IOM DDG for Operations Addresses Major Trafficking Meeting in Vienna

IOM Deputy Director Ugochi Daniels makes one of the keynote speeches at the 24th Conference of the against Trafficking in Persons organised by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which was held in Vienna this week. Photo IOM/Joe Lowry

The growth of modern slavery, the use of tech in trafficking, a horrifying uptick in child exploitation, and record deaths on migratory routes came under the microscope when Deputy Director General Ugochi Daniels addressed a high-level conference on trafficking in Vienna on Monday. 

DDG Daniels was a keynote speaker at 24th Alliance Conference against Trafficking in Persons organised by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which brought together national authorities, international and civil society organizations, and the private sector to reshape prevention beyond awareness raising.  

Addressing the root causes of irregular migration, such as poverty, inequality, violence, and persecution is where we must start  to counter the growing business of smugglers and traffickers and having meaningful impact on prevention, said DDG Daniels.  

She noted that migrant smuggling, human trafficking and modern slavery have become “highly lucrative illicit businesses that lead to immense suffering”. Latest UNODC reports refer to human trafficking as a lucrative business, generating profit estimated around $6.75 billion a year for criminals operating in the two principle smuggling routes alone.   

Beyond awareness raising, reshaping human trafficking prevention, requires timely and comparable data as well harnessing the power of technology to be agile and keep up with the ever-evolving tactics of traffickers in moving people across borders. 

Last year, IOM released its Counter-Trafficking Theory of Change, which works towards attaining tangible change in reducing the prevalence of and harm caused by trafficking. This taught the Organization three essential lessons, DDG Daniels told over 200 delegates attending the OSCE conference. 

“We learned that while public awareness-raising may enhance people’s abilities to identify what trafficking is, it does not necessarily prevent it,” she said.  

Furthermore, knowing one’s rights does not automatically translate to those rights being realized. “This requires addressing what are often intersecting vulnerabilities, power imbalances and many other factors,” said DDG Daniels. 

“Additionally, responding to what appears to be the root causes of trafficking, such as poverty and inequality, cannot be addressed through counter-trafficking interventions alone, but need to be incorporated into broader development, humanitarian or other responses.” 

“Regional and inter-regional cooperation is a must and therefore multistakeholder discussions between countries of origin, transit and destination are essential as well as safe spaces for the victims of Trafficking.”  

Other speakers included OSCE Chair-in-Office, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade of Malta Ian Borg; OSCE Secretary General Helga Maria Schmid; OSCE Special Representative for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings Kari Johnstone; Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights Matteo Mecacci; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Education and Sports of the Principality of Liechtenstein Dominique Hasler; Deputy of the Majilis of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan Marat Bashimov, Greek Deputy Minister of Migration and Asylum Sofia Voultepsi; and experts with lived experience of trafficking. 

For more information please contact regional spokesperson Joe Lowry at 

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