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31 July 2017

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Photo credit: Amanda Nero / IOM

It’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. What Do We Need to Do Now?
By William Lacy Swing, UN Migration Agency (IOM) Director General

(IOM) Switzerland - It is believed that millions are currently victims of trafficking in persons around the world. It is almost impossible to think about each one of those numbers as individual human beings and it can feel like an insurmountable problem. But it isn’t. And on this World Day Against Trafficking in Persons (30 July) we must believe that not only can we make a dent but that we can make significant inroads into eliminating it.

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Photo credit: IOM

A Broken Promise: The Story of How a Nigerian Girl was Trafficked to Italy

(IOM) Italy - Crickets chirping was all that could be heard on that mid-August day in the Sicilian countryside, where temperatures hit 40°C, almost melting the roads. 

The typical Sicilian Summer heat is unbearable for most people, making it intolerable to walk in the streets during the day. Cars are also a rare sight. 

A girl walks up and down the road, wearing a suffocating red wig. Her shoulders hunched, she is overtired from patrolling the same street for more than two hours. Her head starts spinning. As she begins to stumble, feeling more and more lightheaded, Italian police officers drive by. The officers notice that something is not right and escort her to the nearest police station.

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IOM’s public installations such as DIMENSIONS3 calls on Ukrainians to combat human trafficking. Photo: IOM 2016

4 Anti-Trafficking Information Campaigns from Around the World

(IOM) Ukraine - While IOM recognizes the importance of World Day against Trafficking in Persons, we know the fight against trafficking must happen every day. Our regional offices and country missions work throughout the year to raise awareness about what human trafficking is, the risks and precautionary measures that can be taken, in addition to the work they do with their partners to assist and empower victims of trafficking.  Here are four campaigns from this past year that show just some of what IOM’s regional offices and missions have created.

Read more: EN | FR | ES

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Photos: Volodymyr Shuvayev July 2017

Back in Control
Ukrainian Victims of Trafficking Find their Way to a Dignified Life

As the conflict in the East adds to socio-economic instability, Ukraine remains one of the main countries of origin of victims of trafficking in human beings in Europe. The UN Migration Agency supports the Government in raising awareness, helps those who suffered, and provides alternatives to searching for further risky income opportunities at home and abroad.

(IOM) Ukraine - Over 230,000 Ukrainians became victims of human trafficking since 1991, according to the latest research commissioned by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) – the UN Migration Agency. IOM started helping Ukrainians who had fallen prey to traffickers in 2000, with funding from donors and in cooperation with a network of partner non-government organizations throughout the country. Over 17 years later, the UN Migration Agency has helped more than 13,000 trafficking survivors return to a dignified life. IOM provides medical care, psychological counselling, shelter, legal consultation and representation in criminal and civil court. In addition to those services, there is a vocational training and small-grant programme supporting those who aspire to set-up their own business.

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IOM X is the International Organization for Migration's innovative campaign to encourage safe migration and public action to stop exploitation and human trafficking. The campaign is produced in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).


IOMX Factsheets

Nimith, Ponleak, Sokhem, and Khemera: "Our families have always been poor and when we heard that fishermen made a good amount of money, we jumped onto that chance."
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Employers in Indonesia are creating #HappyHomes with their domestic workers through open communication and respect. Watch IOMX OpenDoor series.

South America: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is...Share IOM's campaign to help stop human trafficking.
Watch here

Switzerland: Ahmed Hussen is the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship in Canada. He spoke at the opening ceremony of the International Dialogue on Migration at UN Palais in Geneva.
Watch here

Ecuador: Trafficking is considered to be the new form of slavery for the 21st Century. Watch more about the campaign here



Migration in the News

  • The Kathmandu Post, United News of Bangladesh and Dhaka Tribune ran an Op-Ed by IOM Director General William Lacy Swing for World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. The Bangkok Post and Jakarta Post also published Op-Eds by Dana Ladek Graber and Fitriana Nur respectively to mark the event.
  • RFI reported that up to 80 per cent of the Nigerian migrant women and girls who arrive in Europe via Italy could be sex trafficking victims, according to IOM.
  • The Guardian reported that more than 200 years since it was abolished, slavery is rife all over the world. It spoke to people who have escaped.
  • IPS reported that millions of humans are forced to flee armed conflicts, climate change, inequalities, and extreme poverty and fall easy prey to traffickers who lure/force them into sexual exploitation, forced labour and even selling their skin and organs.
  • Voice of America reported that the migrant route from Mexico to the United States has become deadlier since the Trump administration's tougher immigration policy came into force.
  • New York Times reported that in a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, soccer has become a joyful escape from painful realities.
  • Outlook Afghanistan reported that Refugee and Repatriation Minister Syed Hussain Alami Balkhi said an honorable and dignified return of Afghan refugees from their host countries was a top priority of the ministry.
  • Zambia’s Daily Mail reported that Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) is to conduct research which will help demystify the negative social norms some African countries have about immigrants.
  • South China Morning Post reported that a Pakistani man claiming he was deprived of food and forced to work as a “slave husband” after he migrated to Hong Kong is speaking out to prevent others from living through his heartbreaking story.

Trending on the Internet

  • BBC spoke to an Afghan asylum seeker about being deported to Croatia under a new European Court of Justice ruling.
  • Al Jazeera reported that local authorities in Mongolia are scrambling to find ways to stop young people from leaving small towns for the capital. Ulaanbaatar is struggling to cope with the influx of people, even as the mayor banned urban migration.


Media Contacts
For interviews and other media requests, please contact the IOM Media and Communications team here.