News & Events


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:
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Italy Spokesperson, Tel: +393470898996, Email:
Ivona Zakoska, DTM regional coordinator, or

Related documents:
Migrant Vulnerability to Human Trafficking and Exploitation: Evidence from the Central and Eastern Mediterranean route (Report)
A demonstrator marches to the Houses of Parliament, during a protest in support of refugees in London, September 17, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

“What the world needs now, is love, sweet love”, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) UK’s partner, the Mixed up Chorus Choir sings. It’s a cold night in a community hall in London. This is a non-auditioning choir: everyone is welcome, and everyone’s voice is valued, no matter how different it is, because when everyone sings together in harmony, a sweet symphony arises.

As the United Nations Migration Agency, we are celebrating the theme of integration to mark International Migrants Day this year in the UK. In recent times, communities have seen a widening gap between their native citizens and migrants. There is a fear of the “other” – the migrant – which prevents productive dialogue, both between and within groups. This fear risks further entrenching polarised views and moves us away from constructing a shared set of values and norms - ones that can be established through community activities fostering connection and integration.

This is by no means the first time the importance of shared interests and common ground for the successful integration of migrants has been pointed out. Choirs and sports, are excellent mechanisms for supporting positive relationships and building the basis of thriving multicultural communities. The New Mixed Up Chorus choir provides a platform for migrants to share their stories and express a community voice through music. Recent studies have suggested that choral singing promotes increased speed of social bonding, and is effective for bringing together large groups.

What more can we be doing to encourage the acknowledgement that we are in fact more similar than we might think? As MP Jo Cox so poignantly stated, “we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us”. Discussing the refugee situation in schools can ensure that our communities are more aware of the existing division. The British Red Cross has created resources to encourage primary school children to discuss their perception of refugees. At secondary level, students are encouraged to think about what it would be like to feel unsafe in their own homes and what they would take with them if they were forced to flee. Ideas such as these create a space in which we can educate the youngest members of our community how to respect migrants and alleviate fear of the “other”.

These activities and local integration policies can lay common foundations in our communities: assuring people that their way of life will not be eroded, while affording migrants the opportunity to engage, live in safety, and be included in their new home community. Existing research, including from the McKinsey Institute, University College London, OECD and the IMF posits that effectively managed migration presents advantages in fuelling social growth and innovation, economic gains, entrepreneurship, and improving living standards.[1] These reports highlight that focusing on long-term integration is vital.

City of Sanctuary, a grassroots movement, is building a network of towns throughout the UK which offer support to those in need of safety. By creating a sense of community and shared action, individuals are offered a safe space in which to confront their assumptions and fears of migration, and relate to the similarities between their own lives and the lives of others. Integration efforts however, come in more than one form. In November this year, IOM UK accompanied a group of refugees to a football match at Wembley Stadium. This served as an example of an existing community space that can provide a common purpose for integration. The results of using an existing communal atmosphere were incomparable.

A comprehensive approach by the government and society to integration is important for achieving successful outcomes that lead to strengthened social cohesion, greater economic activity and a win-win for the refugees and host societies. This International Migrants Day, we seek to celebrate these initiatives fostering integration and emphasise the need to continue to support these initiatives. Further development of a national integration strategy, and also more localised integration strategies supported by both government and community groups are therefore vital.

Opinion piece by Dipti Pardeshi, Chief of Mission at IOM UK, first published by Thomson Reuters Foundation News.

[1] McKinsey Global Institute, ‘People on the Move: Global Migration’s Impact and Opportunity’, - J Woetzel et al, December 2016.
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.
OECD, Migration Policy Debates, ‘Is migration good for the economy?’, May 2014
International Monetary Fund, Spillover Taskforce, ‘Impact of Migration on Income Levels in Advanced Economies’ – Florence Jaumotte, Ksenia Koloskova, and Sweta C. Saxena, 2016.

IOM UK chaired the third national conference focusing on Improving Mental Health Support for Asylum Seekers and Refugees, organised by Healthcare Conferences UK yesterday (07/12) in Manchester, United Kingdom.

The event, moderated by Amanda Salomonsson, IOM UK Project Officer and Lead for Mental Health & Psychosocial Response, brought together speakers from Doctors of the World UK, the British Red Cross, Mind, The Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust, and other services within NHS and the voluntary sector.

The event enabled participants to hear about lived experiences from a refugee perspective, the mental health needs and concerns of refugee communities, including providing emotional first aid for refugees, and raised important questions of how we can work together to help to re-establish refugees’ trust in humanity and services and to improve practice in building resilience and improving care of unaccompanied children.

Since 1999, IOM has provided mental health and psychosocial support to migrants and host communities and has implemented programmes dedicated to improving the availability and quality of psychosocial support in over 45 countries worldwide. In the UK, IOM has recently been involved in a pre-departure mental health pilot initiative for UK-bound refugees using the Global Mental Health Assessment Tool (GMHAT).

For more information, please contact Amanda Salomonsson at IOM UK: Tel: 0207 811 6034, Email:

IOM UK partnered with the women-led creative group Migration Collective to host the participative event "Young People in the ‘Refugee Crises’" Short Films + Roundtable, at the famous Upstairs at the Ritzy as part of this year’s London Migration Film Festival (LMFF), on Sunday (03/12).

Under the framework of IOM UK’s community cohesion, the LMFF was selected as the forum to mark this year’s International Migrants Day (18/12), and as a local partner to IOM’s own Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF) running from 5-18 December and global youth migration film competition, Plural+.

The sell-out Ritzy event focused on the experiences of young refugees and migrants as told in their own words via media production, and facilitated a public discussion on integration and inclusion. Alongside the unique contributions of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and London-based children’s charity CORAM, the event featured the GMFF entry ‘Misafir - A Guest’ and the winner of the Plural+ Special Award for the Prevention of Xenophobia, Be a Champion for Social Inclusion.

Testimony to IOM’s recognition of youth as powerful agents of social change, the screenings were introduced by Plural+ winner Gabriel Brown, who gave a powerful speech on the importance of community action; and Omed Hawrami, a member of the CORAM Young Citizen’s network who dynamically engaged the public to explore the concept of belonging, topic featured in What Does Belonging Mean to You?

“We must tackle the discriminatory views and comments of others and ourselves in order to achieve a society where all people can be accepted and integrated into our world as valuable members of national and international society”, Gabriel said.

Important was also MSF’s intervention which focused on their work with young refugees and migrants in Calais and Paris, and counter-balanced the often dehumanising migration narrative with the short Sorry I drowned.

The successful roundtable discussion saw numerous thought-provoking interventions, which highlighted the public’s shared desire to foster community cohesion and conveyed a heartfelt wish for a more humane migration management.

Reflecting on his involvement with Young Citizens, Omed gave the public a glimpse of how important integration initiatives can be. “Since being involved in Coram’s Young Citizens project I have increased my confidence, improved my speech, met lots of amazing people and got involved in other projects”. Sharing his hopes for the future “I hope we can work together to make a change for children and young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds: that all will have access to free education and good housing. I hope we will achieve equality.”

IOM UK’s involvement in the event demonstrates the organisation’s commitment to uphold children’s rights in the field of migration. Just this week (04-06/12), IOM’s Director General, William Lacy Swing, attended the UN Intergovernmental Conference to adopt the Global Compact on Migration (GCM), in Mexico. The meeting saw UN Member States and civil society starting the drafting of the GCM, a landmark intergovernmental agreement that will cover all dimensions of international migration, including protecting the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all refugee and migrant children.

For further information, please contact Francesca Megna at IOM UK, Tel: + 44 207 811 6068, Email: or Christopher Gaul, Tel: + 4420 7811 6053, Email:

IOM Deputy Director General, Ambassador Laura Thompson yesterday (15/11) participated in the 4th Global Conference on the Sustainable Eradication of Child Labour in Buenos Aires, where she spoke on the High-Level Panel From Work Without a Future to a Future of Decent Work – SDG 8.7 and Beyond.

The conference – which seeks to help strengthen global efforts to eradicate all forms of child labour by the year 2025, as required by the Target 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) – is focussed on the sustained eradication of child labour and the elimination of forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking, amongst others.

Ambassador Thompson was joined on the panel by Guy Ryder, Director General of the ILO; Kailash Satyarth, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate; Linda Kromjong, Secretary General of the International Organization of Employers (IOE); Franciso Martinez, ADECCO Group CEO in Argentina; Christy Hoffman, Deputy General Secretary of UNI Global Union and Khouloud Mannai, a young Tunisian activist.

“The future of the work is today, not in five, ten or twenty years. A world without child labour and without forced labour is the basics, we have to start from there," said Ambassador Thompson. "In the globalized world of today we're looking for a world where labour markets are driven by qualifications and skills, and not by administrative measures," Thompson added.

“We need inclusive societies which give women the possibility to access what men can access today. We don’t need to empower women, women are powerful, we just need to give them access to opportunities,” said Ambassador Thompson. [Watch video].

During her visit to Buenos Aires, Ambassador Thompson also met with Argentinian authorities to discuss issues of common interest.

The conference, which ends today (16/11), is organized by Argentina’s Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security, in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO). Delegates from the United Nations Member States and organizations of employers and workers from 193 countries also attended the event.

In parallel, IOM is participating in two side events at the conference, where IOM Specialists Mathieu Luciano from IOM HQ and Agueda Marín from IOM South America will talk about the importance of reliable data on victims, as well as the role of the GCM in tackling child labour.

For more information, please contact Débora Taicz, IOM Argentina, Email:, Tel: + 54 11 4815 1035.

To mark Anti-Slavery Day in 2017, IOM UK hosted an event drawing on the findings of the IOM and UNICEF joint report ‘Harrowing Journeys’ launched in September 2017. The event brought together speakers from IOM, UNICEF UK and the Rt Hon Fiona Mactaggart, former co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on human trafficking. The event was moderated by Lucy Lamble, Associate Editor for Global Development at The Guardian.

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.
The report also highlights that travelling on the Central Mediterranean route is particularly dangerous, with most of the migrants and refugees passing through Libya where state institutions are weak and lawlessness and violence widespread.

Alieu, 17, who travelled through Libya on his journey from the Gambia to Italy, where he is seeking asylum, described shockingly pervasive violence: “Everybody has a gun,” he says, “Small boys – that’s what really surprised me – old men. Everybody has an AK-47. "

“The lack of safe and regular migration pathways heightens the risk of trafficking and exploitation for children and youth on the move” said Irina Todorova, Senior Regional Migrant Assistance Specialist (Counter-Trafficking and Child Protection), IOM Regional Office for the EU, Norway and Switzerland.

UNICEF has been gathering evidence to support the protection of children which shows that perpetrators benefit from the existing flaws in the system. “Safer legal routes mean smugglers and traffickers have fewer opportunities to exploit children.” said Stefan Stoyanov, Senior Policy and Advocacy Adviser (Trafficking and Exploitation), UNICEF UK.

Children who are alone and seeking sanctuary are always vulnerable and at high risk of abuse and exploitation. The narrowing of legal channels to the UK pushes these children into the hands of traffickers. The Dubs scheme provided a legal route for children to come and live safely in the UK. However, the chaotic manner in which it was enacted on the ground has created a lack of trust in official pathways resulting in children putting themselves at harm and turning to criminals to help them make their journeys to Europe.
Discussions during the Q&A session focussed on practical steps the Home Office and Police can take to support children following the trauma of their journeys and the exploitation and abuse they have faced. Frontline professionals with a duty of care who encounter children called for safeguards to be guaranteed in existing procedures, to ensure that children are protected.

“A child is a child and we all have a responsibility to protect them.” said the Rt Hon Fiona Mactaggart.

The report findings emphasise the urgent need for action to protect those most vulnerable on the move. 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 combatting xenophobia, racism and discrimination against all migrants and refugees.
Children and youth are at the heart of IOM’s global mandate on migration. IOM will continue to provide protection and assistance to migrant children and youth, especially unaccompanied and separated children and youth.

To read the full report please click HERE.

For further information, please contact Catherine Cullen on or 0207 811 6077.

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: