Assistance and Protection

Migrant Assistance and Protection

As the leading intergovernmental organization in the field of migration, IOM works with States and Civil Society to assist and protect migrants in need.

As part of a migration management comprehensive strategy, more than 330,000 migrants (irregular or stranded migrants, rejected asylum seekers, victims of trafficking, unaccompanied minors) have been assisted by IOM for their voluntary return and reintegration since the year 2000,  with the exception of repatriation caused by emergency situations (conflicts or natural disasters). In West and Central Africa, more than 3,000 migrants have been assisted in 2013. IOM provides technical assistance in countering human trafficking and assistance to vulnerable migrants.

•      Direct assistance to migrants

Thanks to assisted voluntary return programs, IOM provides direct assistance to migrants who are not able or willing to stay in their host country. Reintegration in the country of origin is a key element to facilitate a durable return and to reduce the vulnerable factors which have led migrants to leave their country.

Reintegration projects can be individual projects or community based, or both. Direct assistance based on human rights of vulnerable migrants enables victims of trafficking to be granted several forms of assistance: legal assistance, satisfaction of basic needs, and assistance in identifying durable solutions such as return or reintegration, relocation in the host or the country of origin or potential resettlement in a third country.

Unaccompanied migrant children are assisted according to child protection standards through the identification of durable solutions, in full respect of their best interest.

•      Capacity building

IOM implements training programs and institutional capacity building to benefit border authorities, judges, law enforcement agents, parliamentarians, civil society actors and other partners working with migrants. These training activities can cover a wide range of topics: prevention, protection, legal prosecution, national and international legal framework, victims of trafficking identification modalities, reception centers management, personal data collection and protection. In addition to these trainings, IOM also provides institutional support to implement laws, elaborates plans of actions and establishes referral systems for the most vulnerable groups.  

•      Information and prevention campaigns

IOM carries out awareness-raising initiatives for communities at risk of exploitation and advises on assistance options. Awareness-raising campaigns for communities of origin of victims of trafficking as well as in areas of high mobility, involving children in particular (exploited in the agriculture, mining, begging, prostitution, domestic work, etc.), are regularly being implemented in several countries in the region.