IOM, Nippon Foundation Provide Protection for Victims of Trafficking in Madagascar


Antananarivo – Representatives of the Malagasy Government, led by the Minister for Social Affairs Lucien Irmah Naharimamy; IOM, the UN Migration Agency; and partners proceeded to inaugurate the first victims of trafficking (VoTs) shelter in Madagascar.

A significant number of Malagasy nationals fall prey to traffickers nationally and transnationally. Children, trafficked internally and primarily from rural areas, are subjected to domestic servitude, prostitution, forced begging, and forced labour in the mining, fishing, and agriculture sectors. Women and men, who are trafficked both within Madagascar and internationally, face labour and sexual exploitation.

In the first six months of the year alone, IOM assisted with the repatriation and return of a record 126 victims of trafficking from the Gulf countries and Asia, in coordination with the Malagasy Government and authorities in the countries of destination. Most of the time, upon their return to Madagascar, the VoTs are left to fend for themselves, as social workers lack basic options to provide a safe space and assistance services that are catered to the particular needs of VoTs (including first response to emotional distress and the effects of physical abuses and trauma).

The “Mitsinho” shelter is located in a central neighbourhood of the capital city Antananarivo. It is the first of its kind, and will provide identified VoTs with first care and secure temporary accommodation. It provides a much needed space where VoTs can have a moment of pause, and benefit from a range of assistance and counselling, including legal counselling, delivered by well-trained social workers and assistance professionals. The individuals can also reconnect with their families in a neutral environment.

On the occasion of the official inauguration of the shelter, IOM and the Ministry of Social Affairs presented the short participatory film directed and produced by a group of VoTs. The group members overcame their fears to tell their stories in their own words, and help raise awareness of a subject that remains hidden or treated as taboo in many communities. At the end of the year, during the 3rd edition of the Global Migration Film Festival, an international version of the participatory film will be screened around the world.

The rehabilitation of the shelter and the training of social workers has been made possible with support from the Nippon Foundation through the IOM Sasakawa Endowment Fund. Acknowledging the funding, IOM Madagascar Chief of Mission Daniel Silva noted that “it illustrates the commitment of principled private businesses to contribute to respond proactively and effectively to one of the most brutal migration management issues of our time: trafficking in persons.”

Globally, since the mid-1990s, IOM and its partners have provided protection and assistance to close to 100,000 trafficked persons, including 8,700 in 2017. IOM takes a comprehensive approach to addressing human trafficking. In Madagascar this effort complements IOM’s multiyear support to the Government of Madagascar and civil society organizations, aimed at enhancing the criminal justice system’s response through victim-centred investigations and prosecutions of trafficking cases; strengthening coordination of the national anti-trafficking response; and improving data collection and reporting.

For more information please contact Daniel Silva y Poveda at IOM Madagascar; Tel: +261.32 56 54 954, Email:

  • The Minister for Social Affairs and officials unveil the inauguration plate for the rehabilitated VoT shelter. Photo: IOM