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07 February 2018

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How It Feels to Survive Slavery: Ira’s Story

Belarus – Ira is a victim of trafficking in human beings. She survived sexual slavery.

It is hard to believe that slavery still exists in the modern world. Today this phenomenon is referred to as “Trafficking in Human Beings” and “traffickers” are subject to criminal liability for the recruitment, detention and exploitation of victims of trafficking. Victims are often psychologically and/or physically injured for the rest of their lives. Hardly ever do they tell their stories to others because most likely they will be criticized and blamed for what has happened to them.

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An informal settlement in D.R. Congo. Photo: Christian Jepsen/NRC

D.R. Congo Gripped by Fear as Thousands Flee 'Bone-Chilling' Violence

The Guardian – The UN refugee agency has become the latest aid organisation to voice its alarm over rising violence in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo that has forced thousands of people to flee their homes.

Last month, Jean-Philippe Chauzy, DRC’s chief of mission for the International Organization for Migration (IOM), said the humanitarian crisis in DRC was at “breaking point” amid a massive escalation of inter-ethnic conflict and widespread insecurity.

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The Intercultural Cities programme assists cities around the world to promote integration.

Cities, Local Communities and Migrants: Why Diversity is Beneficial for Everyone

Europe  – Cities and residents across Europe have been playing a crucial role in welcoming migrants, including refugees. Urban areas provide an opportunity to achieve economic independence and a sense of community. They have the facilities required to meet newcomers’ immediate needs, as well as offer opportunities for long-term social and economic integration.

The degree to which migrants are welcomed, integrated and included into local government’s policies and planning strongly impacts their level of empowerment and resilience to shocks. In a world where no country is immune to disasters, and urban areas may suffer the greatest impacts due to the concentration of population and assets, the integration of migrants in local level disaster risk reduction measures is key.

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IOM Revised Appeal, Voluntary Repatriation of Burundians in Tanzania, January to December 2018

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Rene: "I wanted to take the time to reconnect with the country I came from, not only as a visitor but as a member of society."

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Find out about the Counter Trafficking Data Collaborative here.


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Migration in the News

  • AFP, AP and UN News Centre reported that the number of migrants who died near the US-Mexico border rose in 2017 even as the number of attempted border crossings fell dramatically.
  • PRI reported that compared to this time last year, there are fewer deaths in the Mediterranean but abuse on migrants still continues on land.
  • IPS reported about the ordeal of Nazir Mohammed in Libya, who was among 19,000 Ghanaian migrants who were repatriated from Libya seven years ago.
  • AFP reported that widows’ camp, a sanctuary off limits to men inside Bangladesh’s refugee settlements, provides Rohingya women and children traumatized by violence rare moments of peace.
  • Reuters reported that the leaders of Italy’s right-wing parties have pledged to deport hundreds of thousands of migrants if they win the March 4 parliamentary election, a promise that may win votes but will be hard to keep.
  • Reuters reported that Pope Francis urged Catholics to reflect on the causes of violence against migrants during the approaching season of Lent, in an appeal days after a shooting attack on Africans further inflamed Italy’s election campaign.
  • Al Arabiya reported that recent events in the Italian city of Macerata are dividing public opinion and politicians just less than a month before national elections. This has led Italians to debate the presence of African migrants as victims and as criminals.
  • Xinhua reported that Italy announced Tuesday an additional 80 million euros in its investment to fight irregular migration from Africa during an Africa-European Union ministerial conference on migration.
  • Malta Independent reported that for European and African countries to succeed in breaking the business model adopted by human traffickers, they must at least match their level of determination and creativity, Malta Foreign Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela has said during the second ministerial conference on migration management.
  • EU Neighbours reported about a project that will support the modernisation of the crossing points and the establishment of jointly operated-border crossing points on the Ukrainian and Moldovan border.
  • Circa reported that reuniting with family is just one of many reasons why a small, but growing number of Syrian refugees are returning to the country they so desperately attempted to escape just a few years prior. 
  • Nigeria’s The Nation reported that a leading expert on human trafficking and modern slavery has advised the Nigerian government to allocate resources equitably in order to curb  the vulnerabilities that drive people into irregular migration and modern-day slavery.

Trending on the Internet

  • Channel News Asia reported that Nepal's restrictions on women migrating for work are discriminatory and inconsistent with international law, UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Felipe Gonzalez Morales said.
  • The National reported that New York University – Abu Dhabi paired up with photographer Nadia Benchallal to give cameras to migrants to document their lives in the Markazi refugee camp in Djibouti.


Media Contacts

For interviews and other media requests, please contact the

IOM Media and Communications team here.