IOM Missions Across Europe Mark EU Anti-Trafficking Day


Geneva/Brussels – To mark EU Anti-Trafficking Day (18/10), International Organization for Migration (IOM) offices across Europe mobilized this week to raise awareness and reinforce the tools needed to fight the scourge of trafficking in human beings which has ensnared tens of thousands of victims across Europe.  

Ola Henrikson, Director of IOM’s Regional Office for the EU, said that while much progress has been made in the fight against the crime of human trafficking, the numbers of victims in Europe are still unacceptably high and the resources made available to assist victims are unevenly distributed.  

“Victims of this heinous crime come from within Europe and from third countries. Resources and assistance should be made available to all victims, regardless of their nationality or country of origin,” said Henrikson.  

“We need more awareness-raising around this phenomena, more resources to fight against it, and more research and data to inform and improve our policy response,” he added.   

According to data released by the Counter-Trafficking Data Collaborative (CTDC), between 2002 and 2018 more than 32,000 European victims of trafficking exploited around the world were identified. In Europe, 29,000 victims were exploited, from various European nationalities and beyond. In both these groups, two in three victims were women. Victims were mainly trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation and forced labour.

Established by IOM, the CTDC is the first global data hub on human trafficking which publishes harmonized data from organizations working on counter-trafficking around the world, including IOM. CTDC currently combines the three largest case-level victim of human trafficking datasets into one centralized dataset with information on over 90,000 cases spanning169 nationalities exploited in 172 countries.

IOM’s United Kingdom (UK) office, in cooperation with the London school of Economics, held an event yesterday (17/10) on the role of data in eradicating human trafficking and modern slavery. The event, Making a difference with data: how is data helping end human trafficking and modern slavery? explored global, national and local data on human trafficking and highlighted the important contribution that data can make to inform policy and programming with the goal of ending human trafficking.

Meanwhile in Italy, IOM announced yesterday (17/10) that the number of potential female victims of trafficking across the Mediterranean from the Côte d’Ivoire is increasing. Based on an analysis of migratory flows along the Central Mediterranean route, IOM Italy published a briefing indicating that in the last year, IOM’s anti-trafficking teams have detected an increase in the presence of women and girls from the Côte d’Ivoire at the main landing points in Italy.

IOM offices in Switzerland, Romania, Moldova, Malta, Austria, Portugal, France and Ireland also marked this important day through workshops, trainings and awareness-raising activities. 

IOM in Bern organized 19 events including conferences, lectures in schools, movie screenings or podium discussions in 8 cantons which will run over the course of 20 days. The teams are also leading an information bus on human trafficking, which is  an itinerant exhibition touring around Switzerland to raise more awareness and provide better access to information on human trafficking.

IOM offices in Romania and Moldova organized a regional workshop on counter-trafficking with border police officials and experts from various countries, together with representatives of FRONTEX and SELEC, to discuss challenges and good practices on cooperation with law-enforcement and prosecution. In Malta, IOM organized a training session on trafficking in persons for government representatives, migrant-led NGO’s and other stakeholders in the context of the EU-funded regional project PROTECT.

IOM has been working to counter trafficking in persons since the mid-nineties and has assisted over 100,000 victims of trafficking globally. 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.

For more information, please contact Safa Msehli in Geneva: Tel +41 766 133 175, Email:

  • For two years, Khadijetou, a victim of trafficking, was exploited, tortured, deprived of her income and her family. Photo: IOM/Sibylle Desjardins 2018


  • Between 2002 and 2018 more than 32,000 European victims of trafficking exploited around the world were identified. Photo: IOM