While the global scale of human trafficking is difficult to quantify precisely, as many as 800,000 people may be trafficked across international borders annually, with many more trafficked within the borders of their own countries. Human traffickers and organized criminal groups are earning billions of dollars in profits from the exploitation of others - many of whom are victims of severe human rights violations.
IOM believes that trafficking in persons needs to be approached within the overall context of effective migration governance and protection of the human rights of migrants. Our broad range of activities are implemented in partnership with governmental institutions, NGOs and international organizations. The approach is based on three principles that govern all our counter-trafficking activities:
- Respect for human rights;
- Physical, mental and social well-being of the individual and his or her community;
- Sustainability through institutional capacity building of governments and civil society.
Since 1999, IOM Thailand has worked in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region to improve the identification and assistance of trafficked persons, to partner with government and law enforcement officials to prosecute traffickers, and to collaborate with government and civil society actors in promoting life skills among those most vulnerable, thereby reducing the likelihood of future trafficking.
As a major player in protection-oriented approaches to identification of victims of trafficking in Southeast Asia, IOM staff are frequently called upon by governments to conduct victim identification and screening, perform translation services during interviews, and train government officials (including law enforcement and social welfare officials) on protection-oriented approaches to identification of victims of trafficking (VoTs).
IOM’s direct assistance to VoTs in Thailand includes supporting governmental and non-governmental actors in the provision of psychosocial services, counselling, medical, food and non-food items, and emergency assistance. It also provides return, reintegration and post arrival support, including provision of and referral to service providers and NGO/CBO partners.
Prevention efforts are undertaken through safe migration campaigns that are implemented in source, transit and destination countries and communities, in addition to community outreach activities and awareness raising on human trafficking.
Due to long-standing relationships, IOM has exclusive access to government-run VOT shelters in Thailand. IOM leverages these relationships to engage in capacity building of shelter staff, and provide psychosocial assistance, including trauma counselling, training of psychologists, and the development of training curricula for governments.