Migration offers a wealth of opportunities for migrants and their host communities, but also holds inherent risks for those who leave their homes. Vulnerability within the migration context is the result of a combination of individual, household, community, structural, and situational factors or circumstances that increase the risk of, protect against, or facilitate recovery from violence, exploitation, abuse, and/or violations of rights.

IOM aims to prevent violence against migrants, violations of their rights, and/or their exploitation and abuse by proactively identifying and assisting vulnerable migrants. For those who have already experienced violence, exploitation, abuse, or a violation of their rights, IOM aims to provide comprehensive protective and assistance services that take into account the specific set of factors that contributed to their vulnerability in order to develop tailored responses that maximize potential for sustainable recovery. IOM’s overall assistance to vulnerable migrants approach also aims to enhance the physical, mental and social well-being of the individual and his or her community and promote sustainability through institutional capacity building of governments and civil society.

In Thailand, IOM provides direct assistance and humanitarian assistance to stranded and vulnerable migrants, including unaccompanied minors. Such assistance is supplemented by community stabilization activities with community leaders and government stakeholders to promote community empowerment and harmonization.

For migrants who are unable or unwilling to remain in host countries and wish to return voluntarily to their countries of origin but lack the means to do so, IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme provides a solution to their immediate plight. The Organization provides administrative, logistical and financial support for these migrants and also supports them with reintegration measures at the individual or at the community level. IOM is mandated by its Constitution to ensure orderly migration, inter alia, through voluntary return and reintegration assistance. In particular, IOM emphasizes that voluntariness remains a precondition for all its AVRR activities.

IOM's AVRR programme is divided into three stages.

  1. Pre-departure assistance: Counselling and return-related information dissemination on the country of origin, medical assistance (e.g. medical examinations and documentation), transport assistance arrangement including travel documentation and specialized assistance and referral services to vulnerable individuals. 
  2. Travel assistance: Departure (including travel and miscellaneous allowances), transport (movement coordination, transit assistance, escort assistance based on individual needs and circumstances) and medical assistance.
  3. Post-arrival assistance: Reception, inland transport, health-related support, provision of reintegration assistance (often in cooperation with local entities and non-governmental organizations) as well as monitoring where feasible.

For more information about IOM’s AVRR programmes and activities, please visit this link.