UN Migration Agency Offers Support to Guatemala After Deadly Volcanic Eruption

Date Publish: 

Guatemala City – The UN Migration Agency (IOM) has extended condolences to the families of the victims following Volcán de Fuego’s eruption, which occurred last Sunday (03/06). IOM has also expressed its solidarity with the people and government of Guatemala and stated its willingness and readiness to contribute to the immediate humanitarian assistance of those in need, in support to the National Coordination System for Disaster Reduction (CONRED).

The support offered by IOM, within the framework of its mandate as the main intergovernmental organization in the field of migration, focuses on four specific areas: shelter management; information systems for monitoring populations displaced by the eruption; evaluation of damaged infrastructure; and attention to migrants stranded in transit.

IOM reiterates its determination to contribute to the resilience of migrants due to natural disasters to support the fulfilment and restitution of the rights of all individuals affected by this catastrophe, facing the subsequent rebuilding process.

According to CONRED, the main affected departments are Sacatepéquez, Escuintla, and Chimaltenango, which, to date, have an estimate of 1.7 million affected people; 3,265 evacuated; 1,689 in shelters; 46 injured and 62 deceased.

The government of Guatemala has declared a state of public calamity in these three departments. Collapsed bridges, floods, and cracked structures have affected other 2,754 inhabitants of Suchitepéquez, Retalhuleu and Alta Verapaz.

For more information, please contact Melissa Vega, IOM Guatemala, Email: mevega@iom.int, Tel: +502 2414-7401, or Alba Miriam Amaya, Email: aamaya@iom.int, Tel: +503 2521-0511

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons 2020

Date Publish: 
30 / 07 / 2020

António Vitorino

Director General, International Organization for Migration (IOM) 

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons 

 30 July 2020 


This year is the twentieth anniversary of the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, and its historic Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. 

We are half-way through a very difficult year for everyone, and our contemporary challenges have had a severe impact on people’s vulnerability to trafficking and exploitation. 

IOM was implementing counter-trafficking interventions in accordance with human rights principles long before the Palermo Protocol gave us the clearly defined parameters that we know today. And likewise, our interventions have evolved over time as new forms of trafficking have emerged. 

We have learned, as have governments, that it is imperative to partner with the private sector, trade unions, supply chain auditors, and recruitment agencies to put in place practices to reduce the risks of trafficking and exploitation. 

As we embark upon a new decade, the world is now confronted with perhaps our biggest challenge to counter-trafficking – that of a pandemic, that has in addition brought severe restrictions to mobility, impacted livelihoods, and limited access to vulnerable people. COVID-19 has brought a devastating impact upon the household security and health of billions of people all over the world, which inevitably heightens vulnerability and risk of exploitation, whether it is job-seekers taking hazardous journeys, families relying on child labour for survival, or the marriage of young daughters in a desperate attempt to relieve economic strain. 

Now, as we have always done, the anti-trafficking community must evolve and adapt to this new crisis, finding innovative ways to identify trends, to screen for vulnerabilities, to support States while advocating for human rights and the prevention of abuse, and to seek safe and viable options for those who will remain on the move.  Let's move into this direction together, as united we are stronger!