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Trafficking in persons – IOM data

IOM collects data on victims of trafficking in persons through its Global Human Trafficking Database. The database is a standardized anti-trafficking data-management tool available to all IOM missions and is actively used throughout all regions of the world. The structure follows the format of the accompanying IOM Victims of Trafficking questionnaires, used by IOM missions and partnering organisations involved in direct assistance, and containing information both of a quantitative and qualitative nature on:

  • The socioeconomic profile of victims;
  • The profile of traffickers;
  • Trafficking routes;
  • Patterns of exploitation and abuse;
  • Nature of assistance provided;
  • Instances of re-trafficking.

The database also serves as a knowledge bank, from which statistical and detailed reports can be drawn. In so doing, it strengthens the research capacity and understanding of the causes, processes, trends and consequences of trafficking, informing program development and policy making on counter-trafficking.

The data below is based on IOM’s global database  of approximately 46,000 cases of identified victims of human trafficking. The cases recorded in the global database date from 2002 until the first half of 2016. Victims of human trafficking assisted by IOM from 2002 to 2016 are of 140 different nationalities, and they were exploited, identified and referred in 150 different countries of destination.

IOM has been working to counter trafficking in persons since the mid-nineties. Its global database on victims of human trafficking is the largest in the world, and it continues to increase by approximately 5,000 cases per year. Approximately 70 per cent of all victims assisted annually by IOM are recorded in its global database.

About two-thirds of the identified and assisted victims of human trafficking are female. The percentage of children assisted by IOM from the total number of victims assisted varied over the years, from 4 per cent in 2001 to almost one-third of all victims assisted in 2010.

The regions with the highest percentage of children out of the total number of identified victims were West Africa, Eastern Europe and South-East Asia.

The percentage of identified cases of trafficking for sexual exploitation declined in the past years, while the percentage of identified cases of trafficking for labour exploitation have increased, while worldwide various actors in this field - IOM included - challenged the older assumption that most of the existing human trafficking is related to sexual exploitation. Most identified victims from 2002 to 2016 are still women (66 per cent), and the rest are men.