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Updated: 1 hour 7 min ago

IOM, LaLiga Partnership Highlights International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 05:54

Cairo – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) signed a partnership with LaLiga, the Spanish top tier football league, under the auspices of the Egyptian Ministry of Youth and Sports Thursday, on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. 

“Racial discrimination is an unfortunate existing situation – still vivid, even increasing – in several continents. Xenophobia affects societies and human beings all over the world,” explained Laurent De Boeck, IOM Egypt’s Chief of Mission. “Migrants are the primary victims of such abuse, and IOM strongly believes that discrimination is a direct attack against basic integrity and fair treatment of human beings.”

The signing ceremony in Cairo, was attended by the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Dr. Amr El Hadad, De Boeck and LaLiga’s Official Delegate in Egypt, Juan Fuentes Fernandez.

The unprecedented partnership will pave the way for future collaborations between the two institutions joining efforts to combat racial discrimination and other issues related to migration where football can help raise awareness.

"There is no doubt that football is a tool that can help us to achieve our goals, since it is a leading sport to which everyone pays attention," said De Boeck.

Fuentes Fernandez said: "Professional football is a sport which involves a significant number of players moving between countries, and all players who come from outside Spain are migrants. That is why partnering with IOM is important and necessary to raise awareness on migration, discrimination in societies." 

While football and sports in general are an excellent vector to gather people in an atmosphere of games, it is vulnerable to abuse, especially for the exploitation of young players. Traffickers and smugglers pose as fictitious or illegitimate agents from European teams, offering dreams to hopeful youth wishing for a career in football.  

Worldwide, IOM works daily on combating trafficking in persons, along with governmental officials, launching awareness-raising campaigns to the migrants and their host communities.  

IOM also provides direct support to abused youth. Such was the case, De Boeck said, of ‘Gerard’, a young man who was trafficked from Guinea to France. With his parents ill and unable to work, ‘Gerard’ planned to become the next breadwinner in the family. He paid an agent almost USD 5,000 as advance for the plane tickets and the expenses to migrate to France. The agent disappeared and left him in the suburbs of Paris, without documents and money, facing humiliation and failure.

IOM later helped ‘Gerard’ return home, where he found a job which allowed him to support his family.  

Through this agreement LaLiga and IOM will contribute to Egypt’s Sustainable Development Strategy: Vision 2030, by supporting the social justice pillar. The partnership will also be in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, namely Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities, Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions and Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals.

For more information, please contact Omar Awwad at IOM Egypt, Tel: +2 02 2736 5140/1 and Mobile +20 103 2049144, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, March 22, 2019 - 12:52Image: Region-Country: EgyptThemes: Counter-TraffickingDiversity and IntegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Laurent De Boeck, IOM Chief of Mission in Egypt speaks at the launch of partnership with LaLiga. Photo: IOM

Laurent De Boeck, IOM Chief of Mission in Egypt (r) and Juan Fuentes Fernandez, LaLiga’s Official Delegate in Egypt. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Private Sector Joins IOM to Enhance Skills of Gambian Returnees

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 05:48

Banjul – Abba Wollow left The Gambia in 2016 with hopes of reaching Europe. “I left The Gambia because the small garage I was working on was not enough to support my family,” he explained. “I left to find something better for them.”

Instead his journey ended in Libya, where he stayed for two years, in and out of prison. “When I came back, I was still finding ways to support my family,” he said of the struggles he faced after voluntarily returning home in February 2018.

In June 2018, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) signed an agreement with the National Youth Service Scheme (NYSS), under the Ministry of Youth and Sports, to provide Technical and Vocational Educational Training (TVET) to 200 Gambian returned migrants. Through this agreement, NYSS taps into the expertise of four private sector enterprises and two government training centres to deliver training in various skill areas to returnees like Abba.

“I am thankful for the opportunity to undergo a three-month training in mechanics,” said Abba, who is now one of 101 young Gambians to complete the programme. On Tuesday 19 March 2019, the trainees formally graduated from their three-month training in construction, carpentry, electronics, mechanics, plumbing, tailoring, welding and many other sectors. Each of them will receive a start-up kit consisting of the basic materials and tools necessary to set-up and operate a workshop in their chosen sector.

The graduation, the second one in four months, marks IOM’s commitment to the sustainable reintegration of more than 3,600 Gambians who voluntarily returned from Libya and Niger since 2017.

“We recognized the massive potential and willingness of returnees to ‘make it in The Gambia’, needing just a final push to gain meaningful, employable skills,” said Fumiko Nagano, IOM Chief of Mission in the Gambia. “This would not be possible without our partners in the private sector, who have lent their expertise to equipping returnees with the tools they need to succeed.”

“We, as the private sector, are able to provide returnees with skills or facilitate their job placement. This will give them a livelihood they can depend on,” said Jean Abel Thomas of the Fajara Skills Development Centre. “We teach our trainees that, if you have the skills, you can turn them into something profitable,” she added, highlighting the growing role of the private sector in assisting vulnerable migrants.

Last November, 13 Gambians formed the first cohort of trainees to graduate from a poultry farming and business start-up programme. “I have been able to sell nearly all my chickens. My customer base has increased significantly,” said Lamin, one of the graduates, three months into his poultry business. Like Lamin, others in the cohort hope to see their farms grow bigger to create employment opportunities in their communities.

“The start-up kits you receive will go a long way towards facilitating your reintegration, with the hope that you will be self-employed or even job creators in The Gambia,” echoed Stephane Meert, Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation, in his remarks to the TVET graduates.

The Technical and Vocational Education and Training programme is implemented in the framework of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration. Since January 2017, IOM has assisted in the voluntary return of over 3,600 Gambians stranded in Libya and Niger. As of March 2019, almost two-thirds of them have received reintegration support. Ensuring the sustainability of reintegration of returned migrants requires a strong collaborative approach with partners from the government, civil society and the private sector.

For more information please contact Miko Alazas at IOM The Gambia; Tel: +220 330 3168, Email: or visit

Language English Posted: Friday, March 22, 2019 - 12:48Image: Region-Country: GambiaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationCapacity BuildingPrivate Sector PartnershipsDefault: Multimedia: 

A Gambian welding graduate with his start-up kit. Photo: IOM/2019 Mariam Njai

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

“It’s Time” to Protect Migrants from TB – New IOM Study Shows Migrants Left Behind

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 05:47

Tbilisi – A pioneering study into tuberculosis and migration shows an urgent need for migrant-focused healthcare to protect extremely vulnerable groups from contracting the killer disease.

The study was carried out by IOM in the South Caucasus countries of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, and reinforced what the Organization has seen on the global stage.

“Migrants often have limited access to health services due to mobility, inadequate information on health-related issues and discrimination,” said Dr. Jaime Calderon, Senior Migration Health Adviser in IOM’s Vienna Regional office, in a statement for World TB Day.

“The South Caucasus is an excellent place to study TB among migrants as people are on the move within the three countries, to and from Russia, Ukraine, Iran, Turkey, Kazakhstan and farther afield,” he added. “This is the first study of its kind and it has given us solid evidence that migrants are being left behind when it comes to protecting them – and the communities they live in – from deadly diseases.”

Although there have been substantial decreases in case notifications over the past decade, TB remains a significant public health issue in the South Caucasus. In 2017, Armenia had 812 cases (27.1 per 100,000 people), Azerbaijan had 7,129 (67 per 100,000) and Georgia had 2,927 notified cases (69 per 100,000). The rates in most EU countries is under 10 per 100,000.

IOM’s study, which was carried out with full participation of the three national governments, consisted of surveys, qualitative and quantitative research, rapid assessment, sampling, data collection, screening, interviews, laboratory testing, and data analysis.

It also looked at migration and HIV, as the two diseases are often found together, and take a high toll on migrants.

“We found that among migrants in the three countries there was a lack of knowledge about specific risks, signs and symptoms of HIV and TB,” said Dr Calderon. “In addition, there was wide agreement that migrants would not seek HIV or TB testing unless required for the purposes of travel, work, on the recommendation of a health-care provider or if they get very sick. This is a loud warning bell for all concerned – Governments, UN agencies, health-related NGOs and the general public.”

The migration process can expose migrants, particularly those in situations of vulnerability, to health risks associated with perilous journeys, including exposure to infectious and communicable diseases, severe psycho-social stressors, violence and abuses.

Ending tuberculosis (TB), HIV and viral hepatitis by 2030 is part of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on health and well-being. A number of socioeconomic and environmental determinants affect ongoing epidemics in European and central Asian countries.

Within the UN Issue-based Coalition on Health and Well-being in Europe and Central Asia, WHO/Europe, together with sister UN agencies, has developed a UN common position paper on ending TB, HIV and viral hepatitis in Europe and central Asia through intersectoral collaboration.

Despite the substantial health improvements that have been reached in the WHO European Region, not all are benefiting, in particular, the marginalized and vulnerable parts of society including victims of human trafficking, migrants and refugees.

Despite the fastest decline in TB incidence in the world, by an average of 5.3 per cent a year since 2006, this region bears the highest proportion of multi drug-resistant TB globally, with only about half of these patients successfully treated.

The full report can be downloaded here.

For more information please contact Sanja Celebic-Lukovac at IOM Georgia, Tel: +96262003227, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, March 22, 2019 - 12:47Image: Region-Country: GeorgiaThemes: Migration HealthDefault: Multimedia: 

A pioneering study into tuberculosis and migration was carried out by IOM in the South Caucasus countries of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

New Report Outlines Displacement, Human Mobility Figures in Lake Chad Basin

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 05:46

Dakar – Since 2014, the Lake Chad Basin crisis has affected some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people in Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad. The violence started in Nigeria in 2009 and escalated in North-eastern Nigeria and the region in 2014-2015.

The crisis, caused by non-state armed groups, the onset of violent communal clashes and climate change, has led to the forced displacement of nearly 4.5 million people, including internally displaced persons, returnees and refugees.

Five years after its first displacement tracking exercise in West Africa, IOM recently released its 2019 report on regional displacement and human mobility in the Lake Chad Basin. The report provides humanitarian and development actors with data on the profiles and locations of the population affected by the protracted crisis to help them ensure a more targeted humanitarian response.

The 2019 report reveals that around 4.2 million displaced individuals were identified by IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) in Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon. An additional 250,000 people are displaced in Niger’s Diffa region and were tracked by the government of Niger.

A 77 per cent increase (800,000 individuals) in the number of returnees compared to 2016 also noted. This illustrates the growing trend towards return movements in the Lake Chad Basin and calls for more attention to the situation of returnee populations in the regions and communities of origin.

“Ten years after the start of the violence in the region, a notable increase in return movements was identified, presenting a major challenge for humanitarian and development actors,” DTM Global support staff member Kristof Orlans stated. “The shift to a phase of high return calls for effective strategies to promote self-reliance and support livelihood opportunities to ensure the sustainability of return movements to locations of origin.”

The 2019 report also reveals that 81 per cent of the displaced population resides in Nigeria. Additionally, people displaced within their own country make up 56 per cent of the total displaced population, returnees account for 40 per cent and out-of-camp refugees (in Cameroon and Niger) represent 4 per cent of individuals displaced by the crisis. The main driver of forced displacement in the region is conflict, which has displaced 94 per cent of the total displacement affected population.

Download report here.

For more information, please contact Kristof Orlans at IOM’s Regional Office for West and Central Africa, Email:, or Ariel Litke, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, March 22, 2019 - 12:44Image: Region-Country: CameroonChadNigeriaSenegalThemes: Internally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

IDPs watch an IOM-sponsored football match between IDP camps in Maiduguri, Nigeria. IOM/Muse Mohammed.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 11,292 in 2019; Deaths Reach 289

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 05:44

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that 11,292 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 20 March, a 13 per cent decrease from the 13,043 arriving during the same period last year. Deaths on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through just over 11 weeks of the year are at 289 individuals – or less than 60 per cent of the total (499 deaths) recorded on the Mediterranean during the same period in 2018 (see chart below).

IOM Italy

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo on Thursday reported a total of 398 migrants have arrived by sea to Italy in 2019, according to official Ministry of Interior figures while 930 migrants have been returned to Libya by the Libyan Coast Guard. So far in March just 136 migrants or refugees have arrived in Italy, after just 60 in the month of February. These are some of the lowest monthly totals in six years. By comparison, in 2018 IOM Italy reported 1,049 arrivals in March, 10,853 in March 2017 and 9,676 in March 2016.

IOM Spain

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported that through 20 March, 5,537 men, women and children have arrived as irregular migrants since the start of this year – an average of about 70 per day. Through this period, irregular migrant arrivals by sea to Spain are 49 per cent of all Mediterranean arrivals of this type; moreover, that total through just over 11 weeks of 2019 is almost 900 more arrivals than Spain saw through the end of April 2018, a four-month period during which IOM reported 4,627 irregular migrant arrivals to Spain by sea, or just under 40 per day.

IOM Greece

IOM Greece reported on Thursday (21/03) that since Tuesday (19/03), the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) knows of at least four incidents requiring search and rescue operation off the islands of Samos and Lesvos. The HCG rescued a total of 244 migrants and transferred them to the respective ports.

Those arrivals join some 475 men, women and children IOM recorded in the three days between 18-20 March arriving at the islands of Lesvos, Samos, Chios and Oinouses, which brought to 5,089 the total number of sea arrivals to Greece this year (see chart below). Irregular arrivals to Greece through 79 days this year are running at a rate of almost 65 arrivals per day, compared with 50 per day through this time in 2018. (see chart)

Missing Migrants Project

2019 is the sixth year of IOM’s efforts to systematically record deaths on migration routes worldwide through its Missing Migrants Project (MMP). Since the beginning of 2014, the Project has recorded the deaths of 31,427 people, including 533 in 2019, 289 on the Mediterranean (see chart below).

Due to the challenges of collecting information about these people and the contexts of their deaths, the true number of fatalities during migration is likely much higher. Therefore, MMP records should only be viewed as indicative, rather than representative across time or geography. 

At least 48 women, men and children drowned in the Western Mediterranean between Morocco and Spain in the past week. On 14 March, a rubber dinghy with 67 passengers sank off the coast of Nador, Morocco. By the time authorities arrived, 44 of those passengers had been lost at sea, including a young girl around 14 years old. Twenty-two people were rescued by the Royal Moroccan Navy, which also recovered the body of one woman.

Four days later (18 March), another boat – this time with 55 passengers – capsized off the coast of Nador.  The bodies of three people who had died during the journey were on board, when a Moroccan Navy vessel arrived. A total of 52 people survived that incident and were brought back to Morocco. Passengers on both boats are reported to all be from Sub-Saharan Africa. 

The number now of recorded deaths on the Western Mediterranean route in 2019 (121) is just one higher than that recorded (120) during the same period last year.  This makes for a worrying trend, as 2018 saw by far the highest annual total of recorded deaths (811) in the Western Mediterranean since MMP began recording such statistics in 2014.        

Also, on the Western Mediterranean, a boat with 20 people, reported to be from southern Morocco, capsized off the coast of Mesti in Sidi Ifni, Morocco, on 17 March. There was only one survivor from this incident. Authorities are continuing to search for 19 others who remain missing. The destination of this voyage is believed to have been the Canary Islands, approximately 330 kilometres from the African coast.

On Tuesday, 19 March, another boat sank off the coast of Libya, between Sabratah and Surman. Not much is known about this incident thus far, although 15 people are known to have survived, while six others remain missing at sea. The body of an infant was recovered by Libyan authorities on that boat. The whereabouts of the baby’s family are unknown.

Elsewhere in the world, MMP recorded on Monday, 18 March, the death of an El Salvadoran man, killed while traveling by train near Gómez Palacio, in the state of Durango, Mexico. He was carrying identification indicating he was from the city of Usulután, in south-eastern El Salvador. He was 34 years old.

Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff based at its Global Migration Data Analysis Centre but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on migrants’ deaths and disappearances are collected, click here.

For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, click here. Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project.

See contacts here.

Language English Posted: Friday, March 22, 2019 - 12:44Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Humanitarian Border Management Between Burundi, Tanzania Bolstered by Technology

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 05:43

Bujumbura – This week (20-21/03) the International Organization for Migration (IOM) donated information technology equipment to the Government of Burundi to improve humanitarian border management (HBM) involving significant migratory flows between Burundi and Tanzania. IOM also rehabilitated electrical systems at Mugina and Gisuru border posts, in Makamba and Ruyigi provinces respectively,

The donated equipment includes two complete solar power systems, computers, printers, uninterruptible power supplies to provide battery backup in case of power failure, and a one-year license for antivirus software. The donation is part of a project jointly implemented by IOM, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to promote concrete cross-border, human rights-based, and multi-agency approaches to peacebuilding in border areas between Burundi and Tanzania. It is supported by the UN Peacebuilding Fund.

The donation of this equipment follows technical field assessments conducted in January this year by IOM’s Immigration and Border Management team, along with experts from the General Commissariat of Migration in Burundi, at the targeted entry points. The assessments included an appraisal of existing infrastructures and equipment to ascertain needs, an evaluation of existing national procedures and cooperation mechanisms related to HBM, and identification of training needs, concerns and challenges faced by police and border officers.

Launched in January 2018, this border management project will help mitigate displacement-related instability for both Burundi and Tanzania. One of IOM’s responsibilities is to enhance HBM between Burundi and Tanzania by strengthening the two governments’ capacity in managing and monitoring migration flows at the points of entry.

Activities carried out in both countries include joint trainings and coordination meetings for immigration and border police officers, as well as the development of Standard Operational Procedures for HBM. These initiatives are expected to strengthen international collaboration and coordination for improved crisis management between the two immigration services at the border.

Thanks to the new information technology equipment and uninterrupted supply of electricity, it is expected that officials manning these points of entry will provide improved services to migrants and have increased capacity to manage population flows at the border, even in situations of mass displacement.

Two handover ceremonies were attended by the relevant government officials from Makamba and Ruyigi and a representative from IOM.

“This donation will help improve the working conditions for our colleagues while at the same time benefit the central administration because reports will be sent in real time,” said Romualde Bahomvya, Deputy Migration Police Commissioner.

He added: “The other advantage is that the registration of passengers on the two borders will now be faster. The registration of passengers will lead to the conservation of data that guarantees security and traceability of what we do, even for future use.”

IOM’s Sébastien Reclaru said: “We are glad that the equipment donated, and the rehabilitated electric system will benefit the communities around the borders as well as users of the supported border posts.”

Prior to the donation, IOM Burundi trained 66 officials from the department of immigration, border police, local authorities, civil protection as well as health and customs from both Burundi and Tanzania, on HBM best practices. The training was designed to improve their preparedness, effectiveness and protection of vulnerable migrants in the context of a humanitarian crisis. 

In Burundi, IOM is partnering with the government to carry out capacity-building activities related to migration management and strives to improve collaboration and coordination with neighbouring countries.

For more information please contact Sébastien Reclaru at IOM Burundi, Tel: +257 75400662, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, March 22, 2019 - 12:33Image: Region-Country: BurundiThemes: Integrated Border ManagementDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM hands over IT equipment to the governor of Makamba province, Burundi at Mugina border post. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Launches Campaign against Xenophobia in Ecuador

Tue, 03/19/2019 - 08:34

Quito – The United Nations System in Ecuador last week (14-03) launched Abrazos que Unen, an awareness campaign that seeks to generate empathy towards refugees and migrants in the country.  

Abrazos que Unen is the result of regional efforts developed to generate empathy and demystify xenophobic discourses. In other Latin America countries, similar campaigns such as Somos Panas, Mi Causa es tu Causa, and Somos lo Mismo in Colombia, Peru and Panama were launched respectively.  

Through the hashtag and website of the campaign, the UN System will share positive life stories about the social integration of refugees and migrants in Ecuador. The stories will show how local people support refugees and migrants while describing how they contribute positively to their host communities. 

After the arrival of hundreds of thousands of people from different nationalities to the country, the resurgence of discriminatory discourses that strengthen negative stereotypes was identified. During 2018, more than 954,000 Venezuelan people entered Ecuador, from that population 20 per cent remained in the country.   

In December 2018, some data provided by IOM´s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) in Ecuador revealed that from 2,657 Venezuelan who participated in this study, 46 per cent had suffered discrimination, and 15 per cent experienced some kind of physical or verbal violence during their migratory process.  

Abrazos que Unen seeks to appeal to the solidarity and hospitality that characterize the Ecuadorian population. During the past 30 years, more than 68,000 people were recognized as refugees in the country, the highest number in Latin America. 

Another objective of this campaign is to show refugees and migrants as self-sufficient and independent, and to highlight the positive impact of the integration of two or more cultures. When refugees and migrants are integrated into the country, both can benefit from the creation of new bonds that contribute to the growth of society. 

The UN hopes that Abrazos Que Unen can serve as a base for the development of activities in favour of integration and peaceful coexistence among refugees, migrants and their host communities. 

Here the link to Follow us in (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter   

For more information please contact at IOM, Carolina Celi, Tel: + 593 993586981, Email: or  

William Spindler, ACNUR, Tel: +507 69290257 Tel: +41 79 2173011, Email:  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 19, 2019 - 14:24Image: Region-Country: EcuadorThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Study Highlights Need for Free Movement of Labour in East Africa

Tue, 03/19/2019 - 08:31

Dodoma – A new study has urged member countries of the East African Community (EAC) to adopt labour migration policies based on international best practices, improve data management and boost the operationalization of One Stop Border Posts. The comparative study assesses migration patterns and policy issues in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda and the United Republic of Tanzania – four of the six EAC countries.  

In 2010, the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimated that there were about 19.3 million migrants in Africa, of which 8.4 million were classified as migrant workers. In 2015, the estimated population of the EAC, which also includes South Sudan and Uganda, was over 145.5 million people, with a gross domestic product of about USD 147.5 billion. As the region intensifies efforts to achieve its integration milestones, specifically within the context of the EAC Common Market Protocol, cross-border labour movements have made labour migration a pertinent issue for the partner states.  

The East African Common Market Protocol provides for the movement of persons, travel documents and the free movement of workers in particular. It focuses on three migration issues: national policy frameworks, data management and migrant worker practices.  

“We appreciate the commitment and cooperation from the United Republic of Tanzania in conducting this study and are confident that the presentation of the results will assist the Government of Tanzania and the other three EAC Member States in improving their management of migration flows, in p   articular those related to labour,” said IOM Tanzania Chief of Mission Dr. Qasim Sufi.  

“As people throughout the world are becoming more and more mobile, labour migration is undoubtedly a key issue for all governments and populations,” said Tatiana Hadjiemmanuel, Senior Regional Thematic Specialist on Labour Migration and Human Development at the IOM Regional Office for East and Horn of Africa. “We are very satisfied to see good willingness from EAC countries to work together in improving the protection of migrant workers.”  

Twenty different institutions in the United Republic of Tanzania and Zanzibar, including the President’s Office, the Ministries of Trade and Industry, Ministries of Labour, Immigration Departments, Trade Union Congress of Tanzania and Association of Tanzanian Employers participated in the launch event that took place in the capital city of Dodoma.  

The comparative study was commissioned within the framework of a regional project Supporting Labour Mobility in the East African Community: Operationalizing the Common Market Protocol Provisions on Free Movement of Persons and Labour, funded by the IOM Development Fund.  

Three similar events will be held in Bujumbura, Burundi on 20 March; Kigali, Rwanda on 21 March; and Nairobi, Kenya on 4 April 2019.  

For more information please contact David Hofmeijer at IOM Dar es Salaam, Tel: +255 699 674 975, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 19, 2019 - 14:14Image: Region-Country: United Republic of TanzaniaThemes: Migration and EnvironmentDefault: Multimedia: 

Panel discussion during the launch of the EAC comparative on free movement of labour. Dodoma, United Republic of Tanzania. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, Partners Discuss Climate Change and Migration at UN Environment Assembly 

Tue, 03/19/2019 - 08:26

Nairobi – Climatic factors are a major driver of migration, with the World Bank estimating that some 143 million people could be internally displaced in only three regions (Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America) by 2050, as result of climate change.  

On Friday (15/03) experts and activists gathered during the fourth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) to discuss the complex nexus between climate change and migration.  

“For centuries, millions of people across the globe have migrated due to climate change and environmental drivers, but the difference now is that man-made climate change is increasing the severity, frequency and geographical range of environmental disasters,” said Jeffrey Labovitz, the IOM Regional Director for East and Horn of Africa.  

He added: “This means that vulnerable communities are at even greater risk than ever, and we have seen global evidence of that already. Through the Global Compact for Migration, Member States have recognized this existential global threat, and outlined comprehensive measures to protect migrants by minimizing climate change and environmental drivers, build resilience and also facilitate safe and orderly migration as an adaptation strategy.”  

He was speaking at a side event on environment and migration aimed at bringing to light various dimensions and solutions to environmental migration in the context of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM).   

The event brought together policy makers, agencies, governments and others for a discussion on shared concerns, priorities and concrete next steps.  

“The need for stakeholders, including governments and development partners to collaborate to develop comprehensive strategies to better manage environmental migration, to address its challenges and to take advantage of the opportunities it presents, has never been more urgent,” Labovitz added.  

The event was organized by IOM, the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and the United Nations Environment Programme.  

The event is happening three months after leaders from 164 countries met in Marrakech, Morocco, to adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. Popularly known as the Global Compact for Migration (GCM), it was endorsed on 19 December with 152 member states voting in favour of the resolution. The GCM identifies climate change as a driver of migration.  

Moreover, the GCM articulates a comprehensive understanding of the challenges associated with the environment-migration nexus and formulates a range of potential responses to support states and migrants.   

At the event, Habibo Muse, a Somali national who migrated to Kenya in part due to the effects of drought in her country, shared her experience on how she and others incurred huge economic losses and endured severe hardships.  

“It is incumbent upon us to develop policies and measures that will cushion people against climate-related disasters while at the same time conserving the environment,” Labovitz said.   

For more information please contact Lisa Lim Ah Ken, IOM Regional Office for East and Horn of Africa, Email:, Tel: +254 741 540 079   

For media inquiries please contact Kenneth Odiwuor, IOM Regional Office for East and Horn of Africa, Email:, Tel: +254 722 560 363  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 19, 2019 - 14:04Image: Region-Country: KenyaThemes: Migration and Climate ChangeDefault: Multimedia: 

Experts gather at a side event in Nairobi to discuss the relationship between climate change and migration jointly organized by IOM, the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco and other partners. Photo: IOM/Kennedy Njagi 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

‘Voodoo Curses’ Keep Victims of Trafficking Under Bondage

Tue, 03/19/2019 - 07:19

Bamako – Gold is Mali’s top export, accounting for at least 60 per cent of the country’s total exports in 2017 and making Mali the third gold exporter in Africa, just after South Africa and Ghana. Small-scale, informal and low-tech mining also known as artisanal mining, although largely unregulated, accounts for at least one third of Mali’s total gold production.  

Every year, the sector which has seen an increase in activity since the start of the crisis in 2012, attracts thousands of men and boys from across the region, creating a demand for sex workers to satisfy the needs of those who spend months, sometimes years away from their spouses who stayed back home.  

And every year, girls and women like Loveth are trafficked from neighbouring countries primarily for prostitution and sexual slavery.  

In a corner of her shack made of black canvas, wood and corrugated iron, ogbonno soup, a traditional Nigerian dish simmers in a steel pot. When she does not work, Loveth likes to cook her mother’s recipes. A native of Edo State in Nigeria, Loveth now lives more than 2,000 kilometres away, in Koflatiè, a shantytown located in a mining area, in Southwestern Mali. She left Nigeria in 2017 in search of a better opportunity.  

“In Nigeria, I was approached by a woman who offered to take me to Mali. She told me I would get a job. But I did not know this is what I was getting into,” Loveth explains.    

“When I arrived in Mali, the madam [procuress] took my passport away and asked me to pay her one million CFA [USD 2,000] to get it back and the only way to pay her back was prostitution. I refused because of my son,” she says. John* (name changed), Loveth’s one-year-old son, had joined her on the dangerous journey to Mali. 

“After some time, I couldn’t pay my rent anymore. I could not travel back home. I did not have money. I did not have a passport. That’s why I gave in to her pressure.”  

What happened next, is what happened to an estimated 20,000 Nigerian girls and women in Mali according to Nigeria’s National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP). When she exhausted her savings, Loveth had no other option than to prostitute herself to get the ransom money. 

“I managed to pay half of the money before I escaped,” she adds. Loveth did not collect her passport when she ran away from the madam.  

Today, she works as a waitress in a bar owned by a Nigerian survivor of human trafficking who established herself in the surroundings of Koflatiè. She hopes to return home to start over but wishes to stay in Mali for the moment. 

Loveth is among thousands of Nigerian girls vulnerable to human trafficking and sexual exploitation around Mali’s artisanal gold mining areas. First-hand accounts from IOM staff who met them reveal that many of them are underage and were deceived into travelling to Mali either through false promises of a regular job, or the conviction that they were heading to Europe.  

Bondage is a common method used by traffickers to coerce their victims and exercise control over them. As in Loveth’s case it can be debt bondage, but it can also be the confiscation of travel documents or voodoo cursing or in this case, victims of trafficking are coerced into signing a moral contract with the traffickers who finance their journey. 

The contract is sealed by a spiritual priest or ‘native doctor’ to whom they promise never to denounce their traffickers to the police, to obey their ‘madam’ and to fully pay their debt. The victims thus live in constant fear of reprisals, including their death or that of their family, if they fail. For those arriving in Italy, their debt can reach EUR 50,000. 

The trend of trafficking of girls from Nigeria for sexual exploitation is captured in IOM’s latest reports on human trafficking along the Central Mediterranean Route

In 2017, out of the 119,000 migrants who arrived Italy, 18,185 were Nigerian, 5,425 of whom were women. IOM Italy estimates that 80 per cent of these women were potential victims of trafficking and that 94 per cent were from Edo State. 

This year, to fill in the lack of data on the exploitation of migrants in mines, IOM is conducting a study on Migration Towards Artisanal Mining Sites in Mali and in other West African countries, funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). The findings will help IOM better understand the migratory dynamics in relation to gold mining activities in the region and provide stakeholders with evidence-based research to inform their policies, strategies and responses.   


For more information, please contact Florence Kim at the IOM Regional Office for West and Central Africa, Tel: +221 786 206 213, Email:    

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 19, 2019 - 14:34Image: Region-Country: MaliThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Loveth is one of the thousands Nigerian victims of trafficking living in Koflatiè, a shantytown located in a mining area, in Southwestern Mali. Photo: IOM/François-Xavier Ada-Affana 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, UNAOC Launch PLURAL+ Youth Video Festival 2019 Call for Applications

Fri, 03/15/2019 - 09:29

New York – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) announced the launch of the PLURAL+ Youth Video Festival 2019 edition inviting young people around the world to submit original and creative videos focusing on the pressing social issues of migration, diversity, social inclusion, and the prevention of xenophobia. 

In a world often characterized by intolerance and cultural divisions, PLURAL+ recognizes youth as powerful agents of social change and empowers them to share their creative vision with the world and foster respect for diversity. 

PLURAL+ video entries must be between one and five minutes and can be of any genre (animation, documentary, music video, comedy, etc.) if they convey constructive messages related to the themes of migration, diversity, social inclusion, and the prevention of xenophobia. The deadline to apply is Sunday, 16 June 2019 at midnight EST. 

“In today’s world, the creative work and voices of young people are more needed than ever,” said the High Representative for UNAOC Miguel Ángel Moratinos. “With PLURAL+, we provide young people with a global dissemination platform that empowers them to share important messages of tolerance, inclusion, and respect for diversity with the global community.” 

An International Jury will select one PLURAL+ Award winner in each of the three age categories (up to 12 years old; 13 to 17 years old; and 18 to 25 years old), and IOM and UNAOC will jointly select one video to receive the Special Award for the Prevention of Xenophobia. PLURAL+ partner organizations will also award a multitude of prizes and professional opportunities to several young filmmakers.  

PLURAL+ winners will be invited to New York all expenses paid to participate in the PLURAL+ Awards Ceremony in November 2019 and a series of side events providing opportunities for professional development, co-productions, and networking. 

“At a time when so many people are exposed to negative narratives about migration, it is heartening to see such display of solidarity and empathy,” said IOM Director General António Vitorino in his remarks at the PLURAL+ 10th anniversary and awards ceremony at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in November 2018. “It is the responsibility of each of us to present migration stories in ways that represent the reality and the human face of human mobility. The voices of our youth are the future and should be amplified,” he added.  

With increasing interest and participation over the years, PLURAL+ has become a premier global platform for youth media distribution. Since the launch of the festival in 2009, PLURAL+ winning videos have been selected among thousands of video entries from more than 100 countries. The winning videos have been screened and broadcast in dozens of festivals, movie theatres and television networks around the world, as well as in schools and global conferences, and they have received more than one million views online.  

To submit a video to PLURAL+, visit:   

For more information please contact Rahma Gamil Soliman (IOM), Email:, or Thibault Chareton (UNAOC), Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 - 15:40Image: Region-Country: United States of AmericaThemes: Migration and YouthDefault: Multimedia: 

The winners of PLURAL+2018 award for age group 13-17 with the International Jury Member Marcia Mayer at the PLURAL+ 2018 awards ceremony and 10th year anniversary. United Nations Headquarters in New York. Photo: IOM 2018/Avery white

IOM Director General Vitorino’s video message at the opening of the PLURAL+ 2018 awards ceremony. United Nations Headquarters in New York. Photo: IOM 2018/Avery white

The Mimesis Ensemble performing Kinan Azmeh’s “The Fence, The Rooftop and the Distant Sea, 4th movement” beautifully expressing in music stories of migration. United Nations Headquarters in New York. Photo: IOM 2018/Avery white

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Migration – “A Cause, Consequence and Catalyst of Development in Ukraine”

Fri, 03/15/2019 - 09:25

Kyiv – Ukraine is one of the most migration-affected countries in Europe, with a diaspora of up to 20 million people, 1.36 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), and a cadre of 1.3 million labour migrants contributing to remittances of USD 11 billion – ten per cent of the GDP*. 

This week, the country made an important step towards coherence with best international practices in migration management, as its Migration Governance Indicators (MGI) Country Profile validated at an IOM-organized meeting in the capital Kyiv.  

The MGI Country Profile – a global joint IOM/Economist Intelligence Unit/Government initiative – provides authorities with insights on policy levers that they can use to enhance and strengthen migration governance.  

“With our MGI profile we will be able to compare our migration management policy with the best international practices in real time. Around 90 indicators of the profile will allow Ukrainian government entities to assess their programming and foster their strategic planning,” said Head of the State Migration Service (SMS) of Ukraine, Maksym Sokoliuk. 

In Ukraine’s case this will mean everything from countering human trafficking to border management; from the State’s communication with citizens willing to return from abroad to the access of irregular migrants to healthcare; from nourishing partnerships with the private sector to mainstreaming the development potential of migration into national strategic policies. 

Sokoliuk pledged the readiness of the SMS to lead the revision of the report every three years to keep this policy instrument up-to-date and useful.  

“We appreciate the commitment and openness of the Ukrainian Government in drafting the MGI country profile,” said IOM Ukraine’s Chief of Mission, Dr. Thomas Lothar Weiss. “The active involvement of over nine ministries and other state authorities in the development of the report made it really comprehensive and contributed to promoting migration as a cause, consequence and catalyst of development.”  

Deputy Minister of Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons of Ukraine, Heorhii Tuka, highlighted the importance to keep internal migration and the needs of displaced populations in focus of migration governance initiatives. “The international community’s support is vital and we are ready to further develop our cooperation with IOM for better reintegration of IDPs,” he said.  

The final version of the MGI report on Ukraine will be published later this year. It will help Ukraine advance its migration governance in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals, facilitating orderly, safe, and responsible mobility of people – be they Ukrainian labour migrants, returnees, foreigners coming to Ukraine or Ukrainian conflict-affected populations – through planned and well-managed policies.  

Watch video here of Dr. Thomas Weiss, IOM Chief of Mission in the Ukraine talking about Ukraine's Migration Governance Indicators (MGI) Country Profile. 

* State Statistic Service, National Bank of Ukraine 

Migration Governance Indicators is IOM’s global initiative implemented with the analytical support of The Economist Intelligence Unit and participation of the national migration-management authorities. To date, 50 countries have been included in the MGI. More details are available at 

For more information please contact Varvara Zhluktenko at IOM Ukraine, Tel: +38 044 568 50 15, E-mail: 

Language English Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 - 15:35Image: Region-Country: UkraineThemes: Migration and DevelopmentDefault: Multimedia: 

(L to R) IOM’s Laura Scorretti and Dr Thomas Lothar Weiss with officials from the State Migration Service at the Migration Governance Indicators launch in Kyiv this week. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Paris Airport Staff Gather to Improve Identification, Referral of Victims of Trafficking

Fri, 03/15/2019 - 09:24

Paris – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) organized an awareness-raising event on the identification and referral of victims of trafficking on 15 March at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport. The event brought together frontline practitioners, including border police officers, airline staff, security agents, UK and US immigration officers, and civil society organizations working at the airport.  

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), as well as French stakeholders involved in the fight against trafficking in human beings, also actively contributed to the session, along with IOM France’s counter-trafficking team.  

“The training of frontline stakeholders, including those present in the airports, is one of the key measures featured in the upcoming second National Action Plan. Working in partnership is the only way to better identify and protect victims. We hope that today’s event will pave the way for concrete actions aiming at detecting and referring victims while they are on the move,” said Elisabeth Moiron-Braud, National Anti-trafficking Coordinator. 

Data from IOM’s Counter Trafficking Data Collaborative (CTDC), the world's first global data hub on human trafficking, show that nearly 80 per cent of human trafficking journeys cross through official border points such as land border controls or airports. About 20 per cent of the crossings happened by plane.  

At the meeting, concrete tools to enhance victim identification in an airport environment were presented, included the 2019 edition of IOM’s Counter-Trafficking Directory, a user-friendly guide containing human trafficking information and contact points for 82 countries. The directory aims to facilitate quick referral of potential cases to competent authorities.  

“In the context of globalization and growth in the air sector, it is expected that the number of victims trafficked by air may increase in the future, making the training of airport staff even more needed,” stressed Sara Abbas, IOM France Head of Office.   

The event was part of a series of counter-trafficking training activities put in place by IOM France in the framework of the DETECT and CARE + projects, allowing for more than 200 professionals to receive information and tools for better identifying and helping victims of trafficking in 2018 and the first quarter of 2019. 

Download IOM’s Counter-Trafficking Directory here:  

For further information, please contact IOM France, Chloe Taillard Yévenes, Tel: +33 (0)1 4044 0691, Email: or Fanny Ruinart, Tel: +33 (0)1 4044 0684, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 - 15:30Image: Region-Country: FranceThemes: Counter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia: 

Charles de Gaulle airport, Paris.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Korean Humanitarian Stakeholders Trained in Community-Based Disaster Risk Reduction

Fri, 03/15/2019 - 09:17

Seoul – Typhoons, earthquakes and other disasters are occurring with increasing frequency around the world. Governments and humanitarian workers constantly need to strengthen their ability to respond when disaster hits. 

This week, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) mission in the Republic of Korea (ROK) hosted a two-day workshop on Community-Based Disaster Risk Reduction (CBDRR). The event took place on March 13–14 in Seoul and was led by two trainers from the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Netherlands Red Cross Partners for Resilience (PfR). A total of 33 humanitarian practitioners and ROK government officials attended the event. 

“As Korean humanitarian workers’ engagement in crisis abroad has been strengthened in recent decades, many are deployed to disaster-prone regions every year including the Philippines during the typhoon and Indonesia after the tsunami,” noted Mihyung Park, Head of IOM ROK office. 

“That is why IOM ROK organized this training. It aims to provide an opportunity for the participants to apply CBDRR skill sets to mitigate the community’s susceptibility to crisis and ensure effective coordination between community members and aid organizations,” she added.  

CBDRR is a systematic approach that focuses on the community’s needs, geography, and social environment to increase local resilience and reduce vulnerability at times of disasters.  

The two trainers leading the event – Sanna Paulina Salmela-Eckstein, Regional DRR Coordinator and Climate Change Focal Point of IFRC’s Asia-Pacific Regional Office, and Sandra Romero, Country Lead of the PfR in the Philippines – provided a comprehensive overview of CBDRR and practical knowledge for community risk assessment, CBDRR plan formulation, and its implementation. 

The training was conducted in a participatory manner; the process of CBDRR programming was elaborated, in order to enhance participants’ understanding of the roles and responsibilities in response to disasters and recovery operations. Sharing experiences and lessons learned from field operations, the participants discussed how they can assess and act on expected risks through disaster preparedness, Early Warning System (EWS), and CBDRR measures. 

“There was a high degree of interest around understanding the key CBDRR processes, analysing case studies, and establishing a framework for monitoring and evaluation (M&E). Through the group exercises, I hope that the participants have learned the CBDRR approach to prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from the impacts of disasters,” said IFRC’s Sanna Paulina Salmela-Eckstein.  

The workshop was organized as part of IOM ROK’s capacity-building project for Korean humanitarian actors, funded by the USAID Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA). Since 2015, IOM ROK has provided a wide range of humanitarian trainings including Data Analysis and Management Training and Gender-Based Violence Workshop. 

Further information on Disaster Risk Reduction visit: 

For more information please contact IOM ROK, Mihyung Park, Tel: +82 70 4820 2781, Email: or Jumi Kim, Tel: +82 (0)70 4820 0292, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 - 15:25Image: Region-Country: Republic of KoreaThemes: Disaster Risk ReductionDefault: Multimedia: 

During the group exercise, the participants built a Community-Based Disaster Risk Reduction (CBDRR) process along with the shared natural hazard case. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Reopening of Community Market Brings Hope to Locals in North-East Nigeria

Fri, 03/15/2019 - 09:12

Gwoza – On 10 March, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reopened a rehabilitated community market in Gwoza, Nigeria. The market was closed down after non-state armed forces swept through the town in north-east Nigeria. 

Some 142 residents participated in the rehabilitation of the market as part of a cash-for-work initiative aimed at strengthening the local economy through income opportunities and providing motivation for affected individuals to invest in their community. 

“The reopening of the local market is an important part of IOM’s support to the transition and recovery process in Gwoza,” said Afra Ure, IOM Nigeria Project Officer. “Apart from reinvigorating the local economy, it is also an important step towards a return to the community’s pre-conflict way of life.”  

Though many people have returned to their homes in Gwoza since Nigerian forces regained control of the town in 2015, humanitarian assistance remains critical. After attackers laid waste to several houses, IOM has distributed 550 cash grants and repair shelter kits containing the necessary materials to rebuild them. 

“I have worked in an open space without shade in the old market for over four years,” said Modu, a local vendor. “But with the construction of stalls, I can comfortably display my wrappers and I believe even my customers will be more at ease to buy my products.” 

Alongside Modu some 350 other vendors now sell cereals, vegetables, clothing and household items such as buckets, brooms and cleaning products in the new facilities.   

As part of the efforts to improve the living conditions of people affected by the conflict, support their recovery and build their resilience, IOM has implemented livelihood projects consisting of community-level rehabilitation and vocational training. 

“I’m the leader of my household and I hope that working in the reopened market will help me get the necessary means to sustain my family… I’m optimistic,” said Fatima, who sells candy and other confectioneries at the market. 

For more information, please contact Jorge Galindo at IOM Nigeria, Tel: +234 815 5263 827, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 - 15:20Image: Region-Country: NigeriaThemes: Community StabilizationDefault: Multimedia: 

The market was refurbished by members of the local community. Photo: IOM 

The market was refurbished by members of the local community. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Sierra Leone: First Network of Journalists to Combat Trafficking in Persons

Fri, 03/15/2019 - 09:10

Makeni City – Sierra Leone has been wracked by violence, civil war and Ebola in its recent history. Poverty is endemic. So is a high level of joblessness. Both feed a scourge: trafficking in forced labour. 

“More than half of the youth population is unemployed so when an exciting offer, especially to go abroad, is presented, most young people seize it, often without checking its authenticity,” explained Sanusi Savage, Head of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) office in Sierra Leone.  

“Young people’s desperation in the face of hardship often blinds them to the scams that permeate the recruitment sector,” Sanusi added. 

Earlier this month, 27 journalists from community and national radio stations in Sierra Leone established a unique kind of national network against trafficking in persons (TiP) in the country. Through radio broadcasts, the network will contribute to educate Sierra Leoneans on the identification of fake job offers, and report suspected cases of trafficking to the national anti-trafficking task force.  

The establishment of the network is the result of a three-day (5-7 March) workshop on Communication for Development (C4D) during which 27 Sierra Leonean radio journalists debated on the best practices to reporting and raising awareness on trafficking in persons in Sierra Leone. 

“This is a first step towards what we hope will be a long-term strategy to help Sierra Leoneans better understand the dangers of trafficking in persons,” said Mohamed Sajuma of Radio Mojcar. 

According to the US Department of State 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report, Sierra Leone is both a source and destination country. Forced labour and sexual exploitation are the main purposes of human trafficking in and from the West African country. 

Traffickers recruit boys and girls as young as nine years old from rural provinces to urban and mining centres for exploitation in sex trafficking and forced labour in domestic service, artisanal diamond and granite mining, petty trading, rock quarrying, street crime, and begging. 

Some Sierra Leoneans, especially young women, are also coerced by sham recruitment and placement agencies, and then smuggled across international borders to be subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking primarily in Gulf countries. 

Over seven weeks, the journalists will collaborate on the development and broadcasting of a seven-episode radio series to raise awareness on the risks and dangers of both domestic and transnational trafficking in Sierra Leone, as well as the methods for identifying and reporting suspected cases of trafficking.  

“This is the first time that such a network is established in Sierra Leone. I hope that it will be a place where we can learn from each other, and that it will foster good journalistic practices with regard to trafficking in persons in Sierra Leone,” said Margaret Mansaray from Radio Bintumani, a community radio located in Kabala in Northern Sierra Leone. 

The Communication for Development Workshop was organized through the Africa Regional Migration Programme implemented in Sierra Leone with funding from the US Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.  

Watch video here

For more information, please contact Dr. James Bagonza at IOM Sierra Leone, Email: or Nnamdi Iwuora at the IOM Regional Office for West and Central Africa, Email:  

Language English Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 - 15:15Image: Region-Country: Sierra LeoneThemes: Counter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia: 

Sierra Leonean journalists participating in a training on trafficking in persons. IOM/François-Xavier Ada-Affana

Over three days, radio journalists in Sierra Leone were trained in the Communication for Development (C4D) approach to awareness raising. This will enable them to develop a tailored radio campaign to educate Sierra Leoneans on identifying and reporting fake job opportunities. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

ACP, EU, CMC, IOM Tackle Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling in the Caribbean

Fri, 03/15/2019 - 09:06

Georgetown – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and a major Caribbean counter-trafficking network yesterday (14/03) concluded three days of exchange in Guyana on countering the scourges of trafficking in human beings and migrant smuggling, which afflict a region where the number of girl victims of trafficking is among the highest globally.    

IOM, in the framework of its ACP-EU Migration Action programme, joined forces with the Caribbean Migration Consultations (CMC) Counter-Trafficking Network this week for the regional thematic meeting which brought together over 50 participants from Caribbean countries, the European Union, high representatives of international and regional organizations and NGOs, to discuss and identify effective means of countering these phenomena in the Caribbean through coordinated, regional actions.  

“Trafficking and smuggling are highly profitable businesses involving criminal networks that are very hard to trace by the authorities. The Caribbean, being a diverse region of transit migration, is hit by these serious crimes which often result in grave human rights violations, affecting men, women and children alike,” said Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for Central and North America and the Caribbean.  

“Increasingly, countries across the globe and in the Caribbean region are prioritizing the fight against trafficking in human beings and the smuggling of migrants,” added Pisani. “And they recognize that in doing so, we can contribute to achieving several of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”    

At the meeting, experts shared the state of the art in counter-trafficking and counter-smuggling good practices, discussed the challenges and identified solutions requiring continuing collaboration in the future. It also provided an opportunity for fruitful exchange between law enforcement and victim protection professionals, both essential to a comprehensive approach towards countering trafficking and smuggling.  

“This meeting will be very important to generate recommendations specific to the region on trafficking and smuggling,” said Minister of Public Security of Guyana Khemraj Ramjattan in his opening remarks. The recommendations will also serve to inform the Dialogue on Migration and Development between African, Caribbean and Pacific and European Union countries.  

IOM, through the Africa Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) – European Union (EU) Migration Action, is working to build national capacities for combating trafficking and smuggling in several Caribbean countries. The Counter-Trafficking Network of the CMC is the first regional network in the Caribbean to focus on assistance and protection of victims of trafficking as well as investigation and prosecution.   

“This synergy between the Action and the CMC Counter-Trafficking Network provides an excellent opportunity to build further upon ongoing national and regional efforts to combat these crimes,” stressed Pisani.   

[Drawing][Drawing]The ACP-EU Action, launched in June 2014, provides tailored technical support on migration to ACP countries and regional organizations. To date it has received 74 technical assistance requests from 67 ACP governments and 7 regional organizations.     

The programme is financed by the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) and supported by the ACP Secretariat and the EU. For more information on the ACP-EU Migration Action, go to: and follow on Twitter: @ACP_EU_Action, Facebook:   


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) renew national and global commitments to combat all forms of human trafficking and to protect victims of trafficking. 

Decent work and safe working conditions are important for addressing the scourge of human trafficking for forced labour. Target 8.7 can help States to strengthen the protection of exploited and trafficked individuals, and to bolster efforts to prosecute and redress these crimes.  

The SDGs address trafficking in women and children through targets 5.2 and 16.2, encouraging actors to use a gender- and age-sensitive lens when addressing human trafficking.  

Trafficking in human beings and migrant smuggling are also addressed under target 16.4, underlining the need to tackle the organized crime linked to these phenomena. 

For further information, please contact ACP-EU Migration Action at the IOM Regional Office in Brussels, Tel: +32 2 287 78 10, Email:, or Rosilyne Borland at the IOM Regional Office in San Jose, Tel: +506 22 12 53 18, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 - 15:10Image: Region-Country: GuyanaThemes: Counter-TraffickingHuman SmugglingDefault: Multimedia: 

ACP, EU, CMC and IOM experts discuss human trafficking and migrant smuggling at a regional meeting in Guyana 2019. Photos: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Belarus Works on Improved Protection for Vulnerable Migrants

Fri, 03/15/2019 - 08:59

Minsk – The Republic of Belarus is stepping up its capacity to protect vulnerable migrants and trafficking victims through an improved national referral mechanism.    

“Recent increase in numbers of irregular migrants heading to the EU through the territory of Belarus, forthcoming international sports events like European Games 2019 and Ice Hockey World Championship 2021, present for migrants certain risks like smuggling and human-trafficking,” stated Taras Seredyuk, of the State Border Committee at a workshop in the capital Minsk yesterday (14/3).  

Representatives from the Belarusian government, NGOs and international organizations used the occasion to elaborate on recommendations to improve the National Referral Mechanism, contributing their frontline expertise working in border management, irregular migration management and counter-trafficking.   

Currently, the National Referral Mechanism is solely for victims of human trafficking while a referral mechanism for protection of vulnerable migrants is still under discussion.    

GLO.ACT – the Global Action to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants is an initiative of the European Union and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in which IOM participates. During yesterday’s Minsk workshop representatives presented practical guidelines on how to develop and implement referral mechanisms for the protection and assistance of migrants vulnerable to violence, exploitation and abuse.  

“The outstanding value of the activities undertaken within the GLO.ACT project is illustrated by in the wide number of stakeholders involved, ranging from national authorities, to civil society and international organizations,” said Chiara Togentti, from the Migrant Protection and Assistance department at IOM’s regional office in Vienna. “The guidelines presented here are intended for government officials and practitioners working on migrant protection worldwide and can be applied in countries of origin, transit and destination.”  

Heather Komenda, Migration Protection and Assistance Specialist at IOM HQ added: “IOM has been working with victims of human trafficking for over 20 years and we can help partners quickly and efficiently to identify vulnerable migrants, victims of human trafficking and others in need of assistance and, importantly, help them work together to make sure that vulnerable persons’ rights are applied.”  

Belarus is currently working on the development of legislation in the field of irregular migration management via an EU-funded project before signing and implementing a Readmission agreement which is at the final stage of negotiations and will further contribute to good migration governance.   

Watch video here of Heather Komenda, Protection and Assistance Specialist at IOM HQ, speaking about IOM’s work supporting victims of trafficking.  

For more information please contact Olga Borzenkova at IOM Belarus, Tel: +375 17 288 2742, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 - 15:05Image: Region-Country: BelarusThemes: Refugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia: 

Participants at the national workshop on the development of effective national referral mechanism for protection of vulnerable migrants and victims of human trafficking in Minsk, Belarus. Photo: IOM Belarus

Participants at the national workshop on the development of effective national referral mechanism for protection of vulnerable migrants and victims of human trafficking in Minsk, Belarus. Photo: IOM Belarus

Heather Komenda, Protection and Assistance Specialist at IOM Geneva 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 10,308 in 2019; Deaths Reach 234

Fri, 03/15/2019 - 08:26

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that 10,308 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 13 March, a 16 per cent decrease from the 12,318 arriving during the same period last year. Deaths on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through just over ten weeks of the new year are at 234 individuals – or about half the 466 deaths that occurred during the same period in 2018. (see chart below)

IOM Italy 

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo on Thursday reported a total of 335 migrants and refugees have landed in Italy this year, according to official Ministry of Interior figures. He added that since 1 January 2019, a total of 930 migrants have been returned to Libya by the Libyan Coast Guard – or three times the total arriving by sea to Italy.   

IOM Spain

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported that through 13 March, 5,222 men, women and children have arrived as irregular migrants since the start of this year – an average of some 73 per day. Through this period, irregular migrant arrivals by sea to Spain are just about 51 per cent of all Mediterranean arrivals of this type. 

IOM Greece 

IOM Greece reported on Thursday (14/03) that in the week since Friday (08/03), the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) was involved in at least six incidents requiring search and rescue operation off the islands of Samos, Lesvos and Farmakonisi. The HCG rescued a total of 239 migrants and transferred them to those ports. 

Those 239 arrivals were among some 296 IOM recorded since last Friday arriving at the islands of Farmakonisi, Kos, Rhodes, Lesvos, Samos and Chios and bringing to 4,483 the total number of sea arrivals to Greece this year, a 26 per cent increase in arrivals compared to this same time last year (see chart below). 

IOM Greece also provided data this week on nationalities of all irregular migrants detected by the Hellenic Coast Guard through the end of February. Of some 3,614 arrivals, just over half (1,914 men, women and children) were Afghan with 411 arriving from Iraq, 399 from the Palestinian Territories and 320 from Syria. Smaller groups arrived from Congo (114), the Islamic Republic of Iran (81), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (75), Cameroon (47), Yemen (26), Eritrea (13), Angola (9) and the Dominican Republic (2).    

Missing Migrants Project 

2019 is the fifth year of IOM’s efforts to systematically record deaths on migration routes worldwide through its Missing Migrants Project (MMP). Since the beginning of 2014, the Project has recorded the deaths of 30,602 people, and yet due to the challenges of collecting information about these people and what happened to them, the true number of deaths during migration is likely much higher.   

So far in 2019, Missing Migrants Project has recorded the deaths of 458 people, at least 234 of those on one of three Mediterranean Sea routes (see chart below). 

Since the last week, MMP said that on 9 March in the Central Mediterranean, IOM Libya reported that the remains of an unidentified person were recovered in Almaya, Libya. The day before (8/03), migrants intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard off the coast of Libya reported two missing people who had fallen into the water before that rescue operation.  

In the Eastern Mediterranean, the remains of a woman and a girl were recovered on 10 March in different locations on the Greek island of Lesvos: a 9-year-old girl from Afghanistan was found dead near Vatera, on the south shore of that island, while a woman, also from Afghanistan, was found near Agios Theodoros, on the north.  

MMP this week has been compiling details on a truck accident in Mexico that killed 24 Guatemalan men and women on 7 March. It appears the driver lost control of the truck causing it to overturn near the town of Soyaló in Mexico’s southern state of Chiapas. Ten women and 13 men lost their lives during the crash, while another woman died later in a nearby hospital. During the crash, 33 others were injured and transported to hospitals in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, of which seven remain hospitalized as of 13 March, including a 22-year-old man in critical condition. 

At the time of writing, 19 of the 24 people who died had been identified. Details regarding the identity, sex and age of at least 11 of them are publicly available and summarized below. The stories, dreams and hopes of the other 13 people who died in this vehicle accident are only known to their families.  

Vilma Marisol Vail Jiménez was 16 years old. She came from Los Vaíles, in the municipality of Cajolá, where she had a flower stand. The older of three siblings, she decided to go to the US when her father took ill, as her income from selling flowers could not cover his medical costs.  

Navia Hernández Agustín was born in Caín, San Luis, in Guatemala’s northern department of Petén. She was travelling to the United States to join her mother, who moved there ten years ago.  

Keida Morales Velázquez was a 15-year-old girl from the village of San Andrés Cheró, in the department of San Marcos. She was travelling with her older brother.  

José Gregorio Francisco was 23 years old and a Q'anjob'al ethnic Mayan from the municipality of Paykonob’, near Santa Eulalia, Huehuetenango. The precarious economic conditions in his hometown forced him to attempt the journey north, where he expected to build a more prosperous future and be able to send money to his parents. 

Among the other victims were Félix Jeremías Cash López and Delfino Cash Felipe, two teenage cousins from the community of Nicá, in Malacatán, in the department of San Marcos. Félix would have turned 18 on 20 March. He had just graduated from high school, but he couldn’t find a job in his hometown, so he decided to leave with his cousin to join a brother in Atlanta, Georgia.  

The hometown of the two cousins, Nicá, a small municipality of ethnic Mam population, lost six members in total, all young people who aimed to secure a more prosperous future in the United States. The remains of Yesenia Magdalena Pérez and Reyna Venancia Ramos Nolasco, both 17 years old, and of Ezequiel Aldair Cash Fernández (18) and Oscar Mazariegos López (29) were repatriated and buried by their families in the local cemetery.   

Ronald Alberto López Estrada was 29 years old and had been born in the municipality of Candelaria Siquival, in Guatemala’s department of San Marcos. He had graduated from high school with a specialization in mechanics. He met Marta Cardona, his girlfriend for four years, and he decided he wanted a better future for them and their future children. However, he did not survive the journey north, and lost his life just three days after saying goodbye to his family for the last time.  

Migrants transiting through Central America and Mexico face many risks due to the hardships of the journey itself, which often implies taking highly unsafe means of transport. In the most tragic of cases, they do not survive the journey: MMP records show that at least 145 people have died in vehicle accidents since 2014. In 2018, MMP documented the deaths of 34 people in car crashes during transit through Central America and Mexico – in the first 11 weeks of 2019, 27 people have reportedly lost their lives in such accidents in the region.  

Deaths in the Americas stand at 128, making migration corridors in the Caribbean, South and Central America among the deadliest in the world. Since 1 February, more men, women and children have died crossing the Americas in irregular migration – 79 – than anywhere else. During these last six weeks 26 people have died in the Mediterranean, nine in North Africa, eight in Europe and five in the Middle East.  

It is important to note that the estimate of those 26 missing migrants mentioned above as lost since 1 February on the Mediterranean does not include another 45 missing from reports surfacing late Thursday (14/03) out of Spain and Morocco. MMP learned from sources in Spain that Moroccan authorities had only confirmed that remains of one migrant had been recovered, and 21 survivors were rescued, from a sinking boat north of Nador on Thursday. An NGO who reportedly has been in touch with seven women among the survivors who affirmed that 67 people had been on board their boat. IOM continues to investigate these reports.

Elsewhere in the world, MMP recorded the deaths of several people along different migration routes. In Europe, a young Ethiopian man was found dead inside a truck in the Port of Calais on 8 March. The autopsy conducted by French authorities indicates that he likely died crushed when the cargo in the back of the truck moved during transport. In Serbia, a 30-year-old Algerian man was electrocuted as he attempted to jump on the top of a train near the city of Šid, near the border with Croatia. 

Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff based at its Global Migration Data Analysis Centre but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on migrants’ deaths and disappearances are collected, click here

For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, click here.  Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project.  

See contacts here

Language English Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 - 15:00Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Western Mediterranean: Nearly Half of Recent Spain Migrant Arrivals Report Exploitation, Abuse

Tue, 03/12/2019 - 15:32

Madrid – According to an International Organization for Migration (IOM) flow monitoring survey of over 1,300 migrants and refugees in Spain last year, nearly half (48%) of those interviewed indicated having at least one direct experience related to human trafficking, exploitation or abuse while traveling on the Western Mediterranean Route.  Men – who outnumber women nine to one among those surveyed – reported a higher percentage (49%) of incidents than women (40%).  

The survey findings are based on 1,341 interviews with migrants and refugees from 39 countries of origin who arrived in Spain in 2018. The surveys were conducted between July and October 2018 in transit and reception centres in more than 40 Spanish municipalities across four autonomous regions to shed more light on the profile and experiences of those who arrived in the country by sea and by land via the Western Mediterranean route.  

That route, in 2018, emerged as the most frequented route to Europe in 2018 with 63,325 arrivals to Spain. 

“The results of this survey show an alarming incidence of reported exploitation and abuse of migrants and refugees along the route. It is striking how varied their motivations and experiences are, and we do not always realize the very high levels of vulnerability in play,” said Maria Jesus Herrera, IOM Chief of Mission in Spain.  

The main countries of origin of the 1,341 survey respondents were Guinea (29%), Mali (19%), Côte d’Ivoire (14%), Cameroon (6%), Senegal (6%), Morocco (5%) and Algeria (4%). These nationalities are also among the top 10 nationals registered in official 2018 statistics. French was reported as a first language spoken by 23 per cent of those interviewed.   

The Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) report also shows little evidence of a significant “route shift” or diversion between the Central Mediterranean Route and the Western Mediterranean Route in 2018. Among the migrants surveyed, only 1.3 per cent indicated that they had changed their route and headed towards Niger or Algeria after time spent in Libya.  All respondents had transited through either Morocco or Algeria before reaching Spain. 

The survey shows that migrants and refugees from Cameroon, the Gambia and Guinea reported the highest share of positive responses (67%, 63% and 62% respectively) to at least one of the five questions related to direct experience of human trafficking, exploitation and abuse. Migrants from Morocco (6%), Algeria (13%) and Mauritania (24%) had the lowest share.  

Longer periods of time spent in transit were associated with higher incidence of trafficking, exploitation and abuse due a more complex journey involving more transit through more countries. The lowest share of positive responses was registered among those with journeys shorter than one month, originating from Morocco and Algeria directly or reaching Morocco via direct flights from their origin countries. Furthermore, respondents who travelled alone had the highest share of positive responses (49%) to at least one of the five indicators.  

Morocco and Algeria, as the two final transit countries with the highest flows, emerged together with Libya and Mali as the countries on the route where the highest percentage of exploitative or abusive events were reported according to the migrants surveyed. Fewer events were reported in Mauritania, Niger and other countries.   

Around 38 per cent of those surveyed had spent more than one year in transit, while less than a quarter reported traveling for three months or less.  The most common route – reported by almost one third of the sample – is through Mali (Bamako) to Algeria (Algiers, Oran, Tamanrasset) and then to Morocco (Casablanca or Rabat and then Nador or Tangier).  

Almost half of those surveyed said that they had financial problems and reported being robbed at least once (46% each) during their journey. Nineteen per cent of those questioned reported health problems.   

The DTM survey also captures the general demographic profile of the interviewed migrants and refugees (of which 89% were men and 11% women, which corresponds to the available data on total arrivals in 2018, where the overall gender breakdown was 88% men, 12% women) including the motivations and expectations of those arriving by sea or land to Spain. 

Most of those interviewed reported leaving their countries of origin and habitual residence for a combination of factors including economic reasons, personal violence, war and conflict.  

Almost half of the respondents (47%) reported having been unemployed at the time of departure from the country of origin or habitual residence. Among respondents in Spain who were either employed or self-employed at the time of departure, men most frequently mentioned working in skilled manual occupations, selling activities, craft and clerical work. Interestingly, 10 per cent of the males and five per cent of the females surveyed said they had held managerial or professional occupations such as doctors, nurses and engineers etc. before departure. 

Survey results showed that the reasons migrants and refugees left their country or habitual place of residence were mixed and multiple, and that motivations can change over time and during the journey.  Overall, 41 per cent of the sample listed economic reasons as the first reason for leaving, followed by personal violence (32%) and war or conflict (15%).  

Male and female respondents differ in their main motivation to migrate. Among males, most frequently mentioned reasons for leaving are economic (44%) and personal violence (29%), while for more than a half of all females, the first reason for leaving is escaping from personal violence (58%) while only 23 per cent of them mentioned economic reasons. 

“The findings reinforce our view that much more can be done to provide specialized assistance, protection and care all along the route,” said Herrera. “Ultimately, much of the abuse and suffering could be avoided by strengthening safe channels for regular migration,” she added.   

Note to editors: 

The full survey can be downloaded here

The survey focused on personal (direct) and observed (indirect) experiences that may indicate human trafficking, exploitation and abuse. Direct experience of these included being held against one’s will, being forced to work or having worked without getting the expected payment, being approached by someone with offers of an arranged marriage and having suffered physical violence. The survey also captured indirect experiences such as having observed someone else during the journey being threatened with sexual violence, being offered cash in exchange for or being forced to give blood, organs or other body parts.   

The study was made possible with funding from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID)/UK AID 

The Flow Monitoring Surveys (FMS) are part of IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) activities in the Mediterranean and conducted within the framework of IOM’s research on populations on the move through the Mediterranean and Western Balkan Routes to Europe. Collected surveys are regularly analysed providing information on profiles, transit routes and vulnerabilities.  

All analyses and latest statistical information on arrivals to Europe from national authorities and IOM country offices can be accessed via DTM’s Flow Monitoring Europe Geoportal. 

For more information please contact: Ivona Zakoska-Todorovska, Regional DTM Officer at IOM’s Regional Office in Vienna, Tel: +43 1 581 22 22, Email:; Ryan Schroeder at IOM’s Regional Office in Brussels, Email:, Tel:  +32 (0)2 287 71 16; or Oussama Elbaroudi at IOM Spain, Email:, Tel: +34 665 046 539 


Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 12, 2019 - 15:28Image: Region-Country: SpainThemes: OthersDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM staff speaking with a migrant at a humanitarian assistance reception centre in Miraflores de la Sierra, Spain. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN