The number of migrants in the world has never been greater than today. According to IOM estimates, one in seven people in the world is a migrant, living and working outside their home area. And by September 2016, some 244 million people worldwide were living and working outside their countries of birth.
This can only be a good thing, because IOM believes that ultimately, migration should be good for society. Human mobility allows the world’s labour to seek the best opportunities and maximize its potential, much to the benefit of humanity. For instance, while some countries are short of certain skills and competences, other countries with these same attributes are nearly drowning in despair due to youth unemployment.
Yet the opportunities afforded by the unprecedented levels of human mobility have also come with such problems as trafficking in persons (TiP) and dream-shattering exploitation of migrant workers.
As part of its mission to promote humane and orderly migration, IOM runs programmes on combating trafficking in persons and assisted voluntary return and reintegration (AVRR).
In Uganda, IOM supports the Government (GoU) to address TiP and assist vulnerable migrants, including victims of trafficking, exploited and stranded migrants, and unaccompanied migrant children. Through previous projects, IOM has supported GoU to develop its National Action Plan for Prevention of TiP, National TiP database and strengthen capacity of various actors on combating TiP. Since 2011, IOM has assisted in the return and reintegration of over 330 vulnerable migrants.
Cooperation between IOM Uganda, IOM missions in corresponding countries, respective Governments, and other stakeholders ensures that migrants are successfully assisted before departure, during travel and after arrival, including helping them to settle in and reintegrate.
Many migrants considering a return home find themselves unsure about the future. IOM’s support to returnees to reestablish themselves in society is meant to provide a cushioned landing. Fortunately, many migrants admit that although it is not easy getting used to home again, IOM’s support does make a difference. The support can be summarized as follows:
Counselling to migrants and provision of return related information about the country of origin; medical examinations and obtaining medical documentation; obtaining travel documentation.
Assistance with travel formalities, travel coordination amongst various countries of travel, transit assistance, provision of travel escorts for vulnerable migrants, identification of lost baggage. Given the stresses of travel , this support is often most appreciated.
IOM Uganda provides post-arrival and reintegration assistance which includes: reception of migrants at Entebbe airport, inland transport, health-related support, development of business plans, disbursement of micro-grants (both cash and in-kind) and monitoring of reintegration.