Labour Exploitation Main Reason for Human Trafficking, Says IOM Report

Switzerland - Half of the human trafficking cases brought before IOM for assistance in 2011 involved victims of labour exploitation according to IOM’s  first  report on counter trafficking and assistance to vulnerable migrants.

The report which looked into human trafficking trends in 2011, by way of assistance, collected   information from more than 150 IOM Missions.  

During the period, IOM provided assistance to some 3,014 victims of labour exploitation, which represents a 53% of all recorded instances of assistance sought by victims of human trafficking.

By contrast, only 27% of the cases assisted by IOM involved trafficking for sexual exploitation.

Since 2010, labour trafficking has overtaken sexual exploitation as the main type of trafficking, seen in cases assisted by IOM.  IOM keeps the world’s largest case level statistics on human trafficking.
Labour trafficking is a feature of many economic sectors, particularly those requiring manual labour such as agri¬culture, construction, domestic work, fisheries, and mining. In many cases, the exploitation takes place under the guise of legal and contractual work, but with degrading conditions of work which are different from the promises given to the workers.

Though assistance to female victims of trafficking has remained  fairly on the same level as that of 2008, the report says there has been an increase of demand for assistance from male  victims of trafficking from 1,656 individuals in 2008 to 2,040 in 2011.
Women however,  says the report, continue to represent the majority of trafficked persons receiving IOM assistance, making up nearly two thirds (62%) of cases assisted by IOM. This includes cases involving sexual exploitation, labour exploitation, and a combination of sexual and labour exploitation.

During the 2011 period IOM provided help to around 2,700 trafficked and exploited migrants, the majority, 835, were Ukrainians.

The figure shows a decline of   seven percent in assisted cases, compared with the number of persons assisted in 2010. The decline is attributed to external factors rather than being a reflection of the actual drop in cases of human trafficking.

The main countries of destination for human trafficking victims according to the report are the Russian Federation, Haiti, Yemen, Thailand and Kazakhstan. Top countries of origin were named by the report as Ukraine, Haiti, Yemen, Laos, Uzbekistan and Cambodia.

IOM provides a wide range of assistance to victims of human trafficking including legal and medical assistance, voluntary return , reintegration assistance , protection and shelter  prior to voluntary repatriation.

For access to the full report, please visit:

For more details please contact

Amanda Gould
IOM Geneva
Ttel: +41 22 717 91 70