News & Events

22/12/17

There are specific risk factors associated with increased migrant vulnerability to exploitation, violence, abuse and human trafficking, according to a new report published yesterday (21/12) by IOM, the UN Migration Agency.

The report, titled Migrant Vulnerability to Human Trafficking and Exploitation: Evidence from the Central and Eastern Mediterranean Migration Routes, analyses quantitative data on vulnerability factors and personal experiences of abuse, violence, exploitation, and human trafficking collected over the past two years from 16,500 migrants in 7 countries. While other IOM reports have documented the scale of exploitation on the main migration routes to Europe, this report is the first to identify key factors associated with increased vulnerability to exploitation and human trafficking during the migration journey.

“The findings contribute to our understanding of the factors that contribute to migrants’ vulnerability to abuse, exploitation and trafficking,” said Anh Nguyen, IOM Head of Migrant Assistance Division. “It improves the evidence available for policies to better identify and protect vulnerable migrants on their journeys, in line with IOM’s determinants of migrant vulnerability model,” he added.

“This report illustrates the kind of analysis that can be done with a unique set of survey data collected by IOM. The Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) plays a key role in providing a better understanding of the movements and evolving needs of mobile populations along the major migration corridors” said Nuno Nunes, DTM Global Coordinator.

The analysis found that migrants travelling the Central Mediterranean route are more vulnerable to exploitation and human trafficking than migrants on the Eastern Mediterranean route, even when they share similar demographic and journey characteristics. Moreover, West Africans are more vulnerable to human trafficking and exploitation than migrants from other countries. In general, the presence of conflict in the country of departure predicts a higher vulnerability to exploitation and human trafficking on the journey. Individuals who travel alone are more vulnerable than migrants who travel in groups. Also, the longer or more costly their journey, the more likely it is that a migrants will be exploited along the way. Male migrants are more likely to experience forced and unpaid labour, or being held against their will, than female migrants.

The report also found that the factors that predict child migrants’ vulnerability to human trafficking and exploitation are similar to the factors associated with adult migrants’ vulnerability. In addition, migrants report that Libya is particularly unsafe, which is a major driver of onward migration towards what they perceive to be safer destinations.

This IOM analysis provides practical recommendations for improved programming along the main migration routes to Europe. These include the early identification and protection for all vulnerable migrants, taking into account the different risks that men, boys, women and girls may face during their journeys, and the different types of exploitation they may be subject to.

About the Determinants of Migrant Vulnerability Model

In 2016, IOM developed a framework for analyzing and responding to migrant vulnerability. This framework was specifically developed to address the protection and assistance needs of a specific sub-set of migrants: those who have experienced or are vulnerable to violence, abuse, or exploitation before, during, or after the migration process. It was also designed to be flexible enough to assess vulnerability of both individual migrants and migrant groups.

The framework differs from other conceptualizations of migrant vulnerability that focus on an individual migrant’s membership in a particular category, such as refugee, irregular migrant, or victim of trafficking, or on a single characteristic, such as age or sex. Rather, the determinants of migrant vulnerability framework looks at a range of factors at individual, household, community, and structural levels and assesses if these factors contribute to risk of, or protect against, violence, exploitation, or abuse within a migration context.
It considers the overall level of vulnerability of an individual migrant, or a migration-affected household, community, or group, to violence, abuse, or exploitation before, during, or after a migration process, or their ability to avoid, resist, cope with, or recover from such maltreatment, as the net impact of the interaction of these factors at different levels. It also considers the ways in which households, families, communities, and the state can mitigate vulnerability and reduce harm.

About DTM

The report findings are based on statistical models that use over 16,500 interviews with migrants. The data was collected through a network of field workers as part of IOM’s DTM flow monitoring operations in the Mediterranean, from December 2015 to November 2016.

The Flow Monitoring Survey on which the analysis of this report is based is a tool used by IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), a modular system developed by IOM, which tracks and monitors displacement and population mobility so that decision makers and responders can better understand the movements and needs of displaced people. The Flow Monitoring Survey unites two DTM components – the flow monitoring and the surveys. While flow monitoring aims to derive quantitative estimates of the flow of individuals through specific locations and to collect information about the profiles, intentions and needs of the people moving, the surveys component of DTM is used to enrich and complement the other components. It describes characteristics and provides a deeper understanding of populations of concern (such as internally displaced people, returnees, migrants).

For more information, please contact:
Jorge Galindo, IOM HQ, Tel: +41227179205, Email: jgalindo@iom.int
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Italy Spokesperson, Tel: +393470898996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int
Ivona Zakoska, DTM regional coordinator, izakoska@iom.int or dtmmediterranean@iom.int

Related documents:
Migrant Vulnerability to Human Trafficking and Exploitation: Evidence from the Central and Eastern Mediterranean route (Report)
-