World Day Against Trafficking in Persons 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. 

Launch of Online Course ‘Counter Trafficking in Humanitarian Settings’

Trafficking in persons is one of the most overlooked protection issues in emergency settings. It is often understood as a pre-existing issue that remains constant, regardless of outbreaks of conflict or natural disaster. However, disasters provide the perfect opportunity for traffickers to recruit victims to exploit.

Support for Venezuelans in Dominican Republic amidst COVID-19 Intensifies


Santo Domingo – In the Dominican Republic, efforts to assist refugees and migrants from Venezuela, especially mothers, are being intensified through the distribution of 1,900 bags of emergency food supplies and housing support—all amid the advance of COVID-19 on the island.  

Moreover, the implementation of mitigation measures and mobility restrictions have brought about a considerable reduction in income for refugees and migrants. With this, many have been at risk of losing their homes. 

IOM organizes double return flight between Belize and El Salvador

Belize – A plane chartered by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) completed last Friday a round-trip humanitarian flight, carrying 32 Salvadoran nationals from Belize to El Salvador and bringing home 13 Belizeans on the return trip. 

"This is the first large group movement of its kind for stranded migrants in Belize through IOM Assisted Voluntary Return Program," said Diana Locke, IOM's Head of Office in Belize. “This represents a big step in the right direction for the dignified return of migrants in the region.” 

Panamanians, Migrants Closer to Health Services, Better Coexistence


Panama City – The project was called “Strengthening Communities for Primary Health Care,” implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in close coordination with the Ministry of Health (MoH) of Panamá. It ended a few weeks ago, after being funded by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the US Department of Health and Human Services. 

While aiding migrants, the project also helped locals learn about the newcomers in their midst, including many Venezuelans. 

IOM and partners train border officials of the Eastern Caribbean to manage disaster displacement

Costa Rica – IOM partnered over the month of June with different entities (GIZ, PDD, UNHCR) under the leadership of the Commission of the OECS and CARICOM IMPACS to train border officials of the Eastern Caribbean on different aspects of disaster displacement.

IOM/OCHA: UN Humanitarian Chief Releases USD 25 Million in CERF Funding to IOM for NGO COVID-19 Responses

Geneva – The UN’s Humanitarian Chief and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, today released USD 25 million from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to support front-line non-governmental organizations’ (NGOs) life-saving health and water and sanitation responses to COVID-19 in Bangladesh, the Central African Republic, Haiti, Libya, South Sudan and Sudan.  

Assisted Voluntary Return for Stranded Costa Ricans

Belize - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) yesterday (14/06) assisted three Costa Ricans stranded in Belize with their voluntary return to San Jose. The migrants had been waiting in Belize for almost three months due to COVID-19-related border and airport closures.

Joint Statement: IOM Director General António Vitorino and UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi Announce Resumption of Resettlement Travel for Refugees

Geneva - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, announced today the resumption of resettlement departures for refugees. 

The temporary hold on resettlement travel, which was necessitated by disruptions and restrictions to international air travel caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, delayed the departures of some 10,000 refugees to resettlement countries. Throughout this period, IOM, UNHCR and partners continued to process and counsel refugees and resettled scores of emergency and urgent cases. 

International Organization for Migration Congratulates OECS on 39th Anniversary

The Caribbean – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is pleased to recognize and extend congratulations to the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) on the 39th anniversary of its establishment, and the 10th Anniversary of the signing of the Revised Treaty of Basseterre.