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Protecting Victims of Human Trafficking

Migrants at severe risk

The number of trafficking victims worldwide is reported to be in the millions, a number constantly on the rise. Organized criminal groups earn billions of dollars from trafficking and exploiting people – many of whom suffer severe human rights violations.

Trafficked persons are often victims of rape, torture, debt bondage, unlawful confinement and threats against their family or other people close to them.

The demand for cheap labor, sexual services and certain criminal activities are the root causes of trafficking.  IOM estimates that as many as one third of trafficked persons are minors.


IOM’s primary goals are to prevent human trafficking and to protect victims from the trade, while offering them options of safe and sustainable reintegration and/or return to their home countries.

Our approach is based on three principles:

  • Respect for human rights
  • Physical, mental and social well-being of the individual and his or her community
  • Sustainability through institutional capacity building of governments and civil society


Since prevention is always better than cure, IOM works to educate the public about human trafficking, encourage people to report suspected cases, and equip vulnerable populations with the information necessary to better protect themselves from the recruitment tactics of traffickers.


We offer comprehensive direct assistance to victims of trafficking in collaboration with our partners. This includes safe housing, and both medical and psychosocial support. We also provide skills development and vocational training, and the options of voluntary, safe and dignified return to countries of origin, integration in the country of destination, or resettlement to third countries when needed.

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