IOM Assists 7,000 Victims of Human Trafficking Globally in 2015

Switzerland - Nearly 7,000 victims of trafficking were assisted by IOM in 115 countries during 2015. The victim assistance caseload, which is the largest in the world, increased by approximately 9 percent compared to the previous year.

The majority of victims assisted by IOM in 2015 were trafficked for the purpose of labour exploitation (74 percent). Construction, domestic work and fishing were amongst the top sectors in which individuals were exploited. A fifth of all victims assisted by IOM in 2015 were trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. A further 5 percent of all individuals assisted were trafficked for the purpose of both sexual and labour exploitation.

“IOM’s human trafficking dataset is unique in its scope and has great potential to feed the development of evidence-based policy and response to combat the crime and to address the root causes of this phenomenon,” said Anh Nguyen, Head of IOM’s Migrant Assistance Division.

He added that the data presented a different profile of victims of trafficking to those illustrated by other global figures on human trafficking. “In addition to the fact that there were more victims assisted by IOM who have been trafficked for the purpose of labour exploitation, than for the purpose of sexual exploitation, there were more male (55 percent) than female victims.”

IOM data reflects important progress made in recent years in the field of counter-trafficking in building recognition and awareness that men are also victims of trafficking and that trafficking does not always involve sexual exploitation.

Victims assisted by IOM in 2015 had spent an average of 3 years in the trafficking process, a time which could range from 0 to 25 years.

Approximately 13 percent of the IOM caseload were children. Among the victims trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation, nearly one in five were children, and among the victims of trafficking who were exploited through labour, 4 percent were children.

Most of the victims assisted by IOM globally (85 percent) were trafficked across borders. More than a third of the victims assisted by IOM were first identified by or referred to the organization in Europe (37 percent). East and South-East Asia and South and Central Asia were the regions of origin with the highest concentration of victims which IOM assisted, and represented just over a quarter of the caseload each. These location data are not necessarily representative of global human trafficking prevalence trends, but instead reflect where IOM has the most extensive programming.

The data outlined above with further regional information can be found here.

“We are now partnering with other leaders in this field to host the world’s largest open access, multi-stakeholder repository of human trafficking data – the Human Trafficking Data Portal. By making our data available to external parties on a systematic basis, whilst ensuring the anonymity of victims, the Portal will rapidly enhance the evidence base for the development of responses to the threat of human trafficking and labour exploitation and abuse,” Nguyen said.

IOM is the largest provider of services to victims of human trafficking across the globe. IOM has implemented counter trafficking programmes since 1994 and has, since then, assisted over 70,000 trafficked persons and exploited migrants.

For more information on IOM counter-trafficking programmes, please click here.

For further information please contact Harry Cook, IOM HQ, Tel: +41 227 179 502; Email: