Through its Assistance to Vulnerable Migrants (AVM) Unit, IOM provides protection and assistance to migrants vulnerable to violence, exploitation, and abuse, including victims of trafficking.

IOM’s approach to migrant vulnerability is rooted in the belief that the human rights of all persons, including migrants, should be upheld and promoted and that all migrants who are vulnerable, regardless of their membership in any particular category or holding of any particular status, should be afforded the protection and assistance services they require.

IOM uses the definition of migrants in vulnerable situations put forth by the GMG Principles and Practical Guidance on the Protection of the Human Rights of Migrants in Vulnerable Situations: Migrants in vulnerable situations are migrants who are unable effectively to enjoy their human rights, are at increased risk of violations and abuse and who, accordingly, are entitled to call on a duty bearer’s heightened duty of care.

The Assistance to Vulnerable Migrants Unit is specifically concerned with a sub-set of migrants in vulnerable situations: those vulnerable to violence, exploitation, and abuse. This reflects the Unit’s role and position within the Organization, as the Unit that has traditionally had oversight of IOM’s counter-trafficking programmes. But IOM also believes it reflects greater recognition within the international community that many migrants face predations during the migration process and require protection and assistance, even if their experiences do not make them eligible for protections under specific regimes, such as those available for trafficked persons and refugees.

Over the past 20 years, IOM has provided protection and assistance to thousands of trafficked and other vulnerable migrants. IOM has also implemented a large number of structural or upstream initiatives, including capacity-development and technical assistance to governments, civil society, and businesses on the development and implementation of counter-trafficking, anti-smuggling, and migration management laws, policies, and programmes.

Completed Projects

PROTECT - Preventing sexual and gender-based violence against migrants and strengthening support to victims