Migrant Assistance, Protection and Counter Trafficking

IOM has been working to counter the trafficking in persons since 1994. Our primary aims are to prevent trafficking in persons and to protect victims from the trade while offering them options of safe and sustainable reintegration and/or return to their home countries. Being cognizant of the links between labour migration and human trafficking, in Nepal, IOM looks to harmonize national policy and legal frameworks concerning the two issues so as to address them cohesively.

The Future We Want - Creating Sustainable Foundations for Addressing Human Trafficking and Unsafe Migration of Women and Girls in Nepal


With the aim to contribute to the efforts of the Government of Nepal in ensuring the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms and economic and personal security among survivors of trafficking and returnee migrant women in Dhading and Sindhupalchowk districts, IOM, in collaboration with UN Women, is implementing a project entitled ‘The Future We Want: Creating Sustainable Foundations for Addressing Human Trafficking and Unsafe Migration of Women and Girls in Nepal’ from the year 2016 to 2018. This Zonta International funded project adopts a comprehensive approach to ensuring the economic and personal security of vulnerable women in post-earthquake Nepal and aims to address structural barriers, gender based discrimination and stereotypical intergenerational socialization patterns in project districts; support economic empowerment of Women migrant workers and survivors of trafficking in select project districts and to ensure enhanced coherence between institutions and policies on the issues of national gender equality commitments in particular foreign employment and human trafficking. The project also aims to address and mitigate the vulnerabilities of migrant women and survivors of human trafficking on return to Nepal in coordination with relevant government line ministries and project partners.

Return Assistance to Stranded Nepali Migrants


As Nepali migrant workers encounter many risks of exploitation both within the recruitment process and later on during all the employment phases, IOM is often requested by the Government of Nepal and NGOs to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to vulnerable migrants in need. In this context, IOM implemented a two year project entitled ‘Return Assistance to Stranded Nepali Migrants’ from 2015 – 2018 with funding support by the Qatar Development Fund that provided voluntary return and reintegration assistance to the vulnerable, stranded and exploited Nepali migrant workers in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, U.A.E, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon and Malaysia.

Adopting migrant-sensitive and rights based approaches that ensure their willingness to return, while offering humanitarian assistance, reception and other supports i.e. fulfillment of basic needs and access to livelihood opportunities that will encourage sustainable reintegration in Nepal, the project provided voluntary return and reintegration assistance to migrant workers in the following situations:

  • Victim of abuse, exploitation, trafficking, or being stranded at the destination;
  • No possibility to regularize their status in the country where they reside;
  • Unable to have access to assistance in the destination;
  • Without enough money to pay their way home; without documentation needed to move to another country

The reintegration assistance has further helped the project beneficiaries to sustainably reintegrate back into their local community as majority of the returnee beneficiaries have utilized their reintegration support for setting up agro-based/livestock farming business, setting up small grocery shop, tea shop and tailoring shop.

The Project was implemented in close coordination and partnership with the line Ministries i.e. the Ministry of Labour & Employment (MoLE), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), the IOM host Missions and the local NGOs who are engaged in working towards benefit of migrants in need.

Trafficking Survivors and Vulnerable Children Support Program


With financial support from With financial support from ChildFund Korea, the IOM in partnership with some local NGO partners implemented the Trafficking Survivors and Vulnerable Children Support Project in Nepal in 2015. This project was developed as a follow up to a fund-raising video filming mission of ChildFund Korea and Korean Broadcasting Services in Nepal conducted from September to October 2014. IOM Nepal and Korea facilitated the mission. The project aimed to contribute to improving the status of vulnerable children and women, including victims of trafficking, in Nepal. Similarly, the outcomes of the project is to demonstrate improvement in education and hygiene status of vulnerable children, improvement in economic status of female survivors of trafficking and access to safe migration information. It supported the partner NGOs with their regular programs of addressing issues of street children, children in vulnerable situation and with special needs to prevent them from falling prey to various forms of exploitation including unsafe migration and trafficking. Likewise, the project enhanced the capacity of partner NGOs through technical, financial resources and capacity building trainings. It aimed to address the interconnected issues of poverty, education and lack of awareness on safe migration process through skills development and economic opportunities, education support and anti-trafficking and safe migration campaigns at the national level in partnership with government and non-governmental actors. Furthermore, the project provided necessary support to the shelters for vulnerable children and survivors of trafficking.

Research on Post Trafficking Livelihood Options


IOM, in Partnership with Newcastle University UK and Shakti Samuha Nepal, undertook a research (2010-2012) project entitled "Livelihood Options in Post Trafficking Situations in Nepal" funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), UK.

In Nepal anti-trafficking advocacy is highly visible and this context, together with the Constitution-building process, is opening up fresh debates on citizenship, trafficking, migration, gender, sexuality and people-cantered development. A key aspect of this research is to gain knowledge that is grounded in the actual experiences of Nepalese trafficked returnee women themselves. In these contexts the project aims to:

  • Investigate the desirable livelihood opportunities of sexually trafficked women upon their return.
  • Examine the intersections of sexuality, gender and citizenship in returnees' livelihood strategies as new democratic processes, supported by national and transnational communities, are unfolding.
  • Benefit a range of scholars, policy makers and anti-trafficking campaigners will benefit from the research. The project will enhance the activities of regional and national anti-trafficking NGOs by providing comprehensive qualitative data on the returnee women's livelihood strategies. For more information go to http://www.posttraffickingnepal.co.uk/.

Trafficking Risk Reduction in Nepal (TRRIN)


Trafficking in persons for sexual and labor exploitation is a complex form of human rights violation. Nepal has, historically, been viewed as a country of origin for trafficking in person, particularly women and children.

IOM Nepal implemented a project entitled “Trafficking Risk Reduction in Nepal” from 2010 – 2012 with funding support of the IOM Development Fund. Considering lack of economic opportunities as one of the major factors causing women to fall victims to trafficking, IOM Nepal practiced a multi-stake holder approach for creating avenues for economic rehabilitation of survivors and potential victims of trafficking. This approach engaged NGOs who are responsible for psychosocial counseling and day-to-day support to the beneficiaries. The Corporate Houses extended business opportunities and assist them by providing skills training, job placement and/ enterprise set-up support. The Government extended legal support and necessary advice to the initiatives. The Beneficiaries are transformed into Participants, have assumed ownership of the enterprise and earn substantial and sustainable livelihood which enables them to become economically independent and live with dignity. IOM was involved in the overall planning and coordination among various stakeholders, financial inputs and the overall project management. The TRRIN project concluded in July 2012. Over the period, IOM supported economic rehabilitation of over 200 survivors and potential victims of trafficking through the TRRIN project. 

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