News & Events


The UN Migration Agency (IOM) in the United Kingdom, this past weekend (23/09), partnered with renowned artist Salma Zulfiqar and Birmingham-based charity the Amirah Foundation to host a creative art workshop at the Library of Birmingham, on empowering migrant women as part of the Birmingham Weekend Festival, the city’s largest annual community arts festival.

The event recognised that female migrants in the UK face specific challenges and vulnerabilities, and attempts to promote integration of female migrants into British society. The workshop focused on creating better understanding between women from different ethnic backgrounds by exploring perceptions on Britishness.

IOM UK’s participation in the event demonstrates an extension of IOM’s ongoing commitment to community integration of refugees and migrants in the UK. IOM UK works extensively with beneficiaries, local authorities and community groups to aid the successful integration of refugees and migrants into UK society, including through cultural orientation programmes, information sessions, and community engagement.

According to 2015 statistics, women comprise approximately 52 per cent of the UK migrant population. Women face particular obstacles in community integration. IOM’s work in the UK has found that female migrants, including refugees, are less likely than their male counterparts to engage actively with employers, government and civil society actors.

Consequently, female migrants may suffer from additional marginalisation as a result of isolation from society, and reduced opportunities for language learning, education and employment. Events such as this art workshop devised by Salma Zulfiqar demonstrate a crucial step to aid positive experiences in exploring individual and British identity, to the benefit of both migrant women and British society as a whole.
“Integration is key in creating peaceful societies, in preventing hate crimes and ultimately prevents extremism,” Zulfiqar said.

Workshop participant Salaam Al Farrah, a refugee originating from Syria, reflected on her experiences in the UK. “I live in an area where there are Indians, Pakistanis and people originally from Jamaica and I love it! I know it’s important for me to integrate into society. I want to be part of this community and I want to learn more about the English culture so that I can support my family properly and so that we can enjoy our lives in the UK.”

The event is part of Salma Zulfiqar’s ongoing exhibition at the Library of Birmingham, ‘Building Peace through the Oceans’, which aims to promote migrant integration and illustrate the positive contributions that migrants have made.
For further information, please contact Jessica Williams at IOM UK, Tel: + 44 20 7811 6063, Email: or Christopher Gaul, Tel: + 4420 7811 6053, Email:

By Jessica Williams

Every year, the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September.

Events for the International Day of Peace aim to promote global peace, security and non-violence. On this day, the United Nations (UN) is calling on all nations to honour a cessation of hostilities and to promote and celebrate the Day through education, public awareness events and campaigns on issues related to peace.
In 2017, the United Nations has declared the theme for the Day as “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.” This particular theme aims to promote respect, safety and dignity for refugees and migrants.

This theme complements a broader UN campaign, “TOGETHER”, a global initiative that seeks to strengthen social cohesion between host countries and communities, and refugees and migrants.

The TOGETHER campaign emerged as part of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants adopted by all 193 UN Member States on 19 September 2016. The New York Declaration outlines a set of commitments to enhance the protection of refugees and migrants. The Declaration recognises the need for global cooperation on a comprehensive and humane approach to current and future challenges relating to large movements of refugees and migrants. Pivotally, the Declaration established concrete plans for the negotiation of a Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular migration, to be adopted by UN Member States in 2018.

According to 2015 statistics, approximately 8.5 million international migrants live in the UK.[[i]] Persons born outside of the UK make up 13.5% of the national population. Within Inner London, non-UK born people make up 41% of the population. [[ii]] The canvas of the UK national population is tied up with the identity of migrants from all over the world.

The benefits of migrants and refugees are vast in potential. Peaceful relations can be extremely positive to building communities, and providing social and economic benefits. When governed humanely to promote safety, respect and dignity, migration presents huge advantages in fuelling economic and social growth, innovation, entrepreneurship, and improving living standards.

A 2016 study by the International Monetary Fund found that the in advanced economies, both low-skilled and high-skilled migration results in an increased GDP per capita in the host society, mostly by raising labour productivity. The study found that a 1 percent increase in the adult migrant population can raise GDP per capita by up to 2 percent in the long-term.[[iii]] Similar studies by the University College London,[[iv]] and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD),[[v]] have found positive social and economic contributions of migration. These contributions include bridging skills gaps, increasing the number of tax-payers, and stimulating innovation and technological progress.

Peaceful relations in heterogeneous societies require successful integration. The UN Migration Agency, International Organization for Migration (IOM), is working to facilitate the successful integration of refugees and migrants into the UK community. The process of “integration” promoted by IOM recognises that successful integration is a two-way process, where refugees and migrants and host communities have a good understanding of each other’s expectations, cultural differences and practices. This process aims to strengthen social cohesion between host communities and refugees and migrants, and to move away from a position of fear and towards a position of mutual trust and peace.

Activities IOM in the UK undertakes to promote peaceful integration include cultural orientation programs, information sessions delivered to receiving communities, training workshops, media engagement and advocacy.

As individuals, or community groups, we can similarly undertake activities to foster social cohesion. Individual and community activities can demonstrate solidarity, increase cross-cultural understanding and build trust. This may include through personal education, local community engagement, or attendance at local or global events, including those in support of the International Day of Peace.

One such community event occurring for the International Day of Peace is “One Day One Choir”. One Day One Choir is a global choral project, launched in 2014, which aims to utilise the harmonising and unifying power of singing as a response to violence and unrest. Many community events are located throughout the UK and are further detailed on the One Day One Choir website.

By working toward effective integration of migrants and refugees, we can help to promote a society of respect, safety and dignity for all.

[[i]] According to United Nations, Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) – Trends in International Migrants Stock: The 2015 Revision (POP/DB/MIG/Stock/Rev.2015, Table 2) ( – as published by IOM at
[[ii]] According to The Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford -
[[iii]] International Monetary Fund, Spillover Taskforce, ‘Impact of Migration on Income Level s in Advanced Economies’ – Florence Jaumotte, Ksenia Koloskova, and Sweta C. Saxena, 2016.
[[iv]] University College London, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration, Christian Dustmann and Tommaso Frattini, “The Fiscal Effects of Immigration to the UK”, Economic Journal, Vol.124, Issue 580, pages F593–F643, 2014.
[[v]] OECD, Migration Policy Debates, ‘Is migration good for the economy?’, May 2014,

New research developed jointly by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Walk Free Foundation, in partnership with IOM, the UN Migration Agency has revealed the true scale of modern slavery around the world.

The data, released during the United Nations General Assembly, shows that more than 40 million people around the world were victims of modern slavery in 2016. ILO has also released a companion estimate of child labour, which confirms that about 152 million children, aged between 5 and 17, were subject to child labour.

The new estimates show that women and girls are disproportionately affected by modern slavery, accounting for almost 29 million, or 71 per cent of the overall total. Women represent 99 per cent of victims of forced labour in the commercial sex industry and 84 per cent of people in a forced marriage.

The research reveals that among the 40 million victims of modern slavery, about 25 million were in forced labour, and 15 million were living in a forced marriage.

Child labour remains concentrated primarily in agriculture (70.9 per cent). Almost one in five child labourers work in the services sector (17.1 per cent) while 11.9 per cent of child labourers work in industry.

Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General, said: “The message the ILO is sending today – together with our partners in Alliance 8.7 – is very clear: the world won’t be in a position to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals unless we dramatically increase our efforts to fight these scourges. These new global estimates can help shape and develop interventions to prevent both forced labour and child labour.”

Andrew Forrest AO, Chairman and Founder of the Walk Free Foundation, said: “The fact that as a society, we have the brilliance to create something are remarkable as artificial intelligence, but we still have 40 million people in modern slavery shames us all. It speaks to the deep-seated discrimination and inequalities in our world today, coupled with a shocking tolerance of exploitation. This has to stop. We all have a role to play in changing this reality – business, government, civil society, every one of us.”

About the data
The new global estimates are produced by ILO and Walk Free Foundation, in partnership with IOM, as a contribution towards Alliance 8.7. Central to the estimates of modern slavery is data from 54 specially designed, random sample surveys involving interviews with more than 71,000 respondents across 48 countries, alongside data from close to 40,000 victims of human trafficking assisted by IOM. Alliance 8.7 is the global partnership to end forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour that brings together key partners representing governments, UN organisations, the private sector, workers’ and employers’ organizations and civil society in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goal Target 8.7.

The data is published in two reports:
  • Global estimates of modern slavery: Forced labour and forced marriage, prepared jointly by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and Walk Free Foundation, in partnership with IOM, the UN Migration Agency
  • Global estimates of child labour: Results and trends, 2012-2016, prepared by the International Labour Organization (ILO)
The 2017 Global Estimates can be found online at

For more information, please contact Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:

Migrant and refugee children and youth trying to reach Europe face appalling levels of human rights abuses, with 77 per cent of those traveling along the Central Mediterranean route reporting direct experiences of abuse, exploitation, and practices which may amount to human trafficking – IOM, the UN Migration Agency and UNICEF said today (12/09) in a new report.

Harrowing Journeys shows that while all migrants and refugees are at high risk, children and youth on the move are far more likely to experience exploitation and trafficking than adults aged 25 years and above: nearly twice as likely on the Eastern Mediterranean route and at a rate 13 per cent higher on the Central Mediterranean route.

Aimamo, a 16-year-old unaccompanied child from the Gambia interviewed at a shelter in Italy, described being forced into months of gruelling manual labour by traffickers upon his arrival in Libya. “If you try to run, they shoot you. If you stop working, they beat you. We were just like slaves. At the end of the day, they just lock you inside.”

The report is based on the testimonies of some 22,000 migrants and refugees, including some 11,000 children and youth, interviewed by IOM.

“For people who leave their countries to escape violence, instability or poverty, the factors pushing them to migrate are severe and they make perilous journeys knowing that they may be forced to pay with their dignity, their wellbeing or even their lives,” said Eugenio Ambrosi, IOM’s Regional Director for the EU, Norway and Switzerland.

“Without the establishment of more regular migration pathways, other measures will be relatively ineffective. We must also re-invigorate a rights-based approach to migration, improving mechanisms to identify and protect the most vulnerable throughout the migration process, regardless of their legal status.”
“The stark reality is that it is now standard practice that children moving through the Mediterranean are abused, trafficked, beaten and discriminated against,” said Afshan Khan, UNICEF Regional Director and Special Coordinator for the Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe. “EU leaders should put in place lasting solutions that include safe and legal migration pathways, establishing protection corridors and finding alternatives to the detention of migrant children.”

The report also shows that, while all children on the move are at high risk, those originating from sub-Saharan Africa are far more likely to experience exploitation and trafficking than those from other parts of the world: 65 per cent compared to 15 per cent along the Eastern Mediterranean route, and 83 per cent compared to 56 per cent along the Central Mediterranean route. Racism is likely a major underlying factor behind this discrepancy.

Children and youth traveling alone or over longer periods, along with those possessing lower levels of education, were also found to be highly vulnerable to exploitation at the hands of traffickers and criminal groups over the course of their journeys. According to the report, the Central Mediterranean route is particularly dangerous, with most of the migrants and refugees passing through Libya which remains riven with lawlessness, militias and criminality. On average, young people pay between USD 1,000-5,000 for the journey and often arrive in Europe in debt, which exposes them to further risks.

The report calls on all concerned parties − countries of origin, transit and destination, the African Union, the European Union, international and national organizations with support from the donor community – to prioritize a series of actions.

These include establishing safe and regular pathways for children on the move; strengthening services to protect migrant and refugee children whether in countries of origin, transit or destination; finding alternatives to the detention of children on the move; working across borders to combat trafficking and exploitation; and combating xenophobia, racism and discrimination against all migrants and refugees.

For more information, please contact:
Ryan Schroeder, IOM Brussels, Tel: +32 22 87 71 16, Email:
Harry Cook, IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 798 829 313, Email:
Jorge Galindo, IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 71 79 205, Email:
Christopher Tidey, UNICEF New York, Tel: +1 917 340 3017, Email:
Simon Ingram, UNICEF Brussels, Tel: +32 491 90 5118, Email:
Sarah Crowe, UNICEF Geneva, Tel: +41 79 543 80 29, Email:

Counter-trafficking specialists announced the pre-launch of the Counter-Trafficking Data Collaborative (CTDC) at the 5th Global Compact for Migration (GCM) consultations in Vienna. The CTDC is the result of a joint initiative led by IOM, the UN Migration Agency and Polaris, an independent organization combating modern slavery. Its online portal will consist of a global repository of data on human trafficking that protects the identities of victims, and uses a new international standard.

The announcement took place at a parallel event during the GCM consultations. At the pre-launch, IOM stressed the important role of the CTDC to fill the gap in terms of publicly available data on human trafficking. Harry Cook, IOM Data Management and Research Specialist stressed that the lack of data on human trafficking and the hurdles to collect it in a harmonized manner are two main problems for the counter-trafficking movement.

The CTDC will be the first global repository of its kind and will host primary data from counter-trafficking organizations around the world, helping deepen the understanding of vulnerability-producing contexts that migrants encounter during their migration process.

“We all want counter trafficking efforts to be as effective and efficient as possible, and in order to do that, they need to be based on real information about the problem,” said Sara Crowe, Polaris’ Associate Director in charge of data systems.

The CTDC will combine datasets including over 45,000 victim records from IOM and more than 31,000 cases of human trafficking from Polaris. Global data from other organizations is expected to enrich the current repository, which will facilitate an unparalleled level of cross border, trans-agency analysis and provide the counter-trafficking movement with a comprehensive understanding of the issue.

“We must examine how to harness the data revolution and modern technology in the fight against human trafficking. Modern technology is allowing us to make data accessible to external stakeholders through sophisticated anonymization, data protection, and data sharing techniques,” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing.

Following the pre-launch event, the CTDC teams will focus on increasing promotion and awareness of the CTDC as a resource for relevant academics and actors within the counter-trafficking community.

Combatting trafficking in persons, as well as smuggling of migrants and contemporary forms of slavery play a pivotal role in the consultations leading up to the GCM negotiations in 2018.

The GCM thematic consultations in Vienna (4-5/09) focused on smuggling of migrants, trafficking in persons and contemporary forms of slavery, including appropriate identification, protection and assistance to migrants and trafficking victims.

The next and final thematic session to be held in Geneva on 12-13 October, will address irregular migration and regular pathways, including decent work, labor mobility, recognition of skills and qualifications, and other relevant measures.
For more information please contact Jorge Galindo at IOM HQ, Tel: +417179205, Email:

IOM Director General William Lacy Swing addressed high-level government and UN officials, practitioners, and civil society on 5th September 2017 at the UN Center in Vienna, calling on States to carry out their commitments to combat migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons.

This is the fifth in a series of six sessions covering a range of issues on migration. It provides an opportunity to debate and examine actions taken, as well as gaps in responses to the smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons. The session also provides a platform for States and agencies to share best practices and launch new initiatives.

Panel discussions examine topics related to investigating and prosecuting criminal actors, preventing smuggling and trafficking in persons, protecting and providing assistance to victims of trafficking, and national and cross-border coordination and cooperation.

On Tuesday 5 September, IOM will co-host with Polaris the pre-launch event of the Counter Trafficking Data Collaborative (CTDC), a new global repository of harmonized human trafficking data, during a side event co-organized by the United Kingdom with closing remarks by IOM Director General. Today (04/09), IOM will host another side event with UNODC and the Republic of Turkey on supporting new models of cooperation to counter migrant smuggling. More information on both events can be found here.

IOM continues to provide policy and technical expertise to the Offices of the President of the General Assembly and the Special Representative for the Secretary-General (SRSG) on International Migration, who serves as the Secretary-General for the intergovernmental process to adopt a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM). A sixth and final thematic session will take place in Geneva in October to be followed by a stocktaking meeting in December and intergovernmental negotiations beginning next year.

For more information please contact:
In Vienna: Joe Lowry, Tel: +43660 3776404, Email:
In Geneva: Leonard Doyle, Tel: +41792857123, Email: or
In New York: Lanna Walsh, Tel: +1929 9201127, Email
Report Launch Event
Fatal Journeys Volume 3:
Improving Data on Missing Migrants

Research from the IOM Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC)
13 September 2017, from 6 to 8 pm
Venue: Frontline Club,
13 Norfolk Place, London W2 1QJ

Since 2014, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has recorded the deaths of more than 22,500 migrants worldwide. This figure is a significant measure of the human toll of unsafe migration, but still fails to capture the true number of people who have died or gone missing on their journey for a better life.

This event will share the key messages of Fatal Journeys Volume 3 – Part 1, the third volume of the global report on migrant fatalities published by IOM. The editors of the report will speak about three sets of issues: (i) what we know (ii) gaps and how to improve data on missing migrants (iii) the role of the media.

For further information about the event and to register, please HERE.

This material has been funded by UK aid from the UK government; however the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK government’s official policies.