News & Events

Photo: © Marcia Chandra / IOM UK

IOM UK explored the theme of “Our Shared Future” through two art projects – Portraits of Welcome and Building Tomorrow Together – as part of the 2017 Refugee Week celebrations in the United Kingdom (UK) at the Southbank Centre in London, on 24 June 2017.

IOM UK ran the second edition of it participatory arts project creating visual messages, Portraits of Welcome, by inviting members of the public to reflect on what the future may hold for our shared community. Photographer Marcia Chandra captured engaging portraits to put public faces to their thoughts for the future. 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.

“We are all wired for connection,” said Dipti Pardeshi, IOM UK Chief of Mission, when reflecting on Our Shared Future. “A shared future is a connected one. One where we value diversity as an important ingredient in a recipe that, when mixed well, makes our society richer and more satisfying.”

To further illustrate the theme of Our Shared Future, IOM UK also displayed an art installation in the shape of a tree, with materials produced by children in Lebanon and the UK, as part of the Building Tomorrow Together project.

Children from Globe Primary School, Bethnal Green, held the first UK workshop for the project in tandem with Syrian refugee children in Beirut, who were participating in an IOM Cultural Orientation session before they were relocated to the UK. All the children were encouraged to think about their identity and what a positive shared future could look like. Working thousands of miles apart, both UK and Syrian children created an inspiring collaborative tree installation, with their thoughts and messages appearing as leaves sprouting from the tree, which will continue to grow as more children in Beirut and London contribute their messages, ideas and thoughts.

“I hope to live in a house and go to school, with a playground where I can play in. I hope I can study to become a doctor, but if I can’t, I would like to be a princess,” said Lana, eight years old, at the Lebanon workshop.

For further information, please contact Christopher Gaul at IOM UK, Tel: +44 207 811 60, Email:

IOM - the UN Migration Agency and the Foreign Trade Association (FTA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to boost cooperation in promoting ethical recruitment, protecting migrant workers and combatting human trafficking in global labour supply chains.

“IOM recognizes the critical role that private sector employers and brands play in migration management and safeguarding the rights of migrant workers,” said Eugenio Ambrosi, IOM Regional Director for the EU, Norway and Switzerland, at an MOU signing event in Brussels today.

“We believe this new partnership between IOM and FTA will bolster joint efforts to improve conditions for migrant workers and provide strong public-private leadership in promoting sustainable supply chains,” he added.

FTA represents nearly 2,000 retailers, importers and brands and works to advance their international trade in conjunction with corporate responsibility. In doing so, FTA helps member companies develop systems and supply chains that respect workers, the environment, human rights and core labour standards.

IOM began working with FTA last year, in support of its work to reduce forced labour and human trafficking in South East Asian food and fisheries supply chains. Cooperation continued in the form of joint training sessions for FTA member companies on issues including labour rights, supply chain monitoring and responsible recruitment practices.

The new MOU provides a framework for further collaboration to protect migrant workers. This includes the enhanced use of IOM’s International Recruitment Integrity System, IRIS, which helps job seekers find ethical recruiters, certifies recruiters committed to ethical standards and helps employers assess the recruiters they use and improve transparency in the hiring process. It also includes support for FTA’s Business Social Compliance Initiative, training for employers and employees on trafficking and modern slavery issues, pre- and/or post-orientation training for labour migrants and support to companies to improve recruitment and map supply chains.

For further information, please contact Melissa Winkler at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 766 8230, Email:
Today (12/06), at the Global Conference on Children on the Move, in Berlin, Germany, the UN Migration Agency (IOM) joined more than 20 UN and civil society organizations to unite around the rights of children, especially children on the move. The conference with more than 250 participants from States, civil society, academia, UN agencies, private sector and individual experts aims to ensure that both Global Compacts – on migrants and on refugees - take into account children’s priorities and concerns.

“Every day at the UN Migration Agency, we work with migrant children. Some have been compelled to move accompanied by relatives or guardians or on their own due to conflict, disasters, fear and despair. Other children migrate in search of better socio-educational opportunities and ultimately to pursue their own development and that of the society they live in,” said William Lacy Swing, IOM Director General, when discussing the preparations for the Conference.

“We want to ensure that child migration is always in the best interests of the child and that when it is not, sustainable solutions are found for children and their families both at home or in a new home elsewhere. These solutions should ensure that children are not left behind and that they are not exploited or even worse: trafficked. All migrant children are entitled to care and protection regardless of their migratory status,” concluded Ambassador Swing.

Different factors contribute to migrant children’s situations of vulnerability, including their age, risk factors at individual, household, community and structural levels, the reasons why they have migrated, and the conditions they face during travel, transit, and at destination.

With intergovernmental discussions leading up to the Global Compacts on Migration and Refugees currently taking place, all parties must work together to address the needs of migrant children consistent with their human rights.

OM will continue to strive for migrant children’s wellbeing and best interests across the wide spectrum of activities the Organization is pursuing in support to all Governments, who are ultimately responsible for their protection.

IOM values this inclusive partnership and its goals especially as the consultations progress for the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration - a major global process, to which IOM is extending technical and policy expertise as requested by UN Member States.

For further information, please contact Olivia Headon at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 22 717 94 35, Email:
IOM and Stop the Traffik have been awarded a project to develop, pilot and evaluate multi-disciplinary modern slavery awareness training to meet the needs of frontline and ancillary professionals working in key agencies across London. The initiative has been jointly coordinated by the London Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (LondonAdass), the Metropolitan Police and the NHS.

Using a train-the-trainer approach with complementary e-learning tools, IOM and Stop the Traffik will build the capacity of professionals working in social care, health and the police so that they can define human trafficking and modern slavery, recognise the different forms of exploitation and the associated indicators and how they might present. Speaking on behalf LondonAdass, Dawn Wakeling, Lead Director of Adult Social Services for Safeguarding says “the training sessions and tools will describe the safeguarding needs associated with trafficking and modern slavery, including some of the common health concerns experienced by trafficked people and people in modern slavery, and will help participants assess how to take safe and appropriate action”.

Commenting on the importance of this initiative, Detective Chief Inspector Phil Brewer from the Metropolitan Police Trafficking & Kidnap Unit and a member of the steering group says “effective multi-agency awareness training is urgently needed for frontline professionals to ensure that vital opportunities to identify, assist, and support victims of modern slavery are not missed, and that best practices are followed. We are pleased to be working with IOM and Stop the Traffik on this project”.

In total, 180 professionals will participate in six awareness sessions taking place across London in summer 2017. They will all be equipped with the skills and materials to disseminate the learning, either via face-to-face sessions or e-learning, across their local areas and among different agencies.

This project builds on the experience of both IOM & Stop the Traffik in delivering human trafficking and modern slavery awareness-raising sessions to frontline professionals across various agencies and locations in the UK. Both organisations have worked extensively with local authorities, police, health, and immigration services, as well as faith-based groups, diaspora community groups and NGOs, to ensure that all have the skills they need to detect, address and prevent human trafficking and modern slavery.

Wendy Adams, Stop the Traffik Lead Trainer and UK Projects Co-ordinator says “Stop the Traffik believes that this training initiative will make a significant difference to how professionals in London can be provided with the right knowledge to take action in a collaborative way”.

“IOM is very pleased to have been selected with Stop the Traffik to deliver this training pilot across London as a natural progression to the work we have been doing with local authorities and other agencies. The multi-agency approach, bringing together staff from social care, the NHS and the police, will ensure a wide variety of professionals can actively share experiences, learn from each other and improve their understanding of what can be very complex issues” says Sarah Di Giglio, IOM UK’s Senior Policy and Programme Officer for Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery.

For more information, please contact Sarah Di Giglio at IOM UK:, 020 7811 6062, or Wendy Adams at Stop the Traffik:, 020 7921 4258.
Syrian children in Lebanon reflected about their future in the UK as part of the Building Tomorrow Together art project. Photo: IOM / Gabriela Boeing

The UN Migration Agency (IOM) conducted the first workshop of the Building Tomorrow Together art project with Syrian children in Beirut, Lebanon, this week. While their parents attended Pre-Departure Orientation in preparation for their resettlement to the United Kingdom, the children aged between 6 and 10 were encouraged to think about their identities and their future in the UK, through two art activities.

During the first session, the children had the opportunity to reflect on their own personalities and express themselves while drawing and writing on a paper doll template. At the end of the activity the children were encouraged to share their likes and dislikes with others. “I like music and my favourite food is egg. I want to be a dentist when I grow up,” said six-year-old Asmaa.

In the second activity called A Shared Future, the children filled in a leaf shape with drawings that illustrate what they expect for their future in the UK. All the children highlighted the importance of housing and access to education. “If we have this, everything will be beautiful. I also hope to make good friends and wish we could have toys and a garden to play in with my little brother,” explained Riyad, 10.

IOM staff in Lebanon will conduct additional sessions with children in the next couple of weeks and IOM staff in the UK will hold two workshops at a primary school in East London.

“The main objective of the Building Tomorrow Together project is to promote an exchange between children waiting to be resettled as refugees and those of similar age in the UK, so they can reflect on who they are as a person, celebrate diversity and think what a positive shared future would feel like,” said Dipti Pardeshi, IOM UK Chief of Mission.

All the material produced by the children in both locations will be pieced together as an art installation. This installation in the shape of a tree, will be exhibited for the first time at the Refugee Week Marketplace at the Southbank Centre in London on 24 June 2017. IOM staff in Lebanon and the UK will continue to run the workshops in Beirut and at schools in the UK, and the tree will continue to grow as children add their thoughts – symbolised by leaves, roots and people – to it.

The Building Tomorrow Together project is a partnership between IOM, Counterpoints Arts, Refugee Week and Lifeworlds Learning.

For further information, please contact Gabriela Boeing at IOM UK, Tel: + 44 20 7811 6054, Email: