Over the past years, pub­lic atten­tion has grad­u­al­ly turned to the expe­ri­ences of migrants along the pre­car­i­ous Mediter­ranean routes to Europe. A large num­ber of migrants con­tin­ue to risk their lives cross­ing the Mediter­ranean Sea on the way to Europe, often endur­ing long and per­ilous jour­neys. A grow­ing body of evi­dence is begin­ning to high­light the scale and scope of exploita­tion expe­ri­enced by migrants along these routes, includ­ing human trafficking.

This report exam­ines migrants’ vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty to human traf­fick­ing and exploita­tion by explor­ing risk and pro­tec­tive fac­tors asso­ci­at­ed with unsafe migra­tion, through the sys­tem­at­ic evi­dence col­lect­ed by IOM’s Dis­place­ment Track­ing Matrix (DTM) oper­a­tions in 2016. It presents the results from the largest exist­ing set of sur­vey data on the vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty of migrants to abuse, exploita­tion and human traf­fick­ing on the Mediter­ranean routes to Europe.

The analy­sis of the IOM sur­vey data shows that more than one third (37%) of all inter­viewed migrants had a per­son­al expe­ri­ence that indi­cat­ed the pres­ence of human traf­fick­ing or oth­er exploita­tive prac­tices along the route. Sev­en­ty-three per cent of migrants inter­viewed along the Cen­tral Mediter­ranean route pre­sent­ed at least one indi­ca­tor of exploita­tion, along with 14 per cent of migrants inter­viewed along the East­ern Mediter­ranean route. The analy­sis in this report goes beyond describ­ing the cor­re­lates of vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty, and it explores whether poten­tial pre­dic­tors can be asso­ci­at­ed with vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty when sta­tis­ti­cal­ly con­trol­ling for the effects of oth­er vari­ables. Advanced sta­tis­ti­cal analy­sis (a set of mul­ti­level logis­tic regres­sion mod­els) was under­tak­en to iden­ti­fy fac­tors that pre­dict migrants’ vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty dur­ing the journey.

Data derive from inter­views con­duct­ed over a one-year peri­od with more than 16,000 migrants in sev­en coun­tries, name­ly, Bul­gar­ia, Greece, Hun­gary, Italy, Ser­bia, Slove­nia and the for­mer Yugoslav Repub­lic of Macedonia.

Table of contents:
  • Fore­word
  • Acknowl­edge­ments
  • Exec­u­tive summary
  • Intro­duc­tion
  • Method­ol­o­gy, sur­vey sam­ple and oper­a­tional context
  • Pre­dic­tors of vulnerability
  • Dis­cus­sion
  • Pol­i­cy implications
  • Ref­er­ences
  • Appen­dices

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