Migrant Vulnerability to Human Trafficking and Exploitation: Evidence from the Central and Eastern Mediterranean Migration Routes

The report Migrant Vulnerability to Human Trafficking and Exploitation: Evidence from the Central and Eastern Mediterranean Migration Routes, analyses quantitative data, as well as personal experiences of abuse, violence, exploitation, and human trafficking collected over the past two years from 16,500 migrants in seven countries. While other IOM reports have documented the scale of exploitation on the main migration routes to Europe, this report is the first to identify key factors associated with increased vulnerability to exploitation and human trafficking during the journey. The data comes from IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM).

“The findings contribute to our understanding of the factors that contribute to migrants’ vulnerability to abuse, exploitation and trafficking,” said Anh Nguyen, IOM Head of Migrant Assistance Division. “It improves the evidence available for policymakers to better identify and protect vulnerable migrants on their journeys, in line with IOM’s determinants of migrant vulnerability model,” he added. 

 

About the Determinants of Migrant Vulnerability Model

In 2016, IOM developed a framework for analyzing and responding to migrant vulnerability. This framework was specifically developed to address the protection and assistance needs of a specific subset of migrants: those who have experienced or are vulnerable to violence, abuse, or exploitation before, during, or after the migration process. It was also designed to be flexible enough to assess the vulnerability of both individual migrants and migrant groups.

The framework differs from other conceptualizations of migrant vulnerability that focus on an individual migrant’s membership in a particular category, such as refugee, irregular migrant, or victim of trafficking, or on a single characteristic, such as age or sex. Rather, the determinants of migrant vulnerability framework look at a range of factors at individual, household, community, and structural levels and assess if these factors contribute to risk of, or protect against, violence, exploitation, or abuse within a migration context.

It considers the overall level of vulnerability of an individual migrant, or a migration-affected household, community, or group, to violence, abuse, or exploitation before, during, or after a migration process, or their ability to avoid, resist, cope with, or recover from such maltreatment, as the net impact of the interaction of these factors at different levels. It also considers the ways in which households, families, communities, and the state can mitigate vulnerability and reduce harm.

About DTM

The report findings are based on statistical models that use over 16,500 interviews with migrants. The data was collected through a network of field workers as part of IOM’s DTM flow monitoring operations in the Mediterranean, from December 2015 to November 2016.

The Flow Monitoring Survey on which the analysis of this report is based is a tool used by IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), a modular system developed by IOM, which tracks and monitors displacement and population mobility so that decision makers and responders can better understand the movements and needs of displaced people. The Flow Monitoring Survey unites two DTM components – the flow monitoring and the surveys. While flow monitoring aims to derive quantitative estimates of the flow of individuals through specific locations and to collect information about the profiles, intentions and needs of the people moving, the surveys component of DTM is used to enrich and complement the other components. It describes characteristics and provides a deeper understanding of populations of concern (such as internally displaced people, returnees, migrants).