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IOM Data Highlight Migrants’ Vulnerability

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has found that 71% of migrants on Mediterranean routes to Europe experience practices and exploitation that "may amount to human trafficking".

According to results of a survey conducted over the past ten months, 79% of migrants who spent at least one year in a country different from their country of origin experiencing at least one of the surveyed exploitative practices.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include several Goals and targets that directly and indirectly relate to migration issues, particularly SDGs 8, 10, and 16.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) released data showing that 71% of migrants on Mediterranean routes to Europe experience “exploitation and practices which may amount to human trafficking.” IOM’s data analyze the scale of abuse, exploitation and trafficking experienced by migrants on the Central and Eastern Mediterranean routes, identifying the Central Mediterranean route as more dangerous for migrants.

IOM is an intergovernmental organization that works with migrants, governments and other partners to provide humane responses to migration challenges. In September 2016, IOM became a related organization of the United Nations. IOM conducted nearly 9,000 anonymous surveys between December 2015 and September 2016 in the Eastern Mediterranean, and between June and September 2016 on the Central Mediterranean route.

The survey includes six questions to identify potential human trafficking or exploitative practices, such as performing work or other activities without receiving expected payment, and being kept at locations against their will by entities other than governmental authorities. According to the IMO, the surveys represent the first attempt to quantify exploitative practices, beyond qualitative studies and interviews.

The results highlight that the longer a migrant spends in transit, the more vulnerable he or she is to exploitation and/or human trafficking, with 79% of migrants who spent at least one year in a country different from their country of origin experiencing at least one of the surveyed exploitative practices. Migrants are seven to ten times more likely to experience some form of abuse on the Central Mediterranean route than migrants on the Eastern Mediterranean route, with the highest number of abuse cases report in Libya. Journey duration was also longer on the Central Mediterranean route, with 35% of respondents spending more than six months on their way to Europe compared to 11% of respondents who spent more than six months on the Eastern Mediterranean route. (IISD)