The International Organization for Migration takes a comprehensive approach to addressing human trafficking. Respect for human rights, the physical, mental and social well-being of the individual and his or her community, and the sustainability of our actions through institutional capacity development and partnerships are at the centre of all of IOM’s counter-trafficking efforts.

Completed Projects

Preventing and Counter-Acting Trafficking in Human Beings in the Russian Federation
Shelter in St. Petersburg

On 30 April, 2013 a shelter for temporary accommodation and social rehabilitation of victims of labour and sexual exploitation (for the Russian and foreign citizens) was opened by St. Petersburg Centre for international cooperation of the all-Russian public organization «Russian Red Cross» with the support of the International Organization for Migration. Currently, the shelter is the only institution that provides comprehensive rehabilitation assistance to victims of trafficking crimes.

The shelter can accommodate up to 8 persons at one time. All victims of trafficking receive psychological, legal and medical support, assistance in renewal of documents and voluntary return to the country of origin if necessary.

For the assistance to victims of labour, sexual exploitation and other forms of trafficking of human beings and receiving free consultations, please, apply to the hotline 8-800-333-00-16 (calls are free on the territory of Russia).

Hot Line

Within the framework of IOM Moscow and St. Petersburg Red Cross International Cooperation Centre the Information and Consultation Centers are functioning in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

The main purpose of the Information Centres is implementation of a proactive prevention measures against forced labour and other human trafficking related situations through organization of consultations on legal and other relevant topics for different groups of population including at-risk groups and migrants from many regions of Russia as well as foreign nationals coming to Russia for work.

A special attention is attributed to the labour migrants as well as to the at-risk groups, including the most vulnerable social groups that mainly become trafficking victims, i.e. women-migrants, unemployed youth, teenagers from troubled families, orphans, irregular labor migrants, former convicts, etc.

Address of the Information and Consultative Centre:
12, 2-ya Zvenigorodskaya Street, Moscow.

Toll free national anonymous hotline:
8-800-333-00-16 (8:30 AM - 6:30 PM weekdays).
Free of charge calls from all Russian regions

Combating Trafficking in Human Beings in the Russian Federation (2007-2010)

Overall Objective

This project aims to eradicate trafficking in human beings in Russia through advancement of efforts of the Russian authorities and civil society primarily through enhancement of the prosecution and criminalization processes.

Immediate Objectives

  • To strengthen
    • the ability, technical means, and instrumental base of relevant authorities;
    • the understanding and use of relevant legislation;
  • To provide a new, effective approach in combat against THB through financial investigation;
  • To enhance the effectiveness of relevant Russian authorities; to criminalize and prosecute the crime of trafficking in human beings;
  • To promote mechanisms that will increase national funding available for counter-trafficking programs;
  • To support the idea of law enforcement specialization in the area of trafficking counteraction within national authorities:
    • by promoting the idea of specialized educational programs,
    • by promoting cooperation/coordination among authorities within the Russian Federation, as well as with authorities of other countries
  • To increase public awareness of the trafficking problem.

The project is funded by Swedish International Development and Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

Project duration: 9 September 2007 – 31 December 2010

    Prevention of Human Trafficking in the Russian Federation (2006-2009)

    The main objective of the project is to combat trafficking in human beings in the Russian Federation as a country of origin, transit and destination.

    Components of the project:

    • Policy Advice: improving the legislative framework and the State policies regarding human trafficking, including the national capacity to assess and measure this phenomenon in Russia.
    • Prevention: strengthening the capacity of the relevant law enforcement agencies to combat human trafficking; raising awareness amongst the risk group, general public and relevant Russian authorities, NGOs and diplomatic missions of foreign states.
    • Reintegration: building the capacity of the national authorities and local NGO networks to protect and reintegrate victims of trafficking.

    The project is funded by the European Commission with co-funding by the US Department of State and Government of Switzerland.

    Project duration: March 2006 - December 2009.

    Other Projects
    • Preventive Counter-Trafficking Activities in Rostov-on-Don
    • Reintegration Assistance to Victims of Human Trafficking in the Russian Federation
    • Information Campaign on the Prevention of Trafficking in Human Beings in the Russian Federation within a Special Focus on St. Petersburg Region
    • Assistance Center for Victims of Trafficking in Primorskiy Kray, Vladivostok City
    • A Multiagency Model of Cooperation for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings in the Russian Far East


    Don't Be a Victim of Human Trafficking!

    What is human trafficking?

    Trafficking in persons – shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation(article 3а Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons,
    Especially Women and Children, 2000)

    Who can become a victim of human trafficking?

    First of all, women and children - young women, with low education, unemployed, prostitutes, poor migrants, large families, single mothers experiencing violence in the family; children of both sexes from dysfunctional families and without parents, from orphanages, etc.

    Young and middle-aged men, low-educated, unemployed, homeless.

    Disabled people, drug addicts.

    What are the main causes of human trafficking?

    Human trafficking has deep roots in the sphere of economic, social, cultural and moral relations in society:

    • Poverty
    • Limited economic opportunities for access to effective employment, education, social protection
    • Large development gaps between countries
    • Family crisis, domestic violence, growth of dysfunctional families, general gender inequality
    • Alcoholism, social orphanhood
    The most common myths about human trafficking
    Myths Facts
    All people are trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation Though some people are trafficked for sexual exploitation, people are also trafficked for other reasons, including forced labor (e.g. factories or agriculture), domestic servitude or to fight in armed conflicts
    All victims of trafficking are women and children Much of the existing research on trafficking has found women and children to be the majority of victims. Most research, however, has focused on sexual exploitation. More research is needed on labor exploitation, where men are often more at risk to be trafficked
    Those who migrate legally cannot be victims of trafficking Though some victims of trafficking are brought into countries illegally, others travel using legal documents or enter on valid work visas
    Only uneducated, poor people are trafficked Though some victims are vulnerable because they live in poverty, all types of people are trafficked. For example, in some parts of the world, highly educated women are at risk because there are few jobs available to them where they live and they seek out other opportunities
    All victims of trafficking are abducted Though some victims of trafficking are forcibly taken, many are actually lured into accompanying someone willingly, often through false promises of opportunities at the destination


    How does trafficking work?

    Recruitment - implies deception or coercion of a person – this is the first link in the chain of human trafficking. Recruiters make the first contact with victims by making false promises and hopes. Sometimes the victim knows what he will do in the future, but has no idea on what terms. There are also situations where the victim does not suspect that he will be forced to do a completely different job than the one he expects.

    Transportation – human trafficking involves the transportation of people from one place to another, but the crossing of the state border is not an indispensable condition. Victims are often subjected to physical and sexual abuse en route to their final destination, often resold during transportation.

    Exploitation includes the exploitation of the prostitution, sexual exploitation, forced laboгr, slavery or practices similar to slavery, and the removal of organs.

    Forms of human trafficking

    Sexual exploitation – forced prostitution or exploitation of voluntary prostitution with the use of means of influence. Places: city streets, bars, brothels, saunas, massage parlors, etc.

    Forcing participation in the production of pornographic materials (especially the use of children)

    Forced, slave labour – sweatshops, informal and shadow economy, industry, construction, domestic work (domestic slavery), child labour

    Exploitation of children and disabled people for begging

    The use of people in military groups

    Human trafficking, children for organ and tissue transplants

    How do traffickers control their victims?

    Depriving