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Updated: 1 hour 45 min ago

UN Migration Agency Trains Korean Aid Workers in Safe and Secure Approaches in Field Environments

Tue, 10/23/2018 - 10:17

Incheon – Last year, a total of 313 humanitarian workers were attacked in the field, according to the UN Aid Workers Security Report.

To enhance aid workers’ awareness of their personal security and safety, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, offers a training programme on how to respond to various security challenges for people deployed to hostile environments.

Safe and Secure Approaches in the Field Environments (SSAFE) has become a UN-certified flagship security training for aid workers from government agencies, international organizations, NGOs and private sector organizations.

IOM in the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the ROK International Peace Supporting Standby Force (IPSSF), a Korean armed forces unit which provides training for peace keeping missions, jointly organized a SSAFE training in Incheon, ROK last week (16-19/10).

The training, which was funded by USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), was attended by 23 participants from UN agencies including the World Food Programme and Special Tribunal for Lebanon; NGOs World Vision and ChildFund; and private sector companies IBM Korea and the Hankyoreh Media Group.

“As field operations have become more complex and unpredictable, demand for capacity building workshops (of this kind) has been growing among humanitarians. This four-day training was an excellent opportunity to understand threats to my security and (counter) measures that I can apply in the field. I hope more Korean aid workers can learn these essential skills to stay safe,” said a participant employed by a Korean NGO.

Facilitated by IOM’s Staff Security Unit, the training included lectures and field exercises designed to equip participants with personal security awareness, first aid and radio communication skills. It also provided two days of scenario-based exercises, including hostage survival and checkpoint simulations.

IOM Senior Security Operations Officer Steve Mayall, who led the programme, noted the enthusiasm of participants to learn about how to protect themselves from unexpected dangers. “Everyone fully grasps the notion that a better understanding of the potential hazards will mitigate the risks that they will encounter during their deployments in the field,” he said.

IOM ROK has been hosting safety and security trainings to Korean humanitarian workers since 2015. 

For more information please contact IOM ROK: Miah Park, Tel: +82 70 4820 2781, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 23, 2018 - 16:16Image: Region-Country: Republic of KoreaDefault: Multimedia: 

Safe and Secure Approaches in Field Environments (SSAFE) training includes lifesaving skills such as CPR. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mongolia Internal Migration Drives Urbanization, De-population of Rural Areas: IOM

Tue, 10/23/2018 - 10:16

Ulaanbataar  –  The first nationwide study of migration in Mongolia reveals that most of the country’s internal migrants over the past 30 years have moved from rural areas to the capital, Ulaanbaatar, causing intensive urbanization and de-population of the countryside.

According to Mongolia: Internal Migration Study conducted by the National University of Mongolia, nearly half of the country’s population (47 percent) are now living in the capital, up from a little over a quarter (26.8 percent) in 1989. Between 20110 and 2016 some 126,143 people arrived at Ulaanbaatar, bringing the total population to 1.4 million, according to the National Statistics Office.

The study, which surveyed 1,000 migrant and non-migrant households, showed that most people did not migrate in response to a specific event. Most moved in search of jobs, better living conditions, educational opportunities, better health services, or to reunite with family members.

The majority settled in Ger districts on the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar, which now account for over 60 percent of the city’s population but have never been adequately integrated into municipal planning. New migrants form almost one third of the population living in these areas and an estimated 40 percent of them are believed to need support.

Some of the challenges and hardships they face are outlined in a second report: Urban Migrant Vulnerability Assessment compiled by the NGO Ger Community Mapping Center(

Both studies, conducted over a year, are part of an IOM project: “Understanding and Managing Internal Migration in Mongolia,” supported by the Ulaanbaatar City Municipality (UCM) and funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC.)

“SDC’s support for conducting these assessments reflects a new direction in the Swiss Cooperation Strategy with Mongolia 2018-21 that aims at enhancing our engagement in addressing the challenges of rapid urbanization,” said Gabriella Spirli, SDC’s Director for Cooperation.

“Although the studies showed that the majority of migrants feel better off in Ulaanbaatar, they also revealed much information about the types of hardships the migrants face in the capital,” said Ulaanbaatar City Mayor S. Batbold. “These studies have presented us with invaluable evidence on which to base a new city population policy to meet the needs of residents.”

“These studies go further than providing important baseline data. They represent a breakthrough, because they are evidence-based and propose short- and longer-term solutions at national and local levels to improve current policies and procedures,” said IOM Mongolia Officer in Charge Richard Fairbrother. “IOM will continue supporting the government, the UCM, and the people of Mongolia, to uphold the human dignity and well-being of Mongolia’s internal migrants,” he added.

Following the launch of the reports, IOM will provide training to Mongolian policy makers on the principles, dynamics and challenges that characterize strategic management of internal migration. The training will aim to help the government to eventually draft a policy framework for managing internal migration.

Separately, IOM is today (22-23/10) organizing a two-day training in the use of its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) for 43 trainers from Mongolia’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA.) NEMA is responsible for emergency preparedness, planning and early warning systems nationwide.

Rural populations in Mongolia are particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change and natural disasters. The rising incidence of severe droughts and dzuds (harsh winters) in the country often forces herders to either travel longer distances to find pastures or, in the event of losing their livestock, to move to urban centres.

The NEMA trainers will share their knowledge with district (soum) level colleagues to improve data collection, processing and assessment to inform emergency responses and enhance NEMA’s understanding of population movements and the needs of displaced populations on the move. A series of further trainings for soum DTM focal points is scheduled for December.

For more information on IOM’s “Understanding and Managing Internal Migration in Mongolia” project please go to:

For more information please contact Zuzana Jankechova at IOM Mongolia, Email:, Tel: +976 70143100.

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 23, 2018 - 16:08Image: Region-Country: MongoliaDefault: Multimedia: 

Mass migration from the countryside to urban areas is transforming Mongolia. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

500 People Participate in IOM’s Fourth Cross-Border Crisis Simulation Exercise in Niger

Fri, 10/19/2018 - 10:42

Tillabéri – More than 500 members from communities, local authorities, civil society and security forces participated in IOM’s fourth crisis simulation exercise this week (17/10) in Tillabéri, Niger.

The exercise took place in close partnership with the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Humanitarian Action and Natural Disaster Management, and the Ministry of Health in Niger.

The exercise was organized under the project Engaging Communities in Border Management in Niger – Phase II, funded by the US Department of State. This was the fourth simulation exercise organized by IOM in Niger, having previously held similar exercises in 2017 and 2018 – two in Zinder region and one in Agadez region.

Tillabéri, site of this latest exercise, lies in a region covering southwest Niger which is regularly affected by population displacement flows. After the internal armed conflict in neighbouring Mali in 2012, over 50,000 Malians sought refuge in Niger. More recently, intercommunity clashes and the presence of terrorist armed groups in Niger triggered the internal displacement of more than 32,000 Nigeriens.

As with previous exercises, the simulation this week used a scenario conducted under real-life circumstances to test local and regional authorities’ ability to respond to a mass migration movement into Niger, precipitated by a crisis at the border.

This was the first time IOM Niger organized a simulation exercise on the Niger river, which entailed new logistical and coordination challenges. The new setting allowed for new actors to be involved in the exercise, such as the Gendarmerie’s River Brigade and the Environmental Services.

In addition to building the capacities of the authorities in responding to cross-border crises, the simulation exercise also enhanced community involvement in crisis management, as communities from the surrounding area played the roles of both displaced populations and of welcoming community.

“Such exercises provide a unique opportunity for local authorities and communities to be trained in crisis management, in real conditions, through a strong degree of realism,” said Arthur Langouet, IBM Project Manager with IOM Niger. “This is also a means to assess the needs in terms of equipment, training, and technical support for the development of crisis management tools,” Langouet added.

The exercise incorporates a strong community engagement component to foster communication between local communities and authorities. As communities are the first to directly encounter the signs of a crisis, communication with local authorities is crucial in both ensuring a quick and effective crisis response as well as preventing future crises.

The Governor of Tillabéri, Ibrahim Tidjani Katiella, expressed his gratitude towards IOM and stated that the exercise was extremely useful in building the capacity of the Regional Crisis Cell: “I look forward to our future cooperation with IOM for the development of a regional contingency plan.”

At the end of the exercise, IOM distributed 250 hygiene kits to participating community members, and handed over six tents to the Governorate of Tillabéri.

Throughout the next phase of the project, IOM will continue to support capacity building and community engagement activities in Tillabéri, building on the lessons learned through this simulation exercise. Additionally, a second simulation exercise will take place in the region of Tillabéri in 2019.

See the cross-border crisis simulation exercise in action here.

For more information, please contact Arthur Langouet at IOM Niger, Tel: +227 8006 6561, E-mail:

Language English Posted: Friday, October 19, 2018 - 16:38Image: Region-Country: NigeriaThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

An exercise along the Niger river challenges the response of government and local communities to the sudden mass movement of people.

IOM Organizes 4th Crisis Simulation Exercise Tillabéri, Niger | More than 500 individuals from communities, local authorities, civil society and security forces, participated in IOM’s fourth crisis simulation exercise on October 17 in Tillabéri, Niger.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Supports Development of Zimbabwe’s National Migration Policy

Fri, 10/19/2018 - 10:38

Harare – A three-day IOM-supported Government of Zimbabwe workshop this week brought together multiple stakeholders tasked with conducting an in-depth situational analysis of migration in the country to aid the design of a robust National Migration Policy (NMP).

“Migration is cross cutting as a number of sector ministries have migration mandates,” said Alois Matongo, Director for Policy and Research in Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage.

“It therefore calls for collective effort among state and non-state actors to come up with an overall migration policy that speaks to all aspects of migration. This workshop is evidence that we have started the development process of the NMP on a strong footing.”

Matongo rallied stakeholders to remain steadfast to the NMP development process as a true whole-of-government approach to migration governance.

Guided by the Africa Union Migration Policy Framework for Africa (2018-2030), the NMP will be an overarching migration management framework for monitoring and regulating internal and international migration as well as proper data collection and dissemination on migration trends. The policy will also address issues relating to diaspora cooperation, border governance, dignified treatment of migrants, internally displaced persons (IDPs), asylum seekers and the role of civil society in migration management.

“Through this National Migration Policy development initiative, Zimbabwe is making a statement about its whole-of-government vision for managing migration at a time when the migration and development nexus is becoming louder,” said IOM Zimbabwe Project Manager Daniel Sam in his remarks, further highlighting the importance of stakeholder involvement in migration policy development.

Eight thematic areas, including migration governance, diaspora cooperation, border management, irregular migration, labour migration and education, became the focus of the workshop’s participants. Stakeholders concurred that the revised migration policy will not only strengthen current migration management efforts, but also adequately address identified gaps.

As a way forward, stakeholders came up with a road map for the development of the draft policy, set for release in February 2019.

The NMP will usher in coordinated and coherent migration management system in Zimbabwe – one that complements other sector-specific polices on migration established in the past three years, including the Diaspora Policy (2016) and the draft National Labour Migration Policy.

The formulation of the NMP is in conjunction with the Government of Zimbabwe, within the framework of the Promoting Migration Governance in Zimbabwe and the Comprehensive Border Assessment and Immigration Policy for Enhancing Capacity on Integrated Border Management in Zimbabwe projects, with funding resources from the European Union and the IOM Development Fund, respectively.

For further information, please contact Gideon Madera at IOM Zimbabwe, Tel: +263 242 704285, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, October 19, 2018 - 16:36Image: Region-Country: ZimbabweThemes: Migration PolicyDefault: Multimedia: 

Participants in one of the thematic break-out groups during the National Migration Policy consultative workshop in Harare. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Chinese, European Experts Share Techniques for Detection of Fraudulent Travel Documents

Fri, 10/19/2018 - 10:35

Kunming – The UN Migration Agency (IOM) and the Chinese National Immigration Administration (NIA) this week organized a two-day technical workshop in Kunming on the detection of fraudulent travel documents.

Speakers, at the event, which ends today, included experts from FRONTEX, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Portugal and China. Participants included some 60 Chinese officials from central and provincial authorities and representatives of European Union (EU) Embassies and Consulates based in China.

Delegates highlighted the need to continuously develop innovative methods to curb document and identity fraud, including the use of big data analytics, to keep up with increasingly sophisticated efforts by criminals to evade border controls.

Speaking at the workshop, IOM Officer in Charge in China Richard Fairbrother said: “This discussion is hugely valuable because this challenge cannot be effectively addressed in isolation and requires concerted efforts with international partners.”

The Head of FRONTEX’s Centre of Excellence for Combatting Document Fraud Claudio Kavrecic said: “Equipping frontline officers with training on examination techniques and sharing of latest trends on fraudulent practices is crucial.  It is the first and often the only opportunity for the authorities at the border to detect any possible forgery.”

The workshop is one of a series of trainings on document fraud organized under the framework of IOM’s EU-China Dialogue on Migration and Mobility Support Project, which is funded by the Partnership Instrument of the European Union. IOM supports Chinese government efforts to enhance the country’s capacity to combat irregular migration.      

For further information please contact Paddy Siyanga Knudsen at IOM China. Tel. +8618514668590, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, October 19, 2018 - 16:34Image: Region-Country: ChinaThemes: Integrated Border ManagementDefault: Multimedia: 

Chinese and European officials meet in Kunming to share best practices in combating travel document fraud. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 91,093 in 2018; Deaths Reach 1,852

Fri, 10/19/2018 - 10:33

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 91,093 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2018 through 17 October, with 42,494 to Spain, the leading destination this year. In fact, since late September’s arrivals were reported, Spain in 2018 has now received via the Mediterranean more irregular migrants than it did throughout all the years 2015, 2016 and 2017 combined.

The region’s total arrivals through the recent weekend compare with 145,193 arrivals across the region through the same period last year, and 320,033 at this point in 2016.

Spain, with almost 47 per cent of all arrivals through the year, continues to receive seaborne migrants in October at a volume more than twice that of Greece and nearly seven times that of Italy.

Italy’s arrivals of irregular migrants by sea this year through mid-October are at their lowest recorded in almost five years – just 21,766 arrivals. That’s fewer than the 27,384 who arrived in a single month two Octobers ago (see chart below).

This month, arrivals have been coming at a rate of about 325 migrants per week. Last October, migrants crossed from North Africa to Italy at a rate of nearly 1,500 per week – or almost five times this year’s rate. Two Octobers ago, the numbers were even higher: almost 4,000 per week.

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) has documented the deaths of 1,852 people on the Mediterranean in 2018, compared with 2,833 at this time in 2017 and 3,709 in 2016.

Most recently, the MMP team recorded the deaths of 13 people in the Western Mediterranean route linking North Africa to Spain. Between 10 and 15 October, the remains of eight people were recovered at different locations off the coast of Oran, in Algeria. Among those eight victims: the bodies of three Sub-Saharan African men were found 70km off Cap Falcon on 10 and 11 October, while the remains of another man were retrieved off Marsat El Hadjadj on 11 October.

A day later, on 12 October, fishermen recovered the remains of a woman and a three-year-old child near Cap Falcon. The body of a 35-year-old Sub-Saharan African man was retrieved on 14 October near Arzew, while the remains of a woman washed ashore at Bousfer beach on 15 October. These remains are not associated with any known shipwreck.

Separately, on 12 October, a boat carrying 17 Algerian youth capsized off the municipality of Stidia, in Algeria’s province of Mostaganem. Civil protection authorities rescued 13 survivors and retrieved the body of a young man, while three remain missing. In Morocco, 38 people were rescued; one body was recovered by the Moroccan Navy on 15 October, after having spent over a week adrift at sea.

Those deaths in the Western Mediterranean bring to 433 the total number of those drowned or considered missing on this route. This is nearly twice the total for all of 2017, when 224 men, women and children were reported lost, migrating irregularly from Africa to Europe.

On Thursday IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported that total arrivals at sea in 2018 have reached 42,494 men, women and children who have been rescued in Western Mediterranean waters through 17 October (see chart below).

IOM notes that over this year’s first five months, a total of 8,150 men, women and children were rescued in Spanish waters after leaving Africa – an average of 54 per day. In the 139 days since May 31, a total of 34,344 have arrived – or just under 250 migrants per day. Arrivals in October are running at a rate of almost 300 per day (see charts below).

IOM Greece’s Antigoni Avgeropoulou reported on Thursday (18/10) that over three days this week (15-17 October), the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) informed the United Nations Migration Agency it was involved in at least seven incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos and Kos. The HCG rescued a total of 313 migrants and transferred them to those respective islands.

Those arrivals plus 94 more to Kos, Symi and Rhodes bring to 25,319 the total number of arrivals by sea to Greece through 17 October (see chart below).

IOM’s western Balkans team reported on Thursday some 2,537 irregular migrants have been registered in Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the first two weeks of October, seven times more than the 357 registered during the whole October 2017 and close to the overall number of migrants and refugees registered in the respective countries between January and December 2017 (2,272).

IOM reports 74 per cent of migrants were registered in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where, since the beginning of the year, authorities reported 18,628 new irregular migrants – 16 times more than the 1,166 registered in the whole of 2017. Part of the migrants and refugees who arrived in Bosnia and Herzegovina did so after spending a certain amount of time in Serbia, Greece and Turkey (see chart below).

However, for a better understanding of the scale of the movement, it would be worth mentioning that total arrivals to Bosnia this year are almost half of the overall land and sea arrivals registered in Greece in the respective period (38,797). According to the available information on nationalities, one third of migrants registered in Bosnia are Pakistani nationals (34%), followed by those from the Islamic Republic of Iran (16%), the Syrian Arab Republic (12%), Iraq (9%) and more than 64 different nationality groups.

In Albania and Montenegro, Syrian nationals comprised the majority (53% and 44% respectively), followed by those who arrived from Pakistan (18% and 12% respectively), Algeria and Iraq (both 8%) in Montenegro, and Iraq (9%) in Albania. The differences in the nationality structure of registered migrants between the three countries are explained by the fact that migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina also enter from Serbia (especially migrants from the Islamic Republic of Iran and Pakistan) and that certain groups of migrants from Montenegro continue not only toward Bosnia and Herzegovina but toward Serbia as well.

Available Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) flow monitoring data for Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia also indicate increased movement of irregular migrants to/through these countries. Between January and 17 October 2018, there were 6,291 newly registered migrants in the reception centres across Serbia. This is a 28 per cent increase compared to the 4,554 registered in the same period last year, and slightly more than the 5,676 registered in the whole of 2017.

More than half of all registered migrants in Serbia as of 30 September declared Pakistani origin (58%), another 12 per cent were from the Islamic Republic of Iran, followed by nine per cent of migrants from Afghanistan, six per cent from Iraq and six per cent of Bangladeshi nationals.

In the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, authorities reported the arrival of 2,846 irregular migrants as of 17 October, five times the 547 reported in the whole of 2017. Available information on nationalities, as of end of September, indicates that the Islamic Republic of Iran is the most commonly reported origin country declared by 56 per cent of the registered migrants. Afghan nationals comprise another 11 per cent, Pakistani nationals, 10 per cent and Iraqi, six per cent.

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project estimates that at least 2,948 people died or went missing on migratory routes across the globe in 2018 (see chart below).

Since the beginning of the year, the Missing Migrants Project team has documented the deaths of 334 migrants on the US-Mexico border, a 16 per cent increase over the 281 deaths recorded during the same period in 2017. The team included information received from the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner, which reported the recovery of remains belonging to 25 people during the months of August and September 2018. Additionally, two more recent deaths were documented on the Río Bravo crossing: two migrants died on 10 and 11 October while attempting to cross into Texas, their remains were recovered on the US side of the river by US Border Patrol officers.

Another death was reported on 17 October on the Colorado River, which defines about 39km of the US-Mexico border where the US states of California and Arizona meet their southern neighbour. There, the remains of a 21-year-old Mexican man were recovered on the Mexican side, near Ciudad Morelos in the Mexico state of Baja California. Those three drownings bring to 93 the total of drowning deaths on the border in 2018. There were 103 drowning deaths reported by MMP through all of last year.

The lack of safe and legal migration options pushes hundreds of Central American migrants to make their way across Mexico to the US border hopping freight trains, risking death or injury. Recently, two Honduran men fell from a cargo train and died near the municipality of Celaya, in Mexico’s state of Guanajuato.  Those deaths bring to 35 the total number of rail deaths in the region so far in 2018. Last year MMP recorded 47 such deaths.

More than 1.6 million Venezuelans have left their country since 2015, 90 per cent of them to countries within South America. Although various sources suggest displaced Venezuelans are dying or going missing on their journey to other South American countries, the scale of deaths is challenging to enumerate. Recently, the deaths of three people were reported on the Táchira river, at the border between Colombia and Venezuela. Only two bodies were recovered on the Venezuelan side, near the town of Bolívar.

Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff 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, please visit:
Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at:

For more information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:
Mircea Mocanu, IOM Romania, Tel:  +40212115657, Email:
Dimitrios Tsagalas, IOM Cyprus, Tel: + 22 77 22 70, E-mail:
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:
Hicham Hasnaoui, IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email:
Ana Dodevska, IOM Spain, Tel: +34 91 445 7116, Email: 
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email:
Atigoni Avgeropoulou, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 99 19 040 (Ext. 166); Mobile: +30 69 48 92 98 09 Email:
Christine Nikolaidou, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 99 19 040 (Ext. 248), Email:
Ivona Zakoska, IOM Regional DTM, Austria, Tel: + +43 1 581 2222, Email:
Kristina Uzelac IOM Regional DTM, Austria; Tel: +41 22 717 9351, Email:
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Christine Petré, IOM Libya, Tel. +216 29 240 448, Email:
Myriam Chabbi, IOM Tunisia, Tel: +216 71 860 312 (Ext.109), Mobile: +216 28 78 78 05, Email:
Dimitrios Tsagalas, IOM Cyprus, Tel: + 22 77 22 70, E-mail:

Language English Posted: Friday, October 19, 2018 - 16:19Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UNHCR and IOM appeal to European leaders to tackle Mediterranean deaths

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 16:11

Ahead of this week’s meeting of European Union (EU) Heads of State and Government, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and IOM, the UN Migration Agency, are together appealing to European leaders to urgently take steps to address this year’s record rate of drownings on the Mediterranean Sea.

The leaders of the two organizations warn that political discourse concerning refugees and migrants, particularly those arriving by boat, has become dangerously toxic in some countries, even at a time when arrivals to Europe are declining. This narrative is stoking unnecessary fears, making it harder for countries to work together and blocking progress towards solutions.

“The current tenor of the political debate – painting a picture of Europe under siege – is not only unhelpful but completely out of touch with reality,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. “Arrival numbers are falling but the rate at which people are losing their lives is on the rise. We cannot forget that we are talking about human lives. Debate is welcome – scapegoating refugees and migrants for political gain is not.”

“Perilous irregular migration is in no one’s interest. Together we must invest more in regular migration, enhanced mobility and integration to foster growth and development that benefits both sides of the Mediterranean,” said IOM Director General Antonio Vitorino.

With more than 1,700 lives lost since the start of 2018, the rate at which people are drowning while trying to cross the Mediterranean has risen sharply this year.  In September alone, one person died or went missing for every 8 people who crossed to Europe on the Central Mediterranean, in large part due to reduced search and rescue capacity.   

In addition to the need to enhance search and rescue capacity, UNHCR and IOM have proposed a workable regional arrangement that would make disembarkation and processing predictable and swift.

UNHCR and IOM urge European leaders to focus this week’s discussions on the practical solutions that are urgently needed and ensuring responsibilities are properly being shared among European States. At the same time we welcome strides taken to date by some EU Member States towards responsibility-sharing in search and rescue and post-disembarkation solutions for refugees and migrants.

UNHCR and IOM meanwhile also remind European leaders to remain focused on the implementation of the priorities already agreed earlier in the Valetta Political Declaration and Plan of Action, where States expressed profound solidarity in addressing the root causes of displacement and irregular migration, while supporting countries who receive large numbers of refugees and migrants.  

Greater and more effective support from EU leaders is also needed for developing long-term structural solutions, which foster conditions in countries of origin and transit that provide opportunities for people to live in dignity.

Media contacts

In Geneva:

Charlie Yaxley, UNHCR – , +41 79 580 8702

In Brussels:

Melissa Julian, IOM -, +32 2 287 71 33/ +32 473 28 11 65

Maeve Patterson, UNHCR –, +32 470 99 54 35

Language English Posted: Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - 16:07Image: Region-Country: BelgiumThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

Italian Coast Guard rescues migrants and refugees bound for Italy. © IOM/Francesco Malavolta

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Girls Sold into Forced Labour Largest Group of Trafficking Victims Identified by IOM in Bangladesh Refugee Camps

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 11:06

Cox’s Bazar – Young girls sold into forced labour are the largest group of trafficking victims identified by the UN Migration Agency (IOM) in Bangladesh’s Rohingya refugee camps.

IOM counter-trafficking experts warn that more than a year into a crisis that has seen the number of Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar soar to almost a million, more desperate families are sending their young daughters off into dangerous work situations because most households have no other way to earn money in the camps.

“There is a very limited number of jobs in the camp and for women there is almost nothing. That’s why I went outside of the camp,” explained one young Rohingya woman, who ended up being forced to work extremely long hours for very little pay in the fish processing industry.

Latest figures show that women and girls lured into situations of forced labour account for two thirds of those who have received support from IOM in Cox’s Bazar after escaping or being rescued from exploitation.  Another 10 per cent of identified victims were women and girls who suffered sexual exploitation.

Bangladeshi security agencies have reported stopping up to 60 women and girls a day attempting to leave the camps in small groups, many of whom appeared to have been coached what to say, but who, when questioned further, appeared unclear about issues such as who they are supposed to be travelling to meet.

IOM experts stress that adult men and boys are also the target of traffickers, accounting for around one in three of those found to have ended up in forced labour.

“We are struggling to meet our everyday needs and there is no scope to get any job inside the camp. So, we [agreed to go] outside of the camp to work,” said a Rohingya father, who ended up receiving no payment after working long hours and being physically abused by an employer.

“The stories we commonly hear are of vulnerable people being approached by traffickers with false promises of work and a better life. Some people simply do not realise the risks. Others may be aware it is dangerous, but feel their situation is so desperate that they are willing to take extreme measures, perhaps sacrificing one family member for the sake of the rest of the family,” said Dina Parmer, IOM’s head of protection services in Cox’s Bazar.

“Men, women and children, are all at risk of exploitation from traffickers. But in this situation, the demand for girls and young women to work as domestic maids, means they are often targets. Once trafficked, their youth, inexperience and isolation leave them particularly vulnerable to abuse,” she added.

IOM offers support to survivors, including physical and mental health assistance, legal counselling, safe shelters, emergency cash assistance, and access to safe livelihoods, including cash for work programmes.

Counter-trafficking and protection staff with IOM have now helped almost 100 people who have escaped trafficking situations and returned to Cox’s Bazar since the Rohingya refugee crisis began in August 2017. But according to Parmer, the numbers represent just a fraction of those who have fallen victim to traffickers over that period.

Despite limited data due to the clandestine nature of the crime and widespread reluctance of victims to come forward because of stigma and fear of retribution, the figures provide the clearest guide yet to the main forms of trafficking being perpetrated against Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar and give important insights into those most at risk.

Nearly a million Rohingya refugees now live in Cox’s Bazar after violence in Myanmar last year sent over 700,000 people fleeing over the border into Bangladesh. The vast majority live in bamboo and tarpaulin shelters in what has become the world’s largest refugee settlement.

Barred from leaving the refugee settlements, and entirely reliant on aid for survival, other than a limited number of cash-for-work programmes with humanitarian agencies and small-scale trading opportunities within the camps, the refugees are easy prey for traffickers, who promise transportation and access to lucrative work opportunities elsewhere. Other refugees resort to unsafe jobs for subsistence wages or end up in forced or early marriages.

Out of 99 cases of trafficked and exploited refugees identified under IOM’s counter trafficking programme in Cox’s Bazar in the past year, 35 were girls, 31 women, 25 men and eight boys. Of those, 31 girls and 26 women ended up in forced labour situations, as did 25 adult men and four boys. Five women and four girls ended up in situations of sexual exploitation, while four people were trafficked, but managed to escape before they became victims.

According to Parmer, brutal life experiences and lack of education due to long-term discrimination against the Rohingya in Myanmar, along with widespread illiteracy, make the refugee community extremely vulnerable. “To make sure messaging is effective, it needs to be culturally and socially appropriate and we need to be creative in how we raise awareness,” she said.

IOM Bangladesh has been working with partners to produce innovative ways of spreading messages about the dangers of trafficking to the refugees.  A series of comic illustrations featuring real-life stories of trafficking victims are being used by trained caseworks to raise awareness in the camps.

An IOM NGO partner, Young Power in Social Action (YPSA), has also been using street drama and music in the camps to raise awareness of the risks – drawing large crowds as they spread their message.

“Combatting human trafficking requires a joint effort. The authorities, UN agencies, local partners, and communities have to work together and support each other in recognizing and addressing the risks,” said Parmer.

Since September 2017, IOM has carried out more than 50 outreach sessions, ensuring almost 1,000 refugees have been made aware of trafficking with messages that they can then share with others in their community. IOM experts have also supported other agencies in their counter-trafficking messaging and activities. In addition, over 100 Bangladeshi law enforcement officers in Cox’s Bazar have taken part in IOM counter-trafficking trainings.

IOM’s counter trafficking activities in Cox’s Bazar are supported by the Governments of Canada, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.

Further information about IOM’s counter-trafficking activities and approaches are available here.

See IOM/YPSA’s street performers in action as they raise awareness of trafficking here.

For more information please contact Fiona MacGregor at IOM Cox’s Bazar. Tel. +88 0 1733 335221. Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - 17:04Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Counter-TraffickingRohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

Rohingya refugees watch a street performance aimed at raising awareness of the risks of trafficking in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camps. Photo: IOM 2018.

IOM/YPSA’s street performers in action as they raise awareness of trafficking. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Appeals for USD1 Million to Respond to 200,000 Congolese Returnees from Angola

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 11:04

Kinshasa – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has in recent days provided humanitarian assistance to 3,000 Congolese nationals expelled from Angola.

On 1 October, Angola began a mass expulsion operation, removing Congolese nationals from its territory, mostly from bordering Lunda-Norte Province.  As of today, the Congolese city of Kamako in Kasaï Province has registered approximately 200,000 returnees through the border crossings posts of Kamako, Mayanda, Tshimbulu or Kabungu. Officials saw more than 16,000 people arrive to Kamako border post last Friday (12/10) alone.

IOM is working alongside the Kamako Local Crisis Committee in Kamako, installed by Kamonia Territory Administrator Anacletus Muswa Kapinga, to provide food and medical care to ill or injured expellees, as well as people in vulnerable circumstances.

“Among those expelled, IOM has assisted unaccompanied minors, pregnant and breastfeeding women crossing back into the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We are particularly concerned about the well-being of these groups,” said Emery Kianga, IOM Operations Officer in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Robberies and incidents of forced family separations are frequently reported. Due to the precarious situation, approximately 20,000 people have voluntarily returned to Kasai, Kwango and Kongo Central Provinces.

Apart from IOM’s assistance which began 11 October, no other support has been provided to people expelled to Kamako. There is a pressing need for food, water, sanitation and hygiene, emergency shelter, medical assistance and transportation that will allow people to reach safer destinations or their places of origin.

Some of these individuals came to Angola to work in the artisanal diamond extraction industry, while others fled conflict between several Kamwina Nsapu armed groups and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) in 2016 and 2017. The violence in Grand Kasai instigated a largescale humanitarian crisis and subsequent displacement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in neighbouring countries like Angola.

Addressing the root causes underlying the displacement and expulsion of Congolese citizens from Angola is essential for long-term durable solutions. In the immediate-term, IOM appeals for USD 1,000,000 to urgently address the most pressing needs of these 200,000 people.

IOM’s current response to this population in Kamako is made possible by the support of the Government of Japan, granted in March 2018 as part of a multi-sectoral humanitarian assistance project for the people affected by the violence in Kasai.

For further information, please contact Emery Kianga, Tel: +243 81 68 67 613, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - 17:03Image: Region-Country: Democratic Republic of the CongoThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMigrant AssistanceDefault: Multimedia: 

On Friday 12 October, IOM began delivering humanitarian assistance to 3,000 Congolese nationals returned from Angola. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Slovenia’s First Refugee Resettlement Programme Completed after Arrival of Last Syrian Family

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 11:03

Ljubljana – With the arrival of the last group of resettled refugees at Jože Pučnik Airport on Wednesday, 10 October, the first Slovenian resettlement programme was completed.

Slovenia implemented its first ever refugee resettlement programme with the support of IOM, the UN Migration Agency, by resettling 34 Syrian refugees from Turkey to Slovenia in 2018. The refugee resettlement programme came into effect after the signing of a Framework Agreement between the IOM, the UN Migration Agency and the Slovenian government in April 2018.

The groups arriving from Turkey between July and October 2018 included 6 families, consisting of 13 adults and 21 children, of whom 15 are male and 19 female. Following the facilitation of the selection mission by the Slovenian government in Turkey earlier this year, IOM assisted the selected refugees with obtaining travel documents and completing pre-departure health assessments, while it also supported the delivery of pre-departure orientation sessions whose aim is to build awareness of cultural differences, inform about services available to refugees and help develop the skills, attitudes and understanding needed to ease the integration process in a new country.

IOM facilitated the transfer of three groups of refugees to Slovenia where representatives of the IOM office in Ljubljana met and greeted them at arrival. To support them with a smooth and successful start in their new home, local non-governmental organizations and other actors will provide the newly arrived refugees with integration assistance, such as help with arranging accommodation and accessing health care services and assisting children with school enrollment.

According to the Government Office for the Support and Integration of Migrants*, the last family that arrived under the resettlement programme has already been accommodated in the city of Velenje. With the beginning of this week the family will start with their integration process and adaptation to the new environment. They will attend orientation classes that will help them familiarize with the Slovenian language, culture and customs.

When discussing their future, the families are already thinking about ways in which they can contribute to the Slovenian society with their skills and knowledge. The families arriving through the resettlement programme received a chance to begin a new life in Slovenia, attesting to the fact that resettlement programs remain a vital protection tool and a durable solution for the most vulnerable displaced populations.

Founded in 1951 to assist in the resettlement of Europeans displaced in the aftermath of World War II, IOM has implemented refugee resettlement operations for over six decades. In 2017, 93,216 refugees were resettled worldwide by IOM. Turkey was one of the top departure countries for resettlement globally last year, with 10,162 vulnerable refugees resettled to European countries alone. In 2018, IOM in Turkey has assisted the resettlement of 5,636 Syrian refugees to Europe. A total of 23 European countries implemented resettlement or humanitarian admission programmes in 2017, more than ever.

*The statement was officially published on the website of the UOIM (Government office for the integration and support of migrants).

For more information please contact Jana Stardelova at IOM Slovenia office. Tel. +38614347351. Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - 17:02Image: Region-Country: SloveniaThemes: ResettlementDefault: Multimedia: 

Some of the Syrian refugees who have been resettled in Slovenia. Photo: IOM

Some of the Syrian refugees who have been resettled in Slovenia. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM-MARRI Regional Strategic Exchange for Western Balkans Focuses on Coordinated Migration Response

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 11:01

Vienna – The Western Balkans sub-region currently hosts thousands of irregular migrants, stranded in a limbo between their countries of origin (mainly the Syrian Arab Republic, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan) and the countries they are trying to reach in the European Union. IOM has been working closely with the governments in the sub-region to strengthen their migration management systems and to provide the necessary humanitarian assistance and services to those on the move.

Yesterday (15/10) the IOM Regional Office in Vienna, Austria held a regional strategic exchange with the Migration, Asylum, Refugees Regional Initiative (MARRI) to discuss these evolving dynamics of migration and the shifting migratory patterns in the Western Balkans, as well as future joint activities.

Regional Director Argentina Szabados led the IOM delegation, which comprised IOM’s Senior Management Teams in Vienna and from the Western Balkans, led by IOM Sub-Regional Coordinator Peter Van der Auweraert. MARRI was represented by the new Director of its Regional Centre, Sashko Kocev. IOM and MARRI have worked closely together since MARRI’s inception in 2004, and particularly since 2008 when they signed a Memorandum of Understanding.  

“The new reality, which began three years ago during the mass movements from Syria, has produced the need for a stronger sub-regional response,” stressed Regional Director Szabados. “It is increasingly clear that the complex situation requires a coordinated approach from the Western Balkan governments and from the EU. Today’s regional strategic exchange underscores IOM’s commitment to assisting all parties further enhance the coordinated management of the current migratory flows, and to ensure we are doing everything we can for the vulnerable migrants, today, tomorrow and in the future.”

The exchange also focused on the ever-important issue of EU integration, as well as the new Global Compact for Migration (GCM), due to be ratified in December. Planning for future migration crises was also emphasized, particularly the importance of adopting a more integrated approach.

“At the moment, people are moving from country to country within the Western Balkans, and then back again,” said IOM’s Van der Auweraert. “Governments are doing a good job to assist and manage, but it is time to consider how a sub-regional response on labour migration management could be put into place to better match realities on the ground.”

The exchange paved the way for similar strategic dialogues on migration to take place throughout the sub-region. As result of yesterday’s exchange, IOM and MARRI plan to co-host a high-level Ministerial Conference in the sub-region which will look at the issue of migrants returning from the Western Balkans to their countries of origin, harmonizing the planning for, and response to, humanitarian crises on a policy level, and any other issues raised by the attending governments.

“Strengthening the already long-standing partnership with IOM, as well as working towards fulfilling the objectives of the Global Compact for Migration, are at the heart of our current and planned response,” said Kocev. “Together we will build future relationships meeting the objectives of the Global Compact.”

For more information please contact Joe Lowry at the IOM Regional Office in Vienna, Tel: +43 660 3776404, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - 17:01Image: Region-Country: AustriaThemes: International and Regional CooperationDefault: Multimedia: 

Back row: IOM Vienna and Western Balkans senior managers with (front, from left) Peter Van Auweraert, sub-regional coordinator, Western Balkans, Regional Director Argentina Szabados, and Saskho Kocev, Director of the MARRI Regional Centre, Skopje

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Releases Results of Initial Displacement Tracking Matrix on Venezuelan Flows to Chile

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 11:00

Santiago – How do Venezuelans who arrive in Chile reach the country and what do they do there? Those are some of the questions addressed through the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), published last week (12 October) by the UN Migration Agency (IOM).

The DTM in Chile surveyed 462 Venezuelans at the Offices of the Department of Immigration of the Ministry of the Interior this past summer between July 18 and 31.

"Through the DTM results, we seek to provide periodic and updated information on the trends, profiles and needs of the Venezuelan population that has recently arrived in Chile, to support the decision-making of the Chilean government," IOM Chile Chief of Mission Norberto Girón said during the presentation of the report.

Here are the main findings of the report:

The routes of Venezuelans arriving in Chile

According to the DTM, the largest component of Venezuelans surveyed began their trip in Venezuela’s Capital District (26 per cent) or the State of Zulia (14 per cent). Another factor: 45 per cent of Venezuelans made their trip by air, while 53 per cent travelled by land. Of the total number of respondents, 98.7 per cent crossed through an official border and 49 per cent made the journey alone, without family members.

The Venezuelans interviewed stated that they had spent an average of USD 554 per person to reach Chile.

When asked about the time they plan to stay in Chile, 34 per cent of the respondents answered "indefinitely", 34 per cent said they still do not know and 4 per cent said their stay will be less than one year; 28 per cent of the respondents preferred not to answer.

Regarding their migratory status, 44 per cent of the Venezuelans interviewed had a tourist visa at the time of the survey, 11 per cent had a work visa and 2 per cent a Democratic Responsibility Visa, a Chilean document that is issued to would-be migrants by Chilean authorities before those migrants leave Venezuela.  Sixteen per cent of those interviewed did not have a regular migratory status and 26 per cent declared having another type migratory status, such as a visa in process.

Employment situation

The Venezuelan population interviewed is characterized by having high academic qualifications, with 63 per cent of those responding calling themselves professionals. When asked about their employment situation in Venezuela, the respondents stated that they performed mostly in the categories of "scientific and intellectual professionals," or "service workers and salespersons" or "mid-level technicians and professionals."

In Chile 51.2 per cent work in retail services or as sellers in shops and markets, while 17 per cent are employed in more menial occupations. "The large presence of Venezuelans in the groups of services and occupations reveals a change in the labour status of the country of origin in relation to their academic credentials (degrees) and a precarious labour insertion, marked by over-qualification," explains the DTM report.

Among these workers, the average salary in Chile is CLP 387,103 (approximately USD 569), with a standard deviation of CLP 287,682 (USD 423). Fifteen per cent of them earn more than CLP 552,000 (USD 812) per month.

The survey also reveals that for the Venezuelan community, it is important to receive support for the necessary documentation for the visa process and the generation of income as well as employment.

According to the most recent IOM report, as of September 2018, the number of Venezuelans in Chile is 105,756. The total population of Venezuelans living outside of their country is estimated at 2,648,509, of which 1,848,581 reside in South American countries, according to the report.

The DTM activity in Chile has been funded by the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration from the United States Department of State.

Download the full DTM report:

For more information please contact José Estay, IOM Chile, Tel. + (56) 2 2963 3710, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - 16:58Image: Region-Country: ChileThemes: Internally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

The DTM in Chile surveyed 462 Venezuelans between July 18 and 31 2018. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 88,736 in 2018; Deaths Reach 1,839

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 10:58

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 88,736 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2018 through 14 October, with 40,598 to Spain, the leading destination this year. In fact, since late September’s arrivals were reported, Spain in 2018 has now received via the Mediterranean more irregular migrants than it did throughout all the years 2015, 2016 and 2017 combined. Spain’s numbers for the year are slightly higher than the figure printed (see chart below) and reflect arrivals only through last Wednesday.

The region’s total arrivals through the recent weekend compare with 143,601 arrivals across the region through the same period last year, and 319,594 at this point in 2016.

This past week was also one of the most lethal for the region in 2018. Between three and 20 migrants are confirmed drowned or missing in a shipwreck that occurred near the coast of Spain. Additionally, two fatal highway crashes in Turkey and Greece since last Friday added 33 more victims. While those are not considered deaths at sea, they do serve as a reminder of the dangers ahead that many migrants and refugees face even before they embark on un-seaworthy vessels, especially as the weather worsens in coming months.

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) reports 1,839 deaths on the Mediterranean in 2018, which translates to a weekly average of almost 45 men, women and children. That compares with 2,831 (69 per week) through this time last year and 3,709 (90 per week) at this point in 2016.

IOM Italy’s Flavio Di Giacomo reported that on Saturday (13 October) 69 migrants – mainly coming from the Horn of Africa, Morocco and Bangladesh – arrived on the Italian island of Lampedusa, off the North Africa coastline. Migrants on the voyage said they left Tripoli on the night of 10 of October in a small wooden boat. The first responder to their calls for help was the Mare Jonio – an Italian-flagged private rescue ship funded by an activist project – which subsequently was joined by an Italian Coast Guard vessel that rescued them and brought all 69 to Lampedusa.

While migrants coming from Morocco and Bangladesh told IOM staff that they had been living in Libya for as long as two years prior to their departure – and were only now leaving because of a deteriorating security situation – those arriving from the Horn of Africa reported to have been unofficially detained for many months (and, in some cases, years) in underground bunkers or in warehouses that had been turned into makeshift prisons.

These survivors said jailers beat them daily with sticks and tortured them with electric wires. They added that normally eight people had to share a single meal per day.

As mentioned above, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has documented the deaths of 1,839 people on the Mediterranean in 2018. Most recently, 57 people lost their lives in three shipwrecks in the Eastern and Western Mediterranean.

In the Eastern Mediterranean, an Iraqi woman managed to swim to shore and inform Turkish authorities of a boat that capsized on 8 October off the coast of Izmir. A search-and-rescue operation retrieved the bodies of eight people (four Iraqi nationals and four Afghans), while the remains of another 26 travelling on the same boat have not been recovered. The Iraqi woman, the sole survivor of this tragedy, told a horrifying story of spending 28 hours at sea as her husband and five children died around her. Sadly, this is not a rare event, as 152 people have lost their lives already this year attempting to cross the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece.

In the Western Mediterranean, Spanish rescue services recovered the remains of three migrants and rescued 35 survivors from a sinking boat found adrift in the Alboran Sea on 12 October. Survivors reported that 17 people had fallen into to sea and drowned before the rescuers arrived. On 11 October, two people drowned off the coast of Tangiers, according to the NGO Alarmphone. Their hotline received a call from a boat in distress in the Gibraltar Strait, in which 11 people were trying to cross to Spain. Only nine people managed to return to the Moroccan shore, while two fell into the water and drowned.

These recent deaths are included in the 420 documented off Spain by the Missing Migrants Project team in 2018. While tragic and alarming, these figures still fail to capture the true number of fatalities, as it is believed that several boats and all their passengers have disappeared at sea without a trace. During the entire last year on this route, IOM recorded the deaths or disappearances of 224 men, women and children, or just over half of 2018’s grisly toll thus far.

IOM Greece’s Antigoni Avgeropoulou reported on Monday (15 October) that from Thursday through Sunday (11-14 October), the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) informed the United Nations Migration Agency it was involved in at least four incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the islands of Samos and Lesvos. The HCG rescued a total of 181 migrants and transferred them to those islands.

Additional arrivals over these past four days of some 220 individuals to Kos, Kalimnos and the previously mentioned islands of Samos and Lesvos brings to 24,912 the total number of arrivals by sea to Greece through 14 October (see chart below).

Sea arrivals to Greece in October by irregular migrants are running at a rate of around 120 per day, or slightly ahead of the daily average of 87 men, women children thus far through the entire year (see chart below). A rate of 100 migrants per day has remained steady since late July.

IOM Greece’s Christine Nikolaidou also updated on Monday on the 11 victims, all believed to be migrants, with no nationalities yet reported. They were found dead after a car accident that took place on Saturday morning (13 October) at 5:00 AM on the Kavala highway in Northern Greece.  She said a mini-van transporting 11 migrants collided with a truck, triggering a conflagration that left both vehicles in flames. The driver of the mini-van, a 39-year-old Greek national, was slightly injured and transferred to a local hospital. According to the Greek authorities the collision was a result of mini-van’s speeding.

Nikolaidou further reported that 11 Pakistanis were involved in a car accident that also took place on Kavala’s local highway the following day (Sunday, 14 October) at around 6:00 PM.  She said there were no fatalities in that incident, but two people were slightly injured and transferred to the local hospital for observation. An alleged smuggler – thought to be from Georgia – was arrested. Police also recovered forged documents.

IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre, through its Missing Migrants Project, has documented the deaths of 2,902 people during migration in 2018 (see chart below).

In Europe last week, the bodies of three women were found on the Greek side of the Evros river on 10 October, in Greece’s north-eastern border with Turkey. An examination of the bodies by forensic experts determined that they had been murdered. A few days later, 11 migrants were killed in a car crash near Kavala, in northern Greece. The victims are believed to have crossed into Greece from Turkey through irregular means. The car in which they were travelling collided with a truck and burst into flames. Tragically, all victims were burned beyond recognition. No details on their identities, country of origin, sex or age are available.

Another vehicle accident cost the lives of 22 people in Turkey’s western province of Izmir on 14 October. They were reportedly travelling by truck to the coast, where they would have boarded boats heading to the Greek island of Samos, when the truck plunged to the side of the road, killing 22 people and injuring 13. At least four children and a pregnant woman died in the crash.

In addition to this devastating death toll in Europe and in the Mediterranean, 306 migrants are known to have died on the US-Mexico border, compared with 281 in 2017.

Most recently, the dangerous currents of the Río Bravo caused the deaths of three people. On 11 October, US Border Patrol agents recovered the remains of a migrant from the banks of the Río Bravo near La Joya, Texas. During the weekend, the remains of two young Dominican men were found within a single 24-hour period. It is not known if they were traveling together. On Saturday, 13 October the body of 36-year-old “Fernando” was recovered by Mexican civil protection authorities near the International Bridge II in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. Less than a day later, the body of 19-year-old “Luis Alberto” was found near Éjido El Bayito.

IOM estimates some 64 people have drowned in the Río Bravo since the beginning of the year. Besides drowning in the Río Bravo, many migrants also die in the remote ranch lands of southern Texas. Recently, US Border Patrol agents found the remains of a migrant in a ranch near Brownsville, in Cameron County.

Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff 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, please visit:
Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at:

For more information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:
Mircea Mocanu, IOM Romania, Tel:  +40212115657, Email:
Dimitrios Tsagalas, IOM Cyprus, Tel: + 22 77 22 70, E-mail:
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:
Hicham Hasnaoui, IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email:
Oussama El Baroudi, IOM Spain, Tel: + 34 665-04653, Email:
Ana Dodevska, IOM Spain, Tel: +34 91 445 7116, Email: 
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email:
Atigoni Avgeropoulou, IOM Greece, Tel:   +30 210 99 19 040 (Ext. 166), Mobile: +30 69 48 92 98 09, Email:
Christine Nikolaidou, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 99 19 040 (Ext. 248), Email:
Ivona Zakoska, IOM Regional DTM, Austria, Tel: + +43 1 5812222, Email:
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Christine Petré, IOM Libya, Tel. +216 29 240 448, Email:
Myriam Chabbi, IOM Tunisia, Tel: +216 71 860 312 (Ext. 109), Mobile: +216 28 78 78 05,  Email:
Dimitrios Tsagalas, IOM Cyprus, Tel: + 22 77 22 70, E-mail:


Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - 16:49Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Grantees Showcase Their Wares at Kyiv Street Festival

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 10:48

Kyiv – Thousands of people have been given help to start their own businesses since the start of the conflict in Ukraine. This initiative, conceived and managed by IOM, was celebrated at a festival in the capital Kyiv last weekend.

Fifty IOM-supported micro-entrepreneurs representing internally displaced and conflict-affected people presented their products at the ‘Ulichnaya Eda’ (Street Food) fair. The event, featuring dainties and handmade souvenirs, attracted over 15,000 visitors. The organizers provided the market space for IOM grantees free-of-charge to sell their honey, chocolate, cookies, natural yogurts, cosmetics, handmade toys, bags and pottery.

Since outbreak of the crisis in 2014 the UN Migration Agency has helped over 8,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and conflict-affected people in Ukraine to start their own business or become self-employed. Almost twice as many have received business and career development training.

IOM also established the National Business Exchange Platform, an online and offline resource uniting up to 4,500 entrepreneur members to facilitate collaboration, business development and job creation.

“While the protracted conflict, now into its fifth year, continues to trigger major challenges for the Ukrainian economy and stretch resources, the donor and international communities’ involvement is crucial to keep addressing the needs of millions of conflict-affected people,” said IOM’s Chief of Mission in Ukraine, Dr. Thomas Lothar Weiss. “At the same time, the role of Ukrainian civil society and the private sector in the integration of IDPs is vital. We are extremely grateful to the business partners who join corporate social responsibility initiatives aimed at supporting vulnerable migrants in Ukraine.”

Olena was one of the fair’s participants, selling her patchwork textiles and eco-bags. She is a mother of three and a professional tailor who hails from the Donetsk Region. Since 2014, she has been living in the town of Koziatyn, Western Ukraine.

Olena left all her equipment behind when she fled the conflict, so starting from scratch at a new place was a big challenge. Eventually, she managed to save some money and bought a basic sewing machine. Later she received professional-grade equipment from IOM. Now she sews uniforms for several restaurants in Kyiv, cooperates with some well-known ateliers, and is in the process of registering her own trade mark.

She also takes custom orders. Some of her clients are foreigners who are in Ukraine for work and take the opportunity to have bespoke clothes. This August Olena opened her own tailor services centre in Koziatyn. “I am happy that my work allows me to be creative, have regular income and meet wonderful people who support and inspire me,” she said.

For more information please contact Varvara Zhluktenko at IOM Ukraine, Tel. +38 044 568 50 15 or +38 067 447 97 92, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - 16:46Image: Region-Country: UkraineThemes: Community StabilizationInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM-supported micro-entrepreneurs from all over Ukraine gathered at a fair in Kyiv. Photo: IOM / V.Shuvayev 2018

IOM-supported micro-entrepreneurs from all over Ukraine gathered at a fair in Kyiv. Photo: IOM / V.Shuvayev 2018

IOM-supported micro-entrepreneurs from all over Ukraine gathered at a fair in Kyiv. Photo: IOM / V.Shuvayev 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN partners including IOM, UNHCR Launch Joint Campaign to Strengthen Solidarity with Venezuelans in Peru

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 10:46

Lima – The United Nations, the UN Migration Agency (IOM) and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, have launched the Tu Causa es mi Causa campaign to strengthen solidarity, promote integration and mitigate xenophobia against Venezuelans in Peru.

The campaign was launched on 13 October in Lima, the main host city of Venezuelans in Peru. Parallel events took place in the border towns of Tumbes and Tacna.  

Almost half a million Venezuelans have arrived in Peru since 2016, of whom over 150,000 have sought refugee status and 108,000 have been regularized between 2017 and 2018 through the Temporary Residence Permit (PTP in Spanish).

While the generosity of the Peruvian government and people has been exemplary, the fight against xenophobia is a priority, as some 1,250 people continue to enter the country daily and discrimination is rising. 

A recent survey by the consultancy firm IPSOS supported by UNHCR (810 people interviewed) showed that one of every two Peruvians in Lima, Tumbes and Tacna had witnessed discrimination against Venezuelans. The same study, however, also revealed that over 75 per cent considered Peruvians as supportive of foreigners during their adaptation and integration process.

According to the IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) implemented in Lima in January this year, 24.4 per cent of the Venezuelans interviewed claimed to have suffered discrimination. Of these, 88.6 per cent indicated that it was due to their nationality. The places where they felt discriminated were mostly public spaces (58 per cent), places of employment (36.1 per cent), and to a much lesser extent in their neighbourhood (3.5 per cent), among others.

In this context, UN, together with IOM and UNHCR designed the campaign Tu Causa es Mi Causa based on amplifying the already vibrant tradition of solidarity through tools and activities that allow Peruvians and Venezuelans to exchange ideas, knowledge and practices to build joint futures.

“The Tu Causa Es Mi Causa campaign calls to promote the culture of integration, nurturing the diversity and the benefits of migration,” said IOM Peru Chief of Mission José Iván Dávalos.

“The solidarity of countries in the region and its citizens towards Venezuelans has provided a crucial safety net for the most vulnerable. This builds on Latin America’s known practice to ensure protection and promote solutions to forced displacement and is in line with the responsibility-sharing imperative of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants.”

“Hatred and violence initiated by a minority should not be allowed to undermine this tradition and concrete efforts. Therefore, initiatives such as the #TuCausaEsMiCausa campaign are crucial for supporting local work to strengthen inclusion,” added Sabine Wähning, UNHCR’s acting Representative in Peru.

As solidarity remains key, UN Agencies are taking additional steps to promote peaceful coexistence among local communities, refugees and asylum seekers so that the good work done to date is not undermined through the creation of solidarity campaigns such as Tu Causa es Mi Causa.

The Regional Representative for UNHCR for South America, Michele Manca Di Nissa, emphasized the campaign also means to present to the world the experience of Peru as an example of generosity and solidarity.

“The United Nations’ call to continue with local integration efforts to ensure that refugees and migrants can live in safety and dignity. In Peru and across the region, the UN System will remain committed to assist governments of all levels to ensure this context becomes an opportunity for development and for the strengthening of human rights for host communities, refugees and migrants,” said Maria del Carmen Sacasa, Resident Coordinator in Peru. 

In addition to UN Agencies, INGOs and civil society have also joined in the efforts to reduce the risks of marginalisation and radicalisation through the Tu Causa es Mi Causa campaign, which will continue to be implemented through different activities across the country.

To learn more about the campaign in Peru:

For further information please contact Inés Calderon at IOM Peru, Tel: +511 633 0000 - Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - 16:44Image: Region-Country: PeruThemes: Immigration and IntegrationIntegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Peruvian families have joined the launch of the campaign Tu Causa es Mi Causa. Photo: Anette Andresen-UN Peru

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, Swiss Confederation to Host Conference on Leveraging Digital Technology against Human Trafficking

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 10:44

Geneva — EU Anti-Trafficking Day takes place every year on 18 October, to unite relevant actors working to eradicate trafficking in human beings around the world. This year IOM, the UN Migration Agency, will co-host a conference with the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) to mark the occasion. The conference, entitled Digital Technology: An Unprecedented Opportunity for the Prevention of Trafficking, will bring together state and non-state stakeholders to address the role of digital technology to prevent human trafficking.

Digital technology, through mobile phones, social media platforms or internet recruitment portals, can be a means of facilitating human trafficking. At the same time, digitalization can provide powerful tools to prevent trafficking in human beings and uphold the rights of victims, for instance, through the creation of hotlines and digital reporting apps to facilitate early identification.

The conference aims to narrow down the debate to one area of counter-trafficking: prevention. Today more than ever, interactions between private technology companies and counter-trafficking stakeholders are key to ensure the positive use of ICTs and the maximisation of their potential to prevent trafficking in human beings. Practical tools specifically designed to raise awareness, report actual or suspected incidents, and improve the gathering, use and sharing of data will be presented.

Representatives from IOM, FDFA, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and British Telecommunications among other counter-trafficking stakeholders, will take part in a panel discussion and presentations during this half-day conference. International experts will be invited to present their work and promising practices in trying to make use of digitalization in counter-trafficking efforts.

Since 2013, IOM’s office in the Swiss capital Bern has organized thematic and awareness-raising events around the EU Anti-Trafficking Day in cooperation with its partners. IOM Bern launched an awareness-raising bus — featuring an exhibition that explains what human trafficking is; shows facts, figures and victim case studies; highlights ways in which victims can be recognized; and gives information for support if a case of trafficking is suspected – that has been travelling around Switzerland since October 2017.

From 13-18 October, the bus will be open to visitors in Geneva at the following locations:

  • 13.10.2018 (9h00 – 18h00), Plaine de Plainpalais 
  • 15.10.2018 (11h00 – 19h00), Esplanade UniMail
  • 16.10.2018 (11h00 – 19h00), Esplanade HUG
  • 17.10.2018 (11h00 – 18h00), Plaine de Plainpalais
  • 18.10.2018 (8h30 – 16h00), Maison de la Paix

Beyond Switzerland, IOM works in partnership with governments, international and non-governmental organizations, the private sector and development partners around the world on all aspects of counter-trafficking responses – prevention, protection, and prosecution.

Since the mid-1990s, the organization and its partners have provided protection and assistance to close to 100,000 men, women and children, who were trafficked for sexual and labour exploitation, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude, or for organ removal.

For more information please contact:
Emilie Ballestraz at IOM Bern, Tel: +41 31 350 82 22, Email:
Katie Klaffenböck at IOM Vienna, Tel: +4315853322, Email:
Chloe Taillard Yevenes at IOM Paris, Tel: +33(0), Email:
Flavio di Giacomo at IOM Rome, Tel: +39 06 44 186 221/207, Email:
Sarah Di Giglio at IOM UK, Tel: +44 2078116062, Email:


Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - 16:39Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Counter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency, Lao Immigration Department, Cooperate to Tackle Human Trafficking and Smuggling

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 10:39

Vientiane – The UN Migration Agency (IOM) and the Department of Immigration (DoI) of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic have launched a first training by DoI Master Trainers for police and frontline border guards to increase the country’s capacity to tackle human trafficking and people smuggling nationwide.

A group of 20 frontline border officers from international, national and traditional border checkpoints in Vientiane took part in the three-day Canadian-funded foundation training course. They included officers from Wattay International Airport, Friendship Bridge, Thanaleng Train Station international border checkpoints.

The course, which ran from 10-12 October aimed to strengthen participants’ knowledge of trafficking in persons, people smuggling and travel document examination, and was taught by some of the 22 DoI Master Trainers who graduated from an IOM Training of Trainers programme, also funded by Canada, which was organized in Vientiane in August.

The Director General of the Department of Immigration under the Ministry of Public Security, Colonel Saisaming Sivilay, told trainees that the IOM training and the development of the Master Trainers Unit had an important role to play in strengthening the operational capacities of the DOI. He went on to confirm his ongoing commitment to work with IOM on issues dealing with human migration, as well as the fight against transnational organized crime.

IOM’s Head of Office in Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Misato Yuasa, said: “This training comes at a pivotal time when the Lao People’s Democratic Republic is seeing increasing greater inter-connectedness through trade and investment with neighbouring countries that will only bring with it more human mobility. It is therefore crucial that frontline border officers are equipped with the skills and knowledge to detect and intercept irregular migrants, assist vulnerable migrants, and collect and share high-quality information on illegal operations.

Phetsamai, a frontline border officer from the Friendship Bridge International Border Checkpoint, welcomed the opportunity to learn more about human trafficking and people smuggling. “I am very grateful as this training is very helpful to me because I work at the checkpoint. I need to understand more about irregular migration and its different forms, so I can prevent it from happening,” she said.

Following this training, an additional three-day rollout training will take place in Northern, Central and Southern Laos by the DoI Master Trainers for a total of 60 frontline border officers from border checkpoints across Lao People’s Democratic Republic

These rollout trainings will provide an opportunity for the DoI to start to institutionalize the training, as well as the training tools and training curriculum, whilst providing training to those remote border posts and provinces with limited knowledge in the areas of human trafficking and people smuggling.

The capacity building programme is part of a Canadian-funded IOM project: Capacity Building through Improved Induction and Refresher Training for Immigration Officials, which is currently in its third phase.

The project aims to increase the capacity of frontline border officers to intercept and assist smuggled migrants and victims of trafficking, to collect and share high-quality information, and to ultimately ensure the safe movement of people across Lao borders.

For more information please contact Misato Yuasa at IOM Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Tel. + 856 (0)21 267 730, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - 16:37Image: Region-Country: Lao People’s Democratic RepublicThemes: Counter-TraffickingHuman SmugglingDefault: Multimedia: 

Tthe Lao People’s Democratic Republic is building its capacity to combat human trafficking, with support from IOM and Canada. Photo: IOM 2018.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Releases Global Migration Indicators Report 2018

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 11:01

Berlin – Prepared by IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC), the Global Migration Indicators Report 2018 summarizes key global migration trends based on the latest statistics, showcasing 21 indicators across 17 migration topics.

The report is based on statistics from a variety of sources, which can be easily accessed through IOM’s Global Migration Data Portal.

The report compiles the most up-to-date statistics on topics including labour migration, refugees, international students, remittances, migrant smuggling, migration governance and many others, enabling policy-makers and the public alike to have an overview of the scale and dynamics of migration around the world.

Moreover, the report is the first to link the global migration governance agenda with a discussion of migration data. The topics chosen are of particular relevance to the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The report discusses the state of play of data for each topic and suggests ways to improve this.

“While the GCM and the SDGs provide important frameworks to improve how we govern migration, more accurate and reliable data across migration topics is needed to take advantage of this opportunity. This report provides an overview of what we know and do not know about global migration trends,” said Frank Laczko, Director of IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC).

“The international community has taken steps to strengthen collection and management of migration data, but more needs to be done. A solid evidence base is key to inform national policies on migration and will be needed more than ever in light of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration,” said Antonio Vitorino, the new Director General of the International Organization for Migration.

DG Vitorino visited Berlin on Thursday (11/10), where he met with the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel and other government representatives.

Mr. Vitorino took office as Director General of IOM on 1 October 2018.

For more information and figures, download the Global Migration Indicators 2018 here:

For more information contact Stylia Kampani at IOM GMDAC: Tel: +49 (0) 30 278 778 16; Email: or Elisa Mosler Vidal at IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 (0)30 278 778 31,

Language English Posted: Friday, October 12, 2018 - 16:57Image: Region-Country: GermanyDefault: Multimedia: 

Global Migration Indicators 2018

Global Migration Indicators 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Staff Share Their Messages for International Day for Disaster Reduction in New Global Video

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 10:57

Geneva – Ahead of International Day for Disaster Reduction on Saturday 13 October, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, releases an annual progress report on disaster risk reduction initiatives supported by a global video of DRR practitioners.

Natural hazards and disasters, exacerbated by a variety of risk factors, including accelerated urbanization and population growth, are expected to displace millions of people every year within their countries of origin and across borders. In 2018 alone, there were 18.8 million new internal displacements associated with disasters in 135 countries.

Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) aims to reduce the damage caused by natural hazards such as earthquakes, floods, cyclones and droughts. IOM takes part in global DRR efforts by strengthening the capacity of communities at risk, especially for displaced and other vulnerable mobile populations.

Last year, IOM implemented 84 DRR projects in 71 countries, reaching approximately 1.4 million individuals. Initiatives included risk assessments, livelihood support, climate adaptation strategies and early warning systems, among many others. IOM also provided disaster risk reduction trainings to more than 28,000 community members and over 6,400 government officials.

“Our projects help people understand that they have their own responsibilities in the management of disaster risks in their communities,” said Jain Emmanuel Noel, IOM Haiti Programme Officer.

Noel was one of nine IOM staff members who collaborated across six countries to create the video, IOM and the Sendai Framework: Reducing Disaster Risk and Promoting Resilience. The video shares the many ways in which IOM projects build resilience and preparedness in disaster-prone countries.

“They need to enhance the capacities so that they can address, by themselves, the needs they are facing in their communities,” added Mr. Noel.

In Haiti, preparedness at the community level has been central to DRR projects. In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, which devastated the country in 2016, IOM trained carpenters to build houses more resilient to hurricanes and other hazards.

“I especially learned the ’marrage carré’”, Renaud, a carpenter trained by IOM, explains in the report, “We place two wooden crosses which are then tightened together. I did not use that technique before.”

IOM contributes to the efforts of individuals, communities and States to reduce risk, prevent disaster displacement and promote resilience. The Organization’s work on DRR and environmental degradation advances mobility-based strategies in disaster prevention and preparedness, as well as supports ‘build back better’ goals in the recovery phase.

IOM contributes to the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, a 15-year plan endorsed by the UN General Assembly in 2015. The 2018 progress report, Taking Sendai Forward, measures the progress of IOM in achieving benchmarks laid out in the Framework and the UN Plan of Action on Disaster Risk Reduction for Resilience.

The report highlights how IOM increasingly works on mobility and disaster risk reduction issues as part of an integrated, system-wide effort alongside UN and other partners. The report further draws attention to significant humanitarian and development implications that disaster-related population movements will likely have for Governments and communities in the years to come – underlining the importance of including migrants and mobility issues in DRR and development planning.

“IOM will continue to work with countries to reduce vulnerability and strengthen resilience, while promoting the vital benefits and opportunities that mobility can bring, when safe and dignified, for those seeking a better life,” concludes the report.

Download report here

For more information on IOM’s Disaster Risk Reduction work, please contact: Johan Olof Grundberg at IOM HQ in Geneva, Tel: +41 22 717 9938, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, October 12, 2018 - 16:55Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandDefault: Multimedia: 

In the Federated States of Micronesia, IOM trained 1,645 workers in the local communities to ‘build back better’ in the likely event of future typhoons. Photo: Muse Mohammed/IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Marks 20 Years of Counter-Trafficking in Ukraine

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 10:55

Kyiv – Human trafficking is an acute challenge for Ukraine, with over 1,200 victims identified and assisted last year alone by IOM, the UN Migration Agency. IOM has been assisting trafficking victims in the country for 20 years, and in that time 15,000 have received medical, psychosocial and legal assistance, vocational training and equipment to help them start enterprises.

The programme is the biggest of its kind in Europe, and to mark 20 years of helping vulnerable migrants and trafficking victims, IOM gathered national and local state officials, civil society partners and international practitioners for a conference in the capital Kyiv this week. The event was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP).

“Human trafficking continues to be an issue that plagues our times,” said Anh Nguyen, Head of the Migrant Protection and Assistance Division at IOM Headquarters in Geneva. “The work of IOM staff in the field and strong partnerships with governments and local NGOs are crucial for preventing trafficking, prosecuting criminals and protecting victims.”

Of the thousands of survivors assisted by IOM in Ukraine, the youngest was only three years old, and the oldest was 83. About 60 per cent of victims identified by IOM Ukraine over the last three years are men. People from Ukraine have been trafficked to over 50 countries.

In addition to victim reintegration, IOM has been supporting the development of national counter-trafficking legislation and the establishment of the state-led National Referral Mechanism for victims of trafficking. Over 7,000 state and civil society practitioners dealing with trafficking survivors received comprehensive training from IOM. The UN Migration Agency also runs a toll-free National Counter-Trafficking and Migrant Advice Hotline which assists up to 20,000 people annually.

“Today we celebrate 20 years of dedicated work of IOM staff and NGO partners, generous support of the donor community, and the strong commitment of the Government of Ukraine. But these have also been years of unbelievable resilience and courage of the victims of trafficking – women, men and children, who managed to rebuild their lives after the extremely traumatizing experiences they went through,” said Thomas Lothar Weiss, IOM Ukraine Chief of Mission.

Andrii* is one of the victims supported by IOM Ukraine. When he was five years old, his grandmother took him from his mother and transported him abroad, where for four years he was forced to beg and to steal from stores. Andrii’s grandmother was arrested, and the boy was reunited with his mother and sister. Andrii and his mother received medical and psychological assistance in the IOM Medical Rehabilitation Centre.

The boy had not attended school at all, so he was enrolled in the first grade upon his return. IOM helped him with school supplies, clothing, and footwear, and his family now lives in a house provided by their village council. As the conditions there are basic, IOM gave them furniture, a refrigerator, washing machine, and winter fuel.

Andrii is a happier boy now: “I have a pet dog and two puppies. I go to school where I now have friends. My favourite subjects are maths, physical education and crafts. Also, I help my mother take care of our cattle.”

*Name has been changed to protect privacy

For more information please contact Varvara Zhluktenko at IOM Ukraine, Tel. +38 044 568 50 15 or +38 067 447 97 92, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, October 12, 2018 - 16:53Image: Region-Country: UkraineDefault: Multimedia: 

Trafficking survivor gets medical assistance at IOM’s unique rehabilitation centre in Kyiv. Photo: Volodymyr Shuvayev/IOM

Trafficking survivor gets medical assistance at IOM’s unique rehabilitation centre in Kyiv. Photo: IOM/Volodymyr Shuvayev 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN