The International Organization for Migration warns today that unless the international community takes decisive action to address the causes of irregular migration, more migrant lives will be lost at the hands of people smugglers and traffickers.
Observing International Migrants Day (18 December) the Organization’s Director General, William Lacy Swing noted that 2013 may have been the costliest year on record in terms of lives lost, for migrants seeking to cross international borders clandestinely.
"We will never know the true total, as many migrants died anonymously in deserts, in oceans or in other accidents", stated Ambassador Swing. "However, our figures show that at least 2,360 migrants died this year while chasing the dream of a new life. These people are desperate – not even a very real fear of death prevents them from making their journey". […]
IOM Rome, together with the Choir of the Roman Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Mons. Pablo Colino, will organize this evening at 7.00 pm a concert “in memory of the migrants who lost their lives in Lampedusa, in the Mediterranean sea and elsewhere, in search of a better life.” The concert will take place in Rome’s Santa Maria del Popolo Basilica.
Director General of IOM, Ambassador William Lacy Swing, will participate in the event and will address his introductory remarks before the beginning of the concert.
"More than 20,000 people died in the last 20 years while trying to reach Italian shores. 2,300 lost their lives in 2011, about 700 in 2013", says José Angel Oropeza, Director of the IOM coordinating office for the Mediterranean. "Too many deaths, too many hopes drowned in the strip of sea which separates North Africa from Europe". […]
The death of 30 Haitian migrants at sea earlier this week off the Bahamas has triggered renewed concerns about the plight of irregular migrants risking their lives around the world in unseaworthy boats and other life-threatening transport in search of better lives.
"The deaths at sea of these migrants in the Caribbean, and others in the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea, as well as in the deserts of Mexico and the Sahara, are a wake-up call for the international community to act. We must take urgent measures to ensure that these tragedies become a thing of the past", says IOM Director General William Lacy Swing.
IOM calls on all actors to address the situation of migrants attempting life-threatening journeys. They include refugees and asylum seekers, people seeking employment and people who may be particularly vulnerable, including victims of trafficking and unaccompanied minors. […]
IOM has received a donation of EUR 1.1 million from the European Union for a project which will help to fight child trafficking and gender- based violence (GBV) in Puntland, Somalia.
Entitled "Prevention of Child Trafficking and Gender-based Violence, as well as Protection and Care for Victims in Somalia", IOM, in coordination with key stakeholders in Puntland, will spearhead the project by raising awareness on both issues, support capacity building of the authorities, and provide direct assistance to child trafficking and GBV survivors.
The prevalence of gender-based violence and child trafficking in Somalia is reportedly one of the highest in the world. In particular, migrants and internally displaced persons (IDPs) are vulnerable to child trafficking and GBV including sexual attacks and female genital mutilation, due to lack of protection and awareness, a situation which is aggravated by the insecure environment in which they live.
In addition, migrants are trafficked for domestic servitude and labour in the agricultural sectors. Most of them experience cruelty, abuse and inhuman treatment, with Puntland being a transit point to the Middle Eastern countries. […]
IOM today launched its Annual Review of Migrant Assistance projects implemented in 2012. The report focuses on protection and services for vulnerable migrants, including victims of trafficking, unaccompanied migrant children (UMCs), and other stranded migrants who have suffered abuse or exploitation. It also addresses assisted voluntary return and reintegration (AVRR).
The review also looks at human trafficking crime trends worldwide. While women continue to represent the majority of trafficked people in receipt of IOM assistance, accounting for over half of all cases, the review reports rising numbers of male victims of trafficking and labour exploitation, particularly in economic sectors requiring predominantly manual labour.
Children, especially UMCs, continue to represent an important beneficiary group of IOM assistance projects. Close to 30 per cent of the total number of victims of trafficking assisted were under the age of 18.
The review also stresses that while demand for cheap labour and sexual services remains a root cause of human trafficking and related abuses, other factors, notably migration push factors, such as relative poverty, under development and lack of equal opportunity, also contribute to the vulnerability of many young migrants. […]