News & Events


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.