake their journeys towards Europe. On UK Anti-Slavery Day, a day designed to raise awareness about forms of modern-day slavery and reflect on how we are responding to the issues, it is important for us to look across to Europe and the rest of the world to see what more can be done to support those on the migratory trails, as well as those who have reached Europe. We need to remember that regardless of the reasons that people move, or their background, they deserve protection” says Dipti Pardeshi, Chief of Mission for IOM UK.

Clea Kahn, Humanitarian Advocacy Manager at the British Red Cross said: “The horrific experiences of people making this journey – regardless of where they started it or why – must be acknowledged and addressed. It is a humanitarian crisis in its own right.

“IOM’s survey findings provide further evidence of the concerns that I have, as Commissioner, that the migration crisis is clearly being used by human trafficking networks to target and brutally exploit the most vulnerable. There is need for urgent action to protect these people. I believe that a key focus for the UK and other governments must include collaborating with partners to prioritise safeguarding against the risks of modern slavery as part of the response to the migration and refugee crisis, in addition to scaling up targeted frontline anti-trafficking safeguarding and law enforcement operations” says Kevin Hyland OBE, the UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner.

IOM continues to provide protection-sensitive assistance for newly arrived migrants and refugees at points of disembarkation and first reception in Italy, including legal counselling, direct assistance, and referral to specialized services. IOM also supports authorities in the identification of victims of trafficking, those in need of urgent assistance, and those most vulnerable to abuse, trafficking and other exploitative practices. IOM in Greece is also scaling up to deliver forms of assistance. The results of the survey are designed to further strengthen these activities.

For further information, please contact Jenniffer Dew on or 0207 811 6035.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is an inter-governmental organisation committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits both migrants and society. As the leading global organisation for migration, IOM works with migrants, governments and its partners in the international community to provide humane responses to the growing migration challenges of today. In September 2016, IOM became a related organisation of the United Nations.

Anti-Slavery Day was created to raise awareness of modern slavery and to inspire government, business and individuals to eliminate it. It takes place on 18 October. In the rest of Europe, the day is called EU Anti-trafficking Day.

The results presented here are based on analysis of data carried out on 11 October 2016, covering the period of December 2015 – September 2016 for the Eastern Mediterranean and June-September 2016 for the central Mediterranean route.

The sample size was 8475 (5695 Eastern Mediterranean and 2780 Central Mediterranean). Respondents who have previously participated in the survey, did not give consent to use their responses in the analysis, or who were under 14 years old, have been excluded from the analysis.

IOM publishes regular short response on results (descriptive statistics only and smaller samples) from these surveys on this page:

The latest report was published on 6 October 2016 and can be downloaded here.

Victims of trafficking in Libya are at particular risk as not only have they experienced trafficking and exploitation, but then they find themselves in a country that has been wracked by instability for the past five years. IOM has put together a guidance document for governments and humanitarian practitioners on how to work with victims of trafficking specifically in a crisis setting.

The survey has been conducted with the support of IOM’s Migrant Assistance Department. IOM's DTM migration flow monitoring operations in Europe have been funded by ECHO (European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department), SDC (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation) and DFID (United Kingdom Department for International Development).

The role of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner was established through the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (Part 4). The Commissioner has a UK-wide remit to encourage good practice in the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of modern slavery offences and the identification of victims. The role was created to spearhead the UK’s fight against modern slavery.

On Wednesday 12th October 2016, IOM UK and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) organised a roundtable discussion with national stakeholders representing the UK government, civil society organisations, business and the private sector, refugee communities, academics and international organisations, to examine the challenges, barriers and gaps faced in fostering the early entry of refugees into the labour market, to find creative solutions that address these challenges and to facilitate cross sector interaction, as part of the Skills2Work project.

Labour market integration of refugees is essential to the overall successful integration both from the perspective of individuals as well as societies. Through employment, refugees not only regain confidence and independence, but become active contributors to their new communities, creating social connections and sharing their expertise and experiences.

Skills2Work is an EU-funded project focusing on labour market integration of beneficiaries of international protection in Belgium, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The Project will take steps towards ensuring better conditions for early and successful labour market integration of refugees and beneficiaries of international protection by enhancing capacities of relevant authorities, service providers and employers to facilitate early validation of competencies and skill-based job-matching, and enabling access to information and services for skill recognition.

For further information, please contact Myriam Mwizerwa at IOM UK, Tel: +44 207 811 6078, Email:
Alarming reports of human trafficking and exploitation along the Eastern and Central Mediterranean migrant routes are the object of further analysis and study by the British Red Cross (BRC) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to be presented in a joint evening seminar on 11 October to mark Anti-Slavery Day (that takes place on 18 October).

IOM and BRC will provide the wider counter-trafficking and modern slavery community with up to date and relevant information on trafficking concerns in Europe, as found in IOM’s Flow Monitoring Surveys capturing trafficking indicators along migration routes to and through Europe, and BRC’s recent study looking at the risks and dangers to people of the migration route from East and West Africa to Italy.
International guest speaker, Simona Moscarelli from IOM Italy, will provide a first-hand account of efforts to identify and assist victims of trafficking in southern Europe, particularly along Italy’s maritime border. BRC will also present ongoing research with victims of trafficking in the UK and Europe through the TRACKS project.

The seminar will be chaired by Annie Kelly, reporter for the Guardian on the Modern-day slavery in focus project, and winner of the Anti-Slavery Day Media Award for 2015 (for Best Investigative Article or Broadcast News Dealing with Child Trafficking).

To register for the event, please click HERE.

The United Nations Summit on Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants which took place on Monday in New York, provides a singular opportunity for the global community to forge a greater consensus on managing the world’s movements of migrants and refugees. IOM considers migration to be a mega-trend of the 21st Century representing unprecedented human mobility with one of every seven persons worldwide living or working somewhere other than their place of birth.

“We are gathered here today for an historic Summit—the first ever to assemble Heads of State from around the world to address the question of refugees and migrants,” said International Organization for Migration (IOM) Director General William Lacy Swing in opening remarks for Monday’s events.

With representatives of nearly two hundred nation states looking on, Ambassador Swing signed a document formally linking IOM to the United Nations. Starting Monday, IOM from now on will join the UN as one of its related organizations, giving the United Nations, for the first time, an explicit, official migration mandate.

With their signatures Monday, UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon and IOM Director General Swing signalled the culmination of a process that began in earnest in June 2016 when IOM Member States unanimously endorsed the process to join the UN. Ambassador Swing emphasized that the process reflects a growing recognition of the importance of migration and the need to better link human mobility with related policy agendas, including in the humanitarian, development, human rights, climate change and peace and security domains.

“The signature of this historic agreement brings the leading global migration agency, International Organization for Migration (IOM) – into the United Nations – the culmination of a 65-year relationship. For the very first time in 71 years, the UN now has a ‘UN Migration Agency’,” Ambassador Swing said, adding, “This is a singular honour for our Organization – and a genuine success for migrants and Member States and indeed for this Summit.”

The UN Summit will also set in motion a much longer process focused on migration – a Global Compact on safe, regular and orderly migration that upholds the human rights of migrants and their families, irrespective of migration status.

“A record number of people are uprooted, forced to move--refugees, internally displaced persons, victims of trafficking, unaccompanied minors,” Ambassador Swing told the opening session, adding “climate change threatens yet a further 75 million living just one meter above sea level.”

Ambassador Swing also noted that he timing of this Summit was critical. “We’re facing, also, a series – that I have not seen in my lifetime – of unprecedented simultaneous, complex and protracted crises and humanitarian emergencies in an "arc of instability," that stretches from the Western bulge of Africa to the Himalayas.”

IOM’s director noted the world is witnessing an unprecedented level of human mobility, with more and more refugees and migrants leaving their homes and travelling alone. He added that the challenge of addressing large movements of refugees and migrants was not insurmountable, if the international community shared responsibility.

IOM’s collaboration with the UN is already close, and will become even more so with the organization as part of the UN system. This will help ensure that the issues surrounding the world’s 244 million international migrants are well addressed. Most importantly, the summit and the process leading to a Global Compact on migration, will be a defining moment for human mobility.

For further information please contact Leonard Doyle, Tel: + 41 79 285 7123, Email:
Photo: Newly arrived migrant and refugee families with children at a shelter in Germany. - IOM

With an increasing number of migrant children reported missing in Europe, questions arise about the availability, coverage and reliability of data on children migrating to and through the European Union.

IOM’s Berlin-based Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) analyses the evidence base in its latest Data Briefing Issue 5, released today (2/9).

