Counter Trafficking in Human Beings

IOM has been working to counter trafficking in persons since 1994. Since then, we have assisted over 90,000 trafficked persons globally. In the region, we provided assistance to 768 victims of trafficking in 2016, almost the double of the cases assisted in 2015.

To ensure freedom and a chance at a new life, IOM offers comprehensive direct assistance packages to victims of trafficking in collaboration with our partners. This may include accommodation in places of safety, medical and psychosocial support, skills development and vocational training, reintegration assistance, the options of voluntary, safe and dignified return to countries of origin, integration in the country of destination or resettlement to third countries when needed.

We believe that trafficking in human beings needs to be approached within the overall context of managing migration. IOM’s broad range of activities is implemented in partnership with governmental institutions, NGOs and international organizations under the “3P” paradigm of prosecution, protection and prevention established by the 2010 United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons. We implement the 3P paradigm relying also on the three principles that govern all our counter-trafficking activities:

  • Respect for human rights;
  • The physical, mental and social well-being of the individual and his or her community;
  • Sustainability through institutional capacity building of governments and civil society.

IOM thus carries out prevention activities, such as information campaigns in countries where victims are trafficked to and from to educate the general public about trafficking in persons, encourage people to report suspected cases and equip vulnerable populations with the information necessary to better protect themselves from the recruitment tactics of traffickers.

IOM engages in technical cooperation activities by building capacities of governments, civil society institutions and frontline professionals to better address the challenges posed by human trafficking. This includes training non-governmental organizations and government officials, infrastructural upgrades and technical support in the development of counter-trafficking legislation, policies and procedures. In the region, we are particularly active in supporting victim-centered identification, referral and assistance mechanisms as well as transnational cooperation and referral mechanisms.

IOM performs quantitative and qualitative research to inform fact-based policy making and grow the evidence base on trafficking in human beings. As part of its research efforts, IOM has developed the largest global database with primary data on victims of trafficking: the IOM Global Human Trafficking Database. This standardized counter-trafficking data management tool feeds the majority of information featured in the Counter-Trafficking Data Collaborative data hub.