IOM provides protection to men, women, persons of diverse gender, and children who were trafficked for sexual and labor exploitation; slavery or similar practices; servitude; or for organ removal. IOM takes a comprehensive approach to address human trafficking and works on all aspects of counter-trafficking responses – prevention, protection, prosecution and partnerships (4P paradigm). Furthermore, respect for human rights, the physical, mental and social well-being of the individual and his or her community, and the sustainability of our actions through institutional capacity development and partnerships are at the epicentre of all of IOM’s counter-trafficking efforts. IOM has been working to counter trafficking in persons since 1994.

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.

Trafficking in persons 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. IOM follows the 4P paradigm also relying on the three principles that govern 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 raise awareness about trafficking in persons, to 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 to better address the challenges posed by trafficking in persons. This includes training of non-governmental organizations and government officials, infrastructural upgrades and technical support in the development of counter-trafficking legislation, policies and procedures. In the Region, IOM teams are particularly active in supporting victim-centred identification, referral and assistance mechanisms as well as transnational cooperation and referral mechanisms for victims of trafficking.

IOM performs quantitative and qualitative research to inform fact-based policy making and grow the evidence base on trafficking in human beings. Therefore, 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 most of the information featured in the Counter-Trafficking Data Collaborative data hub.