It is estimated that over 250,000 child migrants crossed irregularly into Italy and Greece in 2015. For Italy, of 16,500 child migrants, over 12,000 (72 percent) were unaccompanied. For Greece, no official distinction between accompanied and unaccompanied is made at entry for the purposes of data collection, although the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) estimates that at least 10 percent arrived without parents or guardians.

“Child migration into Europe is diverse and often invisible in data and policy. European States consider children as “accompanied” or “unaccompanied” differently. This not only affects the rights and entitlements they receive, but how they are counted in the data,” notes GMDAC Director, Dr. Frank Laczko.

The Briefing, written by Rachel Humphris and Dr. Nando Sigona of the University of Birmingham, UK, highlights the gap between available data and public debate, showing the limitations in data collection and inconsistencies in terminology. Although in some cases data are collected daily on arrival in Greece and Italy, there is a lack of detail.

“When children are identified as “accompanied”, the data are not disaggregated by age or gender. Children remain invisible in the figures and the true numbers are unknown,” note Humphris and Sigona.

According to the researchers, not only are there gaps in data coverage, but also children are “double-counted”. This occurs when different recording mechanisms aggregate, rather than consolidate, their data.
Most attention has focused on the number of “missing” children. The briefing shows that children can be counted in more than one jurisdiction and may be recorded as “missing” at various points throughout their journey. “This double-counting is an important consideration when mapping child migration,” note Humphris and Sigona.

In order to strengthen the evidence base, improvements to the data collection systems at national levels are needed. Implementation of international guidelines and common definitions is also essential. Age and gender should be disaggregated for children arriving at the European Union’s southern borders, in all transit countries, and for all dependents in asylum claims, in order to be able to better understand the complexities of children’s safe migration in Europe.

Further areas of concern include: the absence of data on children with disabilities on the move; partial coverage of family reunification; and deficiencies in data on detention and return, particularly of those who were unaccompanied minors and then reach 18 years of age.

To download the report, please click HERE.

For further information please contact Sabine Schneider at IOM GMDAC in Berlin, Tel: +49.3027877817,

IOM Director General William Lacy Swing yesterday (18/8) attended the 3rd Memorial Event for Humanitarian Aid Workers on the occasion of World Humanitarian Day.

The memorial gave the opportunity for people, regardless of nationality and faith, to come together as a community of support to honour and remember the humanitarians who have lost their lives in the service of humanitarianism, to recognise common humanitarian ideals and to celebrate the spirit that inspires humanitarian action around the globe.

At the event, Ambassador Swing reflected upon the untimely death of untold numbers of humanitarian aid workers, including IOM staff, paying tribute to their noble work and sacrifice, as a result of the sheer number of concurrent crises and disasters around the globe.

“We must stand together to protect humanitarians and the humanitarian space which allows us to do the critical work of saving lives and assisting people at risk. Let us resolve anew to support those affected by crisis and to ensure the safety and security of our humanitarian workers,” said Ambassador Swing.

The wreath-laying took place outside Westminster Abbey at the Memorial for Innocent Victims of Oppression, Violence and War. The event was organised by the Committee for the Memorial for Humanitarian Aid Workers, chaired by Dame Barbara Stocking, Vice Chair of the Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response and former Chief Executive of Oxfam GB. Other speakers at the event included Minister of State at the Department for International Development Rory Stewart OBE MP, Saleh Saeed (CEO of the Disasters Emergency Committee), Loretta Minghella (CEO of Christian Aid), Elaine Laycock, Alan Witcutt and Mike Haines.

The committee members, former and present leaders of the humanitarian sector and bereaved family members have set themselves the task of commissioning a permanent memorial for Humanitarian Aid Workers in London, to commemorate the ideals of humanity as an inspiration for the future.

For more information about this initiative, please visit the Memorial for Humanitarian Aid Workers website.

For further information, please contact Nidaa Botmi at IOM UK, Tel: +44 207 811 6002, Email:

IOM has found that 76 percent of almost 1,400 migrants and refugees interviewed in Italy from 24th of June to 3rd August 2016 – and who travelled along the Central Mediterranean Route connecting North Africa to Europe – have responded positively to at least one indicator of the presence of human trafficking and other exploitative practices on the route.

The anonymous surveys are designed to provide reliable data on the environments through which migrants and refugees make their journey, the hazards and risks that they face, and their often extreme vulnerability.
The recent findings – which are the first from new efforts in Italy to monitor migration flows through North Africa – provide strong evidence of predatory behaviour by smugglers and traffickers and the kinds of enabling environments within which trafficking and associated forms of exploitation and abuse thrive.

A significant proportion of migrant and refugee respondents reported direct experiences of abuse, exploitation, or practices which may amount to human trafficking. Such experiences range from not receiving agreed payment for work or services, to being kidnapped and tortured. In the majority of cases experiences were reported to have happened in Libya.

If, while conducting the survey, interviewers come across people that may have protection needs, those people are immediately referred to specialized service providers and/or the police.

While there have been many interviews, reports and qualitative studies that document the journey of migrants and refugees who take this route, the attempts to quantify the prevalence of exploitative practices that migrants are often subjected to has been limited.

The findings from Italy follow an expansion of operations and ongoing data collection that started earlier this year along the Eastern Mediterranean Route. These most recent findings, however, show that rates of positive response to one of the indicators from migrants and refugees surveyed in Italy are up to seven times higher than the rates of positive response to the same survey conducted on the Eastern Mediterranean Route.

Since June 2016, almost 1,400 respondents have been interviewed in Italy. Some 76 percent of respondents answered positively to at least one of the trafficking and other exploitative practices indicators based on their own direct experience during their journey, including: having worked or performed activities without getting the payment they expected; being forced to perform work or other activities against their will; being approached by someone offering employment; being approached by someone offering to arrange a marriage; and, being held at a location against their will by parties other than any relevant governmental authorities.

Five percent of respondents also said that a member of their family travelling with them had experienced situations captured by one of the trafficking and exploitation indicators. Approximately 5 percent of respondents also reported that they knew of instances where people on the journey had been approached by someone offering cash in exchange for giving blood, organs or body parts. According to the majority, these instances took place in Libya and, to a lesser extent, in Egypt. Some migrants told interviewers that they had no choice but to give their blood, while being held captive. Indeed, 81 percent of those who witnessed these instances of coerced blood-giving, also reported of having been kept in a closed location against their will.

Further results of the study can be found here.

“Two trends that we are extremely concerned about are the nearly 13,000 unaccompanied minors that have arrived in Italy this year and the 5,346 Nigerian women of which we estimate that 80 percent are trafficked,” said Federico Soda, Director of the IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean in Rome.

“So far this year in Italy, IOM has already identified over 200 trafficked persons at the landing points, including underage girls, some as young as 13. We are also aware that the threats and violence perpetrated by traffickers against the families of the victims back in their country of origin is getting more and more devastating,” he added.

“The increase in the number of unaccompanied minors is also extremely concerning. These minors are highly vulnerable and at risk of trafficking for sexual exploitation and labour. Often they are totally unaware of this reality. Protection systems throughout the migration process need to be strengthened in order to find solutions that are in the best interest of the child and that guarantee the rights that they have,” he noted.

Respondents who answered positively to one of the indicators average 23 years old; a majority of all positive responses (52 percent) were given by migrants and refugees between 18 and 25 years old. The highest rates of positive responses came from Gambians (91 percent), Ghanaians (91 percent), Guineans (90 percent) and Ivorians (86 percent).

IOM is committed to the principle that all migrants are entitled to the full realization of their rights. The Organization continues to call for improved capacity for identification, increased availability of specialized shelters, and better access to legal services for people who have been trafficked or otherwise exploited, as well as those who are particularly vulnerable to abuse, trafficking and other exploitative practices.

IOM continues to provide protection-sensitive assistance for newly arrived migrants and refugees at points of disembarkation and of first reception in Italy, including legal counselling and other direct assistance activities. IOM also supports authorities in the identification of victims of trafficking, those in need of urgent assistance, and those most vulnerable to abuse, trafficking and other exploitative practices. The results of the survey are designed to further strengthen these activities.

Within North Africa too, IOM has undertaken an array of initiatives to combat human trafficking, working with migrants, governments, NGO partners, civil society and host communities alike. In Libya, direct assistance is provided to migrants rescued at sea, stranded migrants, and migrants in detention, including immediate relief such as consumables and a change of clothes, as well as more extensive medical and psycho-social care. IOM continues to work with the Libyan Coast Guard on the identification of victims of trafficking so that appropriate protection measures can be extended to migrants who have been trafficked.
Victims of trafficking in Libya are at particular risk as not only have they experienced trafficking and exploitation, but then they find themselves in a country that has been wracked by instability for the past five years. IOM has put together a guidance document for governments and humanitarian practitioners on how to work with victims of trafficking specifically in a crisis setting.

IOM has undertaken information campaigns in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, and Italy to ensure that migrants and citizens at risk of pursuing irregular migration are made aware of the hazards, such as human trafficking, including in particular along the Central Mediterranean Route.

The survey has been conducted with the support of IOM’s Migrant Assistance Department. IOM's DTM migration flow monitoring operations in Europe have been funded by ECHO (European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department), SDC (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation) and DFID (United Kingdom Department for International Development). Further data from IOM’s migration flow monitoring operations can be found here.

For further information, please contact Harry Cook at IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 227 179 502, Email: Or Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996 Email:
In 2013, the United Nations General Assembly designated the 30th of July as the World Day against Trafficking in Persons to raise awareness about the severity of human rights violations that trafficking victims endure and acknowledge that human trafficking is a crime that affects all countries in the world.

At the International Organization for Migration (IOM), we have developed a global database to identify trends related to migration and human trafficking. IOM’s global data on human trafficking suggests that all countries are – to different degrees – countries of destination, transit and origin. It also shows that human trafficking is characterized by super-diversity, very much as recent global migration patterns are considered to be. This brings numerous challenges but also a common goal for countries to cooperate in a pragmatic way to fight human trafficking.

IOM is the lead agency in the protection and provision of assistance to victims of trafficking. It has the world’s largest database on victims of human trafficking. The data recorded by IOM is based on its direct assistance of victims by IOM missions working in the field globally. In the past year, IOM has improved its capacity to collect more and better victim data and it aims to provide wider, appropriate public access to information on human trafficking.

Since last year, another important step in the field of human trafficking has been taken: the global work on poverty and inequality was enhanced by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Agenda for the next fifteen years includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with 169 associated targets.

Migration (including human trafficking) is for the first time included on such a global agenda, and it can be found in the targets of four SDGs. The inclusion of human trafficking on the global agenda with the follow-up that will see the establishment of national frameworks to achieve the SDGs is another important acknowledgement that human trafficking and migration more broadly need specialized responses at local, national, regional and global level. For example, Goal 16 refers to the prevention and eradication of trafficking in children, while Goal 5 similarly includes the goal of eradicating trafficking of women and girls. Decent work and ethical recruitment, promoted by Goal 8, are also important in the fight against labour exploitation and trafficking for domestic servitude.

The upcoming national strategies to combat human trafficking and alleviate poverty need to be based on evidence. IOM, as the leading migration agency and as an organization that offers direct assistance to trafficked persons and vulnerable migrants, is well placed to offer such evidence. In addition, IOM’s unparalleled database on trafficking in human beings can provide quality data to inform policy-makers, researchers, the public and other stakeholders.

To mark the 2016 World Day against Trafficking in Persons, IOM’s Migrant Assistance Division (MAD) has released data on the profile of victims of trafficking assisted by the Organization over the past ten years, and data on regional trafficking corridors from 2015. The infographic accompanying this article is an example of that.

IOM has a dedicated page for the 30th of July which outlines the current IOM campaigns across the globe raising awareness about human trafficking.

IOM will strengthen its position as an information hub for human trafficking data through its human trafficking data platform that is being established with partners. The platform will bring together and visualize a range of datasets on human trafficking in one open, online resource, addressing the need for up-to-date, comprehensive and reliable data on human trafficking.

Another recent IOM initiative in the counter-trafficking field is the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Prevalence Indication Survey on the Eastern and Central Mediterranean routes. This is a unique set of reports in the context of the migration and refugee crisis, with findings that attempt to quantify the vulnerabilities of migrants and the risks that they face on the journey to Europe. The most recent report can be found here with further reports to be published on the IOM’s Migration flows to Europe page.

While there have been advances in the attempt to challenge human trafficking practices across the globe, more efforts will be needed to build the knowledge base on human trafficking to inform policy-making in pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals.

By Eliza Galos, IOM Data Analyst on Human Trafficking, article first published in IOM's Migration Newsdesk.
Photo: Lambeth Palace in London, home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, where a Syrian family has resettled through the UK community sponsorship scheme. Photo credit: Philip Toscano/PA

This week (Monday 25 July), the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, welcomed a family of Syrian refugees to his home in Lambeth Palace.

IOM has been providing assistance in the form of information sessions on Syria to help local authorities and sponsors understand Syrian culture and etiquette, the conditions facing many refugees prior to arrival in the UK, and the challenges they might face on arrival in the UK. To help prepare palace staff to understand and support the Syrian family, IOM was invited to Lambeth Palace to deliver an information session.

Archbishop Welby is the first to receive a refugee family through the UK’s community sponsorship scheme, launched by the Home Office earlier last week. IOM delivered an information session at Lambeth palace on Friday, with six palace officials and staff attending to better understand the needs and experiences of the Syrian family they had welcomed.

The community sponsorship scheme is a response to the strong interest shown by community groups like National Refugee Welcome Board, Citizens UK, and other grassroots organizations in helping Syrians resettle to the UK. In this scheme, community sponsors arrange housing, English language instruction, access to services, and job-search support for refugees.

While this may seem a daunting list of responsibilities for community groups relatively new to refugee resettlement, there is a network of support and guidance available to those interested in helping resettle refugees to the UK.

“It has been a great honour to welcome the family into Lambeth Palace,” said Mark Poulson, the Secretary for Inter-Religious Affairs to the Archbishop of Canterbury and National Inter-Religious Advisor for the Church of England. “We have all seen the images and stories of loss and violence in Syria, and to be able to help a family rebuild what war has taken from them is an enormous privilege. The information IOM provided to us has proven immensely helpful in bringing home the realities of this family’s experiences, and better prepares us for what lies ahead as they work to regain a sense of home in the UK.”

IOM, in partnership with the Home Office, provides cultural orientation sessions for Syrian refugees prior to their arrival in the UK, in addition to health assessments and escorts to ensure they travel safely and smoothly. Cultural orientation sessions are designed to enhance the refugee integration process by providing refugees with useful information about the UK. IOM has also found, however, that integration works best when both refugees and those receiving them into the community have a good understanding of each other’s expectations, cultural differences, and practices.

IOM, in consultation with the Local Government Association and the Regional Strategic Migration Partnership, has been offering information sessions on Syria to staff from local authorities and members of host communities throughout the UK since May of this year, reaching over 350 participants eager to support refugees through mutual understanding and respect.

For more information on the Home Office’s efforts, and instructions on how to apply, please visit this page.

For further information, please contact Mallory Carlson, IOM UK, Tel: + (44) 20 7811 6049; Email:

This year IOM became an official partner of Refugee Week in the UK, celebrating the contributions of refugees and marking the continued need for protection and support of forced migrants.

The theme for 2016’s Refugee Week was “Welcome”, with a variety of organizations hosting events and activities demonstrating the UK’s welcoming attitude toward refugees.

IOM partners the UK Home Office, providing pre-departure services to refugees coming to the UK. Prior to their arrival in the UK, IOM provides refugees with full medical checkups, travel documentation, cultural orientation and transport.

To mark Refugee Week and provide a genuine sense of welcome for refugees, IOM launched a call for Portraits of Welcome. In two separate Refugee Week events at the Southbank Centre and the British Museum in London, members of the public were invited to a story booth to provide a personal message of welcome for refugees and have their photograph professionally taken by artist Marcia Chandra.

Staff from IOM UK interviewed participants to collect their personal stories and ideas of welcome, and Marcia Chandra captured engaging portraits to put the faces to these stories. Portraits and accompanying quotes were printed on the spot for participants to take away with them and to add to a growing exhibition for the public.

These portraits will also be translated into Arabic and posted in the IOM run cultural orientation classrooms in the MENA region for Syrian refugees, providing them with a genuine sense of the welcoming community awaiting them in the UK.

“Portraits of Welcome” proved to be a highly popular event, collecting over 50 portraits from participants of all different backgrounds, and engaging the interest of countless others. IOM was therefore able to not only build a sense of community for refugees, but also raise awareness in the broader community of what they can do to help welcome refugees.

The portraits will also be posted online through the global IOM social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to be shared with the broader community.

For further information, please contact Nidaa Botmi at IOM UK, Tel: +44 207 811 6002, Email:
Yesterday (June 16) marked the second annual International Day of Family Remittances (IDFR), which recognises the financial contributions made by 250 million migrant workers to sustainable international development. IOM is calling on governments, the financial sector, and money transfer operators to commit to a cross-sector approach to facilitate cheaper, transparent and more accessible remittances worldwide which leverage their full potential for development.

The World Bank estimates that in 2015, remittances to developing nations surpassed 440 billion US dollars – three times the amount received in official development assistance (ODA). Forty percent of these remittance flows were received in rural areas.

Where governments fail or are unable to provide adequate access to healthcare, education, and housing, remittances are put directly into the hands of individuals and communities – with a tangible impact on quality of life. Remittances represent an economic lifeline and help make vulnerable communities more resilient to shocks, like economic downturns and natural and man-made disasters.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (10.c) commit to reducing the cost of remittances to three percent, and closing remittance corridors with fees above five percent. However, although significant progress has been made, the costs of remittances remain high – averaging at eight percent globally, with costs significantly higher to some nations and continents. For example, for every USD 100 sent to Africa, USD 12 will be deducted in fees.

Additionally, lack of information or understanding of financial systems can mean that unofficial channels are often used to transfer money. This results in greater costs and reduced safeguards.

IOM believes that migrants who send money home need more accurate information on the services available to them and their respective costs, including innovative mobile technology options. Similarly, those who send and receive money require effective access to affordable and sustainable financial services from reliable and formal providers that are responsive to their specific needs.

Dipti Pardeshi, Chief of Mission at IOM UK, said: “Migrants are making a phenomenal contribution to international development and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The IDFR reminds us that with a multi-sector approach encompassing the financial sector, money transfer industries, policy makers and development and migration organisations, we can improve the way remittances are earned, sent and used.”

Veronica Studsgaard, Co-Founder and CEO at The International Association of Money Transfer Networks said: “The IAMTN, as a representative stakeholder in the remittances industry, on behalf of its supporters, hereby endorses 16 June to be proclaimed the IDFR. This day aims to recognise and raise global awareness of the fundamental contribution made by migrant workers through remittances to the wellbeing of their families and communities back home, and to the continued development of their countries of origin.”

Pedro de Vasconcelos of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the organization that founded the day added: “The IDFR, celebrated on 16 June, is aimed at recognizing the fundamental contribution of migrant workers to their families and communities back home, and to the sustainable development of their countries of origin. On the International Day of Family Remittances, let us commit to the goal of making the migration of future generations a choice rather than a necessity.”

For further information or case studies, please contact Jenniffer Dew, Email:

As part of the exhibition "Call me by my name - Stories from Calais and beyond" curated by the Migration Museum Project, IOM invites attendees and visitors to come to the "Moving stories - Visual explorations of migration" storybooth on Saturday 18 June to respond to theme questions and share human journeys and experiences, stories of home, love, loss and transitions.

Come explore your own story in our specially commissioned photo booth with artist Marcia Chandra. You’ll receive a professional portrait for you to keep, and a forum to share your voice!
International Organization for Migration (IOM) booth at the
Call Me By My Name, Stories from Calais and beyond” exhibition curated by the Migration Museum Project
Londonewcastle Project Space
28 Redchurch Street
E2 7DP London
Date and Time
Saturday 18 June 2016
12:00 to 17:00
Sunday, 19 June 2016 marks the launch of this year’s Refugee Week festivities in the UK at the Southbank Centre, London. As a partner of Refugee Week, IOM will be joining the celebration the Portraits of Welcome project, a participatory arts project creating visual messages of welcome for refugees. Portraits of Welcome will also be part of the Refugee Week special event at the British Museum on Friday, 24 June 2016.

In addition to many other exciting and free activities at the Southbank Refugees Welcome Marketplace and the British Museum special Friday Late event, IOM invites attendees to come to our storybooth and respond to theme questions about welcoming refugees and have their portrait professionally taken. These portraits and stories will then be hung as a growing exhibition at the event. Most importantly, portraits will also be displayed in the cultural orientation sessions refugees attend prior to their arrival in the UK, preparing them for life in their new communities. These portraits give an opportunity to convey your individual message of welcome to refugee families, giving them a better sense of what (and who) awaits them in the UK.

Please join us and share your message of welcome!


A joint conference, organised by Healthcare Conferences UK & The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, on Improving Mental Health Support for Asylum Seekers and Refugees will take place at the ICO Conference Centre, in London on Wednesday 8th June 2016.

Chaired by Guglielmo Schinina, Head of Mental Health, Psychosocial Response and Intercultural Communication Section (MHPSS), International Organization for Migration, and researched and produced in partnership with the Child and Family Refugee Service at The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, this important and timely conference will support delegates to better understand and meet the needs of asylum seekers and refugees.

Through practical case studies and extended interactive masterclasses, the conference will look at developing local services and responses, developing early access to psychological first aid, delivering psychosocial support to refugees. The conference also includes interactive sessions drawing on theory from psychotherapy (eg. the effects of counter transference), narrative and systemic family approaches, community and liberation practices, working with asylum seekers and refugees who have experienced trauma, and therapeutic care of unaccompanied young people seeking asylum. The final session will focus on improving access to crisis mental health services for asylum seekers and refugees.

With national updates from Maurice Wren Chief Executive, Refugee Council, and Paul Farmer Chief Executive, MIND and case study presentations topics will include:
  • understanding the psychological impact of traumatic experiences associated with asylum seekers and refugees;
  • methodologies used by specialist teams to support these populations; developing the skills to respond to the needs of these communities.

Migration is set to play a central role at the first World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) which opens in Istanbul today (23/5). At the two-day event, IOM Director General William Lacy Swing will discuss with leaders of the international community the state of humanitarian aid, notably its parlous financing and the global displacement crisis.

He will help to lay out an agenda for further improvements in the manner in which aid is delivered to internally displaced people, refugees and other vulnerable populations in need of assistance.

Seven High-Level Leaders’ Round Tables and 15 Special Sessions will be convened, with the participation of some 60 Heads of State and Government, ministers, representatives of international organizations, civil society and the private sector. A further one hundred issue-specific side events will also take place over the course of the Summit.

“We approach this event with realistic expectations, but I am optimistic that the Istanbul Summit will mark a shift in our (humanitarian) world,” Swing said. “We need to ensure that the needs and rights of all people affected by crises, in particular vulnerable migrants, are prioritized as part of humanitarian response."

At the Summit, IOM is hosting a Special Session on Migrants and Humanitarian Action to focus on ways in which the humanitarian community can better address the protection and assistance needs of vulnerable migrants.

Most notable will be his participation at the Humanitarian Financing Roundtable where he will deliver a statement on behalf of IOM, WHO, UNRWA, UNDP and UNFPA.

The event will gather a panel of leaders, including Swing, UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, and representatives of the governments of Canada, Germany, Bangladesh, in a one-hour session ahead of the High Level Meeting on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants, which will take place at the UN General Assembly on 19 September.

“The Special Session is important as it will emphasize the humanitarian dimensions of migration, particularly the need to protect and assist vulnerable migrants. This will present a great opportunity to highlight that migrants can enjoy protection of their human rights, particularly in crisis contexts that result in cross-border movements,” Swing said.

IOM is also playing a leading role in the following sessions at the WHS.
  • Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA). The European Commission, the United States and UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) will host the session, which will address ways in which the international community can combat sexual exploitation and abuse by humanitarian workers. This represents a core commitment for IOM, which is at the forefront of Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC)’s PSEA efforts.
  • Migrants in Countries in Crisis initiative (MICIC). The session will be co-hosted by the US and Philippines. IOM, which plays a critical role in supporting the MICIC initiative, will participate in the panel discussion, along with the co-hosts and the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC).
  • Follow-up to the Nansen Initiative. The session will be co-hosted by Germany and Switzerland. Swing will join UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council Jan Egeland, and Ministers from the co-organizers and Bangladesh to introduce the discussion. The Nansen Initiative addresses the protection of people displaced across borders by the effects of climate change.
  • The Grand Bargain. This session seeks to build on the work of the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing. The 15 largest humanitarian donors and 15 largest humanitarian organizations, including IOM, have agreed to a set of new commitments, including more flexible funding, cash-based programming, support to first line responders, financial transparency, and ensuring that the voices of the most vulnerable groups (considering, gender, age, ethnicity, language and special needs) are heard and acted upon. This is designed to help introduce major reforms across the humanitarian system over the next few years.

IOM is also taking part in other events throughout the Summit, including the Special Session on Global Health, the Round Table on Displacement, and a number of side events.
It is also participating at the Summit’s exhibition space, with an IOM booth and a booth promoting the global Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) Cluster, which is co-led by IOM and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

For more information please contact Leonard Doyle in Istanbul. Email:, Tel: +41. 79 2857123.

Nearly 7,000 victims of trafficking were assisted by IOM in 115 countries during 2015. The victim assistance caseload, which is the largest in the world, increased by approximately 9 percent compared to the previous year.

The majority of victims assisted by IOM in 2015 were trafficked for the purpose of labour exploitation (74 percent). Construction, domestic work and fishing were amongst the top sectors in which individuals were exploited. A fifth of all victims assisted by IOM in 2015 were trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. A further 5 percent of all individuals assisted were trafficked for the purpose of both sexual and labour exploitation.

“IOM’s human trafficking dataset is unique in its scope and has great potential to feed the development of evidence-based policy and response to combat the crime and to address the root causes of this phenomenon,” said Anh Nguyen, Head of IOM’s Migrant Assistance Division.

He added that the data presented a different profile of victims of trafficking to those illustrated by other global figures on human trafficking. “In addition to the fact that there were more victims assisted by IOM who have been trafficked for the purpose of labour exploitation, than for the purpose of sexual exploitation, there were more male (55 percent) than female victims.”

IOM data reflects important progress made in recent years in the field of counter-trafficking in building recognition and awareness that men are also victims of trafficking and that trafficking does not always involve sexual exploitation.

Victims assisted by IOM in 2015 had spent an average of 3 years in the trafficking process, a time which could range from 0 to 25 years.

Approximately 13 percent of the IOM caseload were children. Among the victims trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation, nearly one in five were children, and among the victims of trafficking who were exploited through labour, 4 percent were children.

Most of the victims assisted by IOM globally (85 percent) were trafficked across borders. More than a third of the victims assisted by IOM were first identified by or referred to the organization in Europe (37 percent). East and South-East Asia and South and Central Asia were the regions of origin with the highest concentration of victims which IOM assisted, and represented just over a quarter of the caseload each. These location data are not necessarily representative of global human trafficking prevalence trends, but instead reflect where IOM has the most extensive programming.

“We are now partnering with other leaders in this field to host the world’s largest open access, multi-stakeholder repository of human trafficking data – the Human Trafficking Data Portal. By making our data available to external parties on a systematic basis, whilst ensuring the anonymity of victims, the Portal will rapidly enhance the evidence base for the development of responses to the threat of human trafficking and labour exploitation and abuse,” Nguyen said.

IOM is the largest provider of services to victims of human trafficking across the globe. IOM has implemented counter trafficking programmes since 1994 and has, since then, assisted over 70,000 trafficked persons and exploited migrants.

For more information on IOM counter-trafficking programmes, please click here.

For more information on IOM counter-trafficking activities in the UK, please click here.

For further information please contact Harry Cook, IOM HQ, Tel: +41 227 179 502; Email:

IOM Deputy Director General Laura Thompson met with representatives from business, government, trade unions and civil society organisations in London on Wednesday 4th May to discuss what has been called “modern slavery” and to launch a call to action for global corporations to eliminate unethical recruitment practices, including the charging of extortionate fees to migrant workers.

IOM joined HP Inc., Coca-Cola Company, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, IKEA and Unilever – along with the Institute for Human Rights & Business, Vérité and the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility – for the launch of the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment.

Among the core goals of this new initiative is the “Employer Pays Principle”, which states no worker should have to pay for his or her job. Instead, employers should pay for the recruitment and deployment costs of migrant workers. “Employer Pays” will be an important first step in protecting migrant workers by tackling the costs and fees that often erode workers’ salaries, or leave them at risk of exploitation and forced labour.

DDG Thompson emphasized that the benefits of labour migration are evident: labour mobility is desirable to ensure that labour and skills gaps are filled, while providing opportunities for workers across borders. However, unless measures are put into place to ensure that migrant workers are protected from exploitation throughout the recruitment process, and during their employment, the consequences can be severe.

Throughout the migration process, migrant workers are vulnerable to labour exploitation, abuse and human rights violations, including human trafficking. According to the ILO, 21 million people are victims of forced labour, 19 million of whom are exploited by individuals or private enterprises. Too often, labour migrants find themselves employed under substandard or exploitative working conditions, forced, deceived, and unable to leave due to “invisible chains” that bind them to a worksite or an employer.

Even where there is little physical danger, workers often endure what amounts to debt bondage after being forced to pay onerous recruitment fees just for the opportunity to work. Other times, payment is withheld from an employee or passports and other identity documents are retained, to ensure that they remain in captivity for the duration of their contract.

Leading companies worldwide recognise their responsibilities and are taking action. “In Asia, some workers travel across the continent looking for higher wages and can be misled by corrupt job brokers into paying these unjust costs,” Apple wrote in its 2016 Supplier Responsibility Progress Report, adding “Workers shouldn’t have to go into debt to earn a pay-check.” Apple audits its suppliers as part of its ongoing commitment to eliminate forced labour and in 2015 required its suppliers to repay USD 4.7 million in recruitment fees back to workers.

Other companies are taking action through a number of initiatives, such as labour supply chain mapping to trace their workers’ journeys from home communities to the worksite, and pre-departure orientation to empower workers with accurate information on their contract terms, rights, and access to remedy. In this way, recruited workers learn that earnings and salary deductions should be fair and transparent – and not opportunities for unscrupulous labour brokers to siphon off workers’ earnings through inflated billing.

IOM also helps companies and governments ensure that migrant workers are hired in a fair and transparent manner, consistent with ethical recruitment principles, in part through the development of industry-led codes of conduct and other self-regulatory initiatives requiring ethical recruitment practices within supply chains. One example is the International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS), a voluntary certification process for international recruitment being developed by IOM, together with a group of like-minded partners.

For further information please contact Lara White at IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 22 717 9365, Email:

“If We Leave We Are Killed” is an independent report that analyses the unprecedented protection and humanitarian response at UN peacekeeping bases in South Sudan, where as many as 200,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have sought shelter from a vicious civil war since December 2013.

By opening its gates, the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), alongside humanitarians, has saved thousands of lives. Conditions for IDPs within the Protection of Civilians (PoC) sites can be crowded and harsh, but the sites represent one of the only sources of safety for civilians as they continue to bear the brunt of the conflict.

Despite cautious optimism as implementation of the peace agreement moves forward, key stakeholders recognise that PoC sites are likely to remain necessary in the years to come.

In face of this reality, the Government of Switzerland and IOM commissioned this report to objectively examine the response at PoC sites, identify lessons learned in the past two and a half years and recommend key steps for improvement.

“My sincere hope is that this report leads to an open discussion among key actors, improving the response and protection offered to IDPs in UNMISS bases,” said Dr. Chaloka Beyani, Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of IDPs, in his foreword to the report.

The report is informed by dozens of interviews with key stakeholders, including UNMISS and humanitarian staff, donors and IDPs themselves.

Among key takeaways, the report recommends that both UNMISS and humanitarians embark upon longer-term planning and strengthen coordination to ensure a safe and secure environment for IDPs, noting that the protection needs of IDPs must be addressed realistically by all.

Apon, an elder currently living the PoC site in Malakal, is one of the IDPs interviewed by the report’s author, Michael Arensen. While describing the perilous course he undertook to reach the site in 2015, he acknowledged the very hard choice that many IDPs must make between living in crowded conditions and risking their lives outside the sites: “The PoC is hot, but it is better than death—if we leave we will be killed,” he observed.

The crisis in South Sudan has killed more than 50,000 people, internally displaced nearly 1.7 million and forced another 711,000 to flee to neighbouring countries. Confronted by multiple displacements and an unpredictable security environment, civilians in the country remain in dire need. The UN estimates that more than 6.1 million people will require humanitarian assistance this year.

Download the report here.

For further information, please contact Ashley McLaughlin at IOM South Sudan, Tel: +211 922 405 716,

A launch of this report is taking place at Chatham House, London on Wednesday 10th May. For more information, please click here.

As part of its contribution to supporting follow-up and review of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in September 2015, IOM and the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) have published a Migration Governance Index (MGI).

The index, the first of its kind, provides a framework for countries to measure their progress towards better migration governance. It comprises information that offers a means to compare migration policies in a systematic way. The aim is to raise awareness of what good migration governance might look like and it does not try to rank countries’ migration policies.

The SDGs, which underpin the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, address a broad set of issues including eradicating extreme poverty, tackling inequalities and coping with effects of climate change.

They also identify migration as a core issue for mainstream development policy. Migration is mentioned in a number of SDG targets, such as ending modern day slavery and addressing the vulnerability of migrant workers.

The central reference to migration in the SDGs is a target on the facilitation of orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies.

The question now is how to operationalize this important, yet rather vague target.

The MGI considers countries’ institutional framework in a number of key policy areas, including: (i) institutional capacity; (ii) migrant rights; (iii) labour, economics and investments; (iv) migration management; and (v) partnerships.

These five policy domains are directly inspired from IOM’s Migration Governance Framework (MiGOF), adopted by IOM’s 162 Member States in November last year.

The MGI results will be a tool to assist governments to identify gaps and prioritize when building institutional capacity and devising new migration policies and programmes.

To begin with, IOM and EIU have applied the MGI to fifteen pilot countries. The first finding was that it is possible to synthesize and compare such complex policy areas for countries in very diverse migratory contexts.

Another finding was that high ambition on migration policies is not reserved to high-income countries. Indeed, a number of middle-income countries put well-managed migration polices on top of their agenda, especially those having important diaspora communities abroad that make significant contributions to the national economies.

Finally, the study finds that countries with strong lead agencies on migration, transparency on rules and procedures, and cross border collaboration, often lead to high scoring across the MGI sub-indicators.

The main findings of the first MGI report were presented on 2 May in Geneva, and launches in other regions of the world will follow, starting with a presentation in Berlin on 3 May and Bangkok on 6 June. The discussions with IOM Member States will allow refining the MGI methodology and sub-indicators.

The full report can be found here.

For more information please contact Lars Lonnback at IOM HQ. Tel: 41 (0)22 717 9483, Email:

Today, World Malaria Day 2016, IOM joins the World Health Organization, Member States, global health stakeholders and key affected communities in calling for concerted and coordinated efforts to “End Malaria For Good” as reflected in the Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030.

According to WHO, 3.2 billion of the world’s population remains at risk of malaria. There is an urgent need to pursue targeted and multi-sectoral collaborative efforts to achieve such targets as reducing the rate of new malaria cases by at least 90%, eliminating malaria in at least 35 countries, and preventing a resurgence of infection in malaria-free countries.

As the global health community renews its commitment to action against malaria, it is important to bear in mind that several groups of migrants, mobile populations and travelers remain at disproportionately high risk for malaria, including drug and insecticide resistance.

Countries aiming for malaria free status cannot do so without addressing equitable provision of health services, including health education, accessible diagnosis and effective treatment for migrants, especially those living or working in endemic areas.

Director of IOM’s Migration Health Division Dr. Davide Mosca said: “In all stages of migration - at origin, in transit, at destination and upon return - migrants and mobile populations may face marginalization and poor access to health care services, reducing the effectiveness of malaria control and prevention strategies. Malaria control strategies often fail to account for migrant populations and their specific needs, for example as hard-to-reach or crises-affected populations. Factors relating to migrants’ living, working and transit conditions increase their likelihood of being infected with malaria.”

“Population movement makes migrants and communities vulnerable to acquiring or introducing malaria at their places of origin, transit or destination. In addition, exposure to new strains of the disease in the areas they pass through can result in higher morbidity and mortality for migrants,” he added.

Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) resistance is also a growing concern, especially within mobile communities, and timely access of migrants to screening and treatment is of particular importance in preventing the spread and development of new resistant strains.

IOM has been implementing malaria programmes in several countries around the world, providing services to migrant beneficiaries and technical support, as well as capacity building for national and local partners.

Examples include: provision of health education, long-lasting insecticide-treated net (LLINs) distribution, rapid diagnostics and treatment in nine Myanmar townships with high rates of migration and artemisinin resistance; malaria services along border provinces with LLINs distribution, capacity building for behavior change agents and community health workers in Thailand; mobility tracking for migrants in Vietnam; technical support to such initiatives as the Elimination-8 in Southern Africa; a new project in Paraguay with special focus on mobile populations and epidemiological services to avoid reintroduction of malaria.

“IOM stands ready to work closely with WHO and other UN agencies, governments and NGO partners, as well as migrant communities and affected populations, to ensure that the needs and vulnerabilities of migrants and mobile populations are addressed in achieving the malaria targets,” said Dr Mosca.

For further information please contact Dr. Poonam Dhavan at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 22 717 9546, Email:

*You can read or find out more about IOM’s work with malaria affected migrant communities on this page.

IOM’s Global Migration Trends Factsheet 2015 presents a snapshot of the migration trends worldwide for the year 2015, based on migration statistics from a variety of sources.

In 2015, the number of international migrants worldwide – people residing in a country other than their country of birth – was the highest ever recorded, at 244 million (up from 232 million in 2013).

As a share of the world population, however, international migration has remained fairly constant over the past decades, at around 3 percent.

While female migrants constitute only 48 percent of the international migrant stock worldwide, and 42 percent in Asia, women make up the majority of international migrants in Europe (52.4 percent) and North America (51.2 percent).

South-South migration flows (across developing countries) continued to grow compared to South-North movements (from developing to developed countries.) In 2015, 90.2 million international migrants born in developing countries were living in other countries in the Global South, while 85.3 million born in the South lived in countries in the Global North.

Germany became the second most popular destination for international migrants globally (in absolute numbers), following the United States and ahead of the Russian Federation, with an estimated 12 million foreign-born people living in the country in 2015 (compared to 46.6 million in the US and 11.9 million in the Russian Federation).

As a proportion of the host country’s population, however, numbers of international migrants continue to be highest in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. The foreign-born population makes up 88.4 percent of the total population in the United Arab Emirates, 75.7 percent in Qatar and 73.6 percent in Kuwait.

Close to 1 in 5 migrants in the world live in the top 20 largest cities, according to IOM’s World Migration Report 2015. International migrants make up over a third of the total population in cities like Sydney, Auckland, Singapore and London. At least one in four residents in Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris is foreign-born.

The year 2015 saw the highest levels of forced displacement globally recorded since World War II, with a dramatic increase in the number of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people across various regions of the world – from Africa to the Middle East and South Asia.

The world hosted 15.1 million refugees by mid-2015. This is a 45 percent increase compared to three and a half years ago, largely due to continued conflict in the Syria, now well into its fifth year. Some five million people were newly displaced in the first half of 2015.

In 2015, Germany also became the largest single recipient of first-time individual asylum claims globally, with almost 442,000 applications lodged in the country by the end of the year.

The number of asylum claims worldwide almost doubled between 2014 and the first half of 2015, from 558,000 pending applications by the end of 2014 to almost 1 million in June 2015.

By the end of 2015, the EU as a whole received over 1.2 million first-time asylum claims, more than double the number registered in 2015 (563,000), and almost double the levels recorded in 1992 in the then 15 Member States (672,000). The increase in 2015 is largely due to higher numbers of asylum claims from Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis.

Almost 1 in 3 first-time asylum applicants in the EU were minors, an 11 percent increase compared to 2014 levels. Almost 1 in 5 of these were judged to be unaccompanied by national authorities – the highest number since 2008 and a three-fold increase on numbers registered in 2014.

Still, the vast majority of refugees continue to be hosted by developing countries, particularly those that are close to the refugees’ countries of origin. For example, the bulk of the Syrian refugee population is hosted by Turkey (2.2 million), Lebanon (1.2 million) and Jordan (almost 630,000), according to figures recorded in December 2015.

Also, most forced displacement globally still occurs within countries’ borders, with an estimated 38 million people internally displaced by conflict and violence at the end of 2014 – from Iraq to South Sudan, from Syria to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria.

2015 was also the deadliest year for migrants: increased levels of forced displacement globally were tragically accompanied by record-high numbers of people perishing or going missing while trying to cross international borders. Over 5,400 migrants worldwide are estimated to have died or gone missing in 2015.

According to IOM’s Missing Migrants project, migrant fatalities during migration to Europe increased by 15 percent compared to the previous year, reaching at least 3,770.

From 2014 to 2015, a major and sudden shift in routes of irregular migration by sea to Europe occurred. About 853,000 migrants arrived in Greece in 2015, compared to 34,400 in 2014. Almost 154,000 arrived in Italy in 2015, compared to 170,100 in 2014.

In 2015, the number of voluntary returns of migrants (including failed asylum-seekers and others) from EU countries was for the first time higher than the number of forced returns (81,681 compared to 72,473). The number of IOM-assisted voluntary returns from EU Member States, Norway and Switzerland in 2015 reached almost 56,000.

New estimates for the number of migrant workers globally show that the large majority of international migrants in the world are migrant workers. Migrants have higher labour force participation than non-migrants, particularly due to higher labour force participation rates for migrant women relative to non-migrant women.

Remittances continue to climb globally, while remittance-sending costs remain relatively high. The sum of financial remittances sent by international migrants back to their families in origin countries amounted to an estimated $601 billion in 2015 – over two thirds of which were sent to developing countries.

In Tajikistan remittances constituted over 40 percent of the country’s GDP. However, average remittance transfer costs were still at 7.5 percent of the amount sent in the third quarter of 2015, higher than the 3 percent minimum target set in the Sustainable Development Goals to be met by 2030. Remittance transfer costs are particularly high in Sub-Saharan Africa – now standing at 9.5 percent on average.

Finally, public opinion towards migration globally is more favourable than commonly perceived – with the notable exception of Europe, according to an IOM-Gallup report “How the World Views Migration”. The report is based on a Gallup poll conducted across over 140 countries between 2012 and 2014.

For more information and figures, find the Global Migration Trends Factsheet 2015 here.

For further information please contact the IOM Data Analysis Centre in Berlin, Email:, Website:

IOM is marking this year’s World TB Day by highlighting the critical importance of engaging in productive multi-sectoral partnerships to promote the health and well-being of migrants and mobile populations around the world, and help eliminate tuberculosis (TB).

With the theme ‘Unite to End TB’, this year’s World TB Day falls right in the middle of the current migrant "crisis" in Europe, and after the recent adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that in different ways have both brought migration to the forefront of the agenda of governments, international community and other stakeholders.

Despite the notable progress in achieving TB milestones worldwide, TB continues to be a global threat, with approximately six million new cases of TB and about 1.5 million deaths due to TB recorded in 2014. The TB burden also continues to be concentrated in developing and low income countries / regions with around 58 percent of cases occurring in the South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions followed by Africa. Many migrants are vulnerable to TB disease due to irregular health access, exposure to precarious trans-border situation and poor living conditions.

IOM is therefore calling on all responsible constituencies, including governmental, non-governmental, community groups, international organizations and donors to take collective responsibility to decisively tackle the challenges faced by migrants and mobile populations in the fight to eradicate TB.

“As we mark World TB Day, it is very encouraging to see that the End TB strategy and the World Health Assembly resolution that led up to it, addresses migration, calls for adaptation at country level and collaboration with the migration sector. It places patients and communities at the heart of the response. However, in implementing this strategy, it is crucial to ensure that migrants are not left behind,” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing.

Ambassador Swing also took the opportunity to highlight growing evidence and understanding that social and economic inequalities sustain migrants’ vulnerability to TB, as do discriminatory policies in non-health sectors such as immigration, labour and social protection. Other notable social barriers including language barriers, cultural beliefs, stigma-related fear, lack of awareness to entitlements, low health-related spending capacity, and migrant-unfriendly health service also all lead to reluctance in seeking care or adhering to treatment.

According to Dr. Davide Mosca, Director of IOM’s Migrant Health Division, there remain huge gaps in the access of migrants and mobile populations to timely screening, treatment and continuity of care, often with collapsed or extremely challenged health systems in chronic conflicts or acute emergencies.

“The targets of the Global Plan to End TB 2016-2020 that aim to reach 90 percent of the key populations among 90 percent of the world’s population with TB and realizing 90 percent treatment success cannot be achieved without addressing migration health issues,” said Dr. Mosca. “Public perceptions on migrants should be improved, and health of migrants addressed as an integral theme in the dialogue on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), health and human development,” he added.

More information and materials about IOM’s efforts on TB and migration can be found here.

For further information please contact Dr. Poonam Dhavan, IOM HQ, Tel: +41 22 717 9546, Email:

The closure of part of the migrant camp in Calais this week has led to unfortunate violence which puts migrants and refugees at further risk and complicates progress toward a sustainable solution, IOM warned today.

IOM views the situation in Calais with concern and urges that immediate measures be taken to protect the most vulnerable migrants and refugees, including women and children in and around the camps, who are at particular risk of being trafficked.

IOM appeals to authorities and to the migrants themselves to refrain from the use of violence, which risks exacerbating existing tensions and lack of trust between the authorities and the migrants.

“The violence and breakdown of order in Calais is very worrying. A dignified, longer-term solution to the situation is needed,” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing.

“Measures to handle the situation in Calais should be taken with utmost care, while efforts to protect and provide viable alternatives for the affected migrants should be stepped up,” he stressed.

The strengthening of information provision and independent counseling is needed for migrants and asylum seekers in the settlements, who currently see no alternative but to continue to the UK. Cultural mediation and confidence-building between authorities and migrants are needed to overcome the impasse.

IOM believes that it would be in the interest of migrants to take advantage of improved official arrangements for reception, identification, registration, and asylum processing.

At the same time IOM calls on the authorities to enhance and accelerate the reunification of family members residing in the UK, particularly for unaccompanied migrant children.

IOM is convinced that actions taken with the migrants’ individual circumstances factored into the response can defuse tensions, increase cooperation, and decrease the risk that further informal settlements will be erected.

Broader, longer-term measures to address the wider phenomenon of migrant and refugee flows to Europe in a humane and coherent manner must also be part of the solution.

Eugenio Ambrosi, IOM Regional Director for the EU, Norway and Switzerland, cautioned that the current situation in Calais is another reminder that the lack of a comprehensive and united approach to migration will lead to the perpetuation of similar, unresolved problems.

“First and foremost, European countries need to consider the provision of increased and durable international protection for the majority of those arriving in the EU. The improvement of adequate legal routes to enter the EU in a safe and dignified way needs to be urgently addressed, and in the case of Calais, legal options to gain protection, reside or travel onward are the most important, especially for minors and those separated from their families,” he said.

The southern part of the Calais camp being dismantled has impacted 800 to 3,500 men, women and children, according to estimates which vary between local authorities and NGOs.

An estimated 10-20 percent of the migrants in Calais are children, either with family or unaccompanied. This includes 300 unaccompanied minors, according to local NGOs. In the northern part of the camp, 1,000 to 3,000 people are still living in tents.

French authorities are asking migrants to relocate to a temporary reception center in Calais that can house 1,500 people and where 200 places are still available, or to one of the 102 available temporary reception and referral centers across France.

According to local authorities, over 2,800 persons have been relocated from Calais to other French towns since October 2015, but between 15-20 percent of these have returned to Calais.

Many of the migrants now in Calais come from Afghanistan, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq and Syria. There are also significant numbers of people from sub-Saharan Africa.

For further information, please contact Ryan Schroeder at IOM’s Regional Office in Brussels, Tel. +32 2 287 71 16 Email:

The Family Reunion Travel Assistance Programme helped reunite a Syrian baby, Omar Al Sharki, with his family at Heathrow Airport after four-months apart on Friday February 19th. The programme is led by the British Red Cross and supported by IOM through a number of services, including travel assistance. IOM staff travelled with Omar from Beirut to London to safely ensure the reunion with his parents.

Mousa and Rajaa Al Sharki were living in Aleppo, Syria with their four children when the conflict escalated and they were forced to leave as the safety of their children could no longer be guaranteed. Mousa decided to travel first to the UK to seek refuge, while Rajaa, at the time pregnant, went to Lebanon, where she gave birth to Omar. Mousa then managed to get a family reunion visa to bring his wife and children to Cardiff. However, an error on Omar’s passport, which stated he was born in Syria rather than Lebanon, meant he was not allowed to board the flight in Beirut.

Rajaa said: “The authorities in Lebanon told me if I didn't leave the country then, I would never be allowed to come to the UK. They said this was my only chance. I didn't want to leave my other children either. I had to make a snap decision - either way it was a huge sacrifice. I feel so guilty for leaving him, but I had no choice. Words can’t describe how happy I am to have him back with me.”

With the help of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) tracing unit in Beirut, Omar finally received the exit visa needed to leave the country.

Dipti Pardeshi, Chief of Mission of IOM in the UK said:
“We are very happy and proud to have been able to bring Omar to his family after having been through such a difficult ordeal. This is a testament to the family reunion avenues that provide safe paths for those displaced by conflict and instability. IOM has supported the British Red Cross in reuniting over 1,000 family members under its Travel Assistance Programme in the last year alone, and we hope to offer this service to many more.”

Karl Pike, Refugees and Asylum Policy Manager at the British Red Cross said:
“Bringing more refugee families together would be one of the most effective ways for the Government to do more to help right now - strengthening an existing safe and legal route for refugees to reach a place of safety.”

An average of two children have drowned every day since September 2015 as their families try to cross the eastern Mediterranean, and the number of child deaths is growing, according to IOM, UNHCR, and UNICEF. The agencies are calling for better protection for those escaping conflict and despair.

Since last September, when the tragic death of toddler Aylan Kurdi captured the world’s attention, more than 340 children, many of them babies and toddlers, have drowned in the eastern Mediterranean. The total number of children who have died may be even greater, the agencies say, their bodies lost at sea.

"We cannot turn our faces away from the tragedy of so many innocent young lives and futures lost – or fail to address the dangers so many more children are facing,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “We may not have the ability now to end the desperation that causes so many people to try to cross the sea, but countries can and must cooperate to make such dangerous journeys safer. No one puts a child in a boat if a safer option is available.”

The stretch of the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece is among the deadliest routes in the world for refugees and migrants. The winter’s rough seas, overloading and the poor quality of boats and lifesaving equipment increase the risk of capsizing, making the journey significantly more dangerous.

“These tragic deaths in the Mediterranean are unbearable and must stop,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. “Many of the children and adults who have died were trying to join relatives in Europe. Organizing ways for people to travel legally and safely, through resettlement and family reunion programs for example, should be an absolute priority, if we want to reduce the death toll," he added.

With children now accounting for 36 percent of those on the move, the chance of them drowning in the Aegean Sea crossing from Turkey to Greece has grown proportionately. During the first six weeks of 2016, 410 people drowned out of the 80,000 crossing the eastern Mediterranean. This amounts to 35-fold increase year-on-year from 2015.

“Counting lives is not enough. We must act,” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing. “This is not only a Mediterranean problem, or even a European one. It is a humanitarian catastrophe in the making that demands the entire world's engagement. Haiti's 2010 earthquake was not a matter for only one hemisphere, nor was the 2004 Southeast Asian tsunami. Those disasters were met by an outpouring of humanitarian action. So must this one.”

For further information please contact IOM HQ: Leonard Doyle Tel: + 41 79 285 71 23, Email: or Joel Millman, Tel: + 41 79 103 87 20, Email:

IOM UK is delighted to be part of Refugee Week, a nationwide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrates the contribution of refugees to the UK and encourages a better understanding between communities. This year’s Refugee Week will take place between 20-26 June 2016, marking World Refugee Day on 20th June, with the theme 'Refugees Welcome'.

As latest member of the Refugee Week partnership, IOM UK presented the global and UK perspectives on the current migration and refugee situations, alongside with UNHCR UK, at the Refugee Week Conference on Monday 15 February 2016.

Bindu Issac, IOM UK, noted it is unacceptable that people fleeing war, persecution and extreme poverty are dying on the shores of Europe, highlighting it is crucial to provide safe and legal routes to the European Union. Giving the example of refugee resettlement, she reminded how individuals and groups present at the Refugee Week Conference campaigned, among others, to expand the UK government's pledge to resettle 20,000 refugees by 2020 through its Syria Resettlement Programme. This number represents an advocacy achievement, but challenges remain such as issues related to family reunification for refugees living in the UK and the responsibility to protect and take care of unaccompanied children. Bindu Issac also underlined the importance of the pre-departure cultural orientation activities led by IOM as one of the first key steps in the journey to welcome refugees in the UK.

The diversity of representatives who attended the Refugee Week Conference illustrates the wide range of arts, voluntary, faith and refugee community organisations, student groups and local authorities involved in Refugee Week. For instance, Ros Ereira and Abdulaziz Almashi, co-founders of Solidarity for Refugees, explained how they co-organised the September 2015 Solidarity with Refugees demonstration, which gathered thousands of people in the streets of London, who took action for all those who are seeking protection. Another march is to take place all around Europe, on 27 February 2016, to support refugees rights. Sue McAlpine, for her part, presented an interactive art and photo exhibition project portraying voices from the Calais camps, to be held in June 2016 as part of the Migration Museum Project.

Marvellous artistic performances by singer and musician Didier Kisala, great Shakespeare poetry revisited by Fatima Diriye, Freddy Macha and Arne Pohlmeier of Bards without Borders and an epic final act by singer-songwriter Yasmin Kadi, accompanied by musician Moses Black, were also part and parcel of the highlights of the Refugee Week Conference. Furthermore, interactive workshops were conducted throughout the day to prepare participants in the organisation of events for the 2016 Refugee Week.

The whole event ran smoothly thanks to the amazing involvement of the Refugee Week team of volunteers.

For more information on Refugee Week and how you can contribute to share your own story of welcome, have a look at the Refugee Week's website.

For further information, please contact Nidaa Botmi at IOM UK, Tel: +44 207 811 6002, Email:

The UK’s first Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner (IASC), Kevin Hyland OBE, has endorsed IOM UK’s CPD accredited Introduction to Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery awareness raising sessions, aimed at equipping frontline practitioners with the knowledge and tools needed to identify and protect victims of trafficking and slavery.

Reporting directly to the Home Secretary, the role of the IASC was established in the Modern Slavery Act 2015, the newest legislative provision to strengthen the protective and preventative measures to combat the crime of trafficking and slavery. The functions of the Commissioner are to encourage good practice in the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of slavery and trafficking offences and to encourage good practice in the identification of the victims of those offences. As part of the IASC’s efforts to expand focused, coordinated and effective actions to combat slavery, training was identified as a key requirement to advance understanding of trafficking and slavery and in turn improve identification of, and assistance to, victims.

Since 2011, IOM has provided training and awareness sessions on human trafficking and modern slavery to over 2,000 frontline professions from bodies such as: local authorities, Police, health services, immigration services, the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales, the Church of England and diverse charities. The sessions seek to build their capacity in understanding the complexity of the crime, identify the specific, and often hidden, vulnerabilities of its victims and take appropriate action within the existing safeguarding frameworks.

Through his endorsement of the training sessions, the Commissioner notes that the content clearly addresses the key aspects of the issue of human trafficking and modern slavery: from the international legal framework and the global picture of trafficking, to the UK’s national response, and support services available to victims detected within the country. He further noted that by using case studies, discussion and group work, the course actively engages learners and is an important step towards building awareness and understanding among staff that may come across victims of trafficking and slavery in their work – such as those who support vulnerable adults and children.

With the IASC endorsement of the awareness raising sessions, IOM UK looks to further engage with, and deliver training to, key public authority and third sector organisations to improve understanding of the crimes of trafficking and slavery, and ultimately protect its victims.

If you are interested in finding out more about the sessions, please contact IOM UK at

IOM Director General William Lacy Swing will travel to London on Thursday 4th February for the ‘Supporting Syria and the Region 2016’ pledging conference. The event will be co-hosted by the UN, UK, Germany, Kuwait and Norway.

The conference aims to rally international financial support to address humanitarian and development needs inside Syria and the region, bringing together world leaders from around the globe in order to raise money to support those who have been affected by the ongoing Syria crisis.

Kuwait hosted the previous three pledging conferences in January 2013 and 2014, and March 2015.

Approaching its sixth year into the crisis, the situation in Syria continues to deteriorate. With 13.5 million people in need and 6.5 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), the need for humanitarian assistance continues to reach over multiple sectors ranging from shelter to protection, education, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and health.

According to the latest UN Humanitarian Needs Overview, 8.7 million people are considered food insecure, 7.5 million are need of non-food item (NFI) and shelter support, and 12.1 million are in need of WASH assistance.

Six million are children and 4.5 million are in hard-to-reach locations, while 360,000 continue to remain trapped in 15 besieged locations. The 2016 UN inter-agency appeal for the Syria Crisis amounts to USD 7.73 billion.

Apart from addressing the imminent needs, the conference will also set itself ambitious goals for education and economic opportunities to support the lives of Syrian refugees, as well as the countries hosting them.

As part of the inter-agency appeal, IOM is requesting USD 254 million – USD 150 million for its operations inside Syria, including through its cross-border hubs in Turkey and Jordan, and USD 105 million under the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan.

To date, IOM has assisted 5.4 million refugees inside Syria and almost 800,000 in the region with NFIs and shelter support, health activities, transportation assistance, psychosocial support, and livelihood programmes.

Funding for the 2015 UN appeals has reached USD 3.3 billion of an appeal for USD 8.4 billion. “The international community needs to do more and raise new funding to address the short and long term needs of millions of Syrians affected in Syria and neighbouring countries,” said IOM Director of Operations and Emergencies Mohammed Abdiker.

For further information, please contact Geraldine Ansart at IOM HQ, Tel. +41 79 250 02 28, Email: or the Syria Crisis Coordination team, Email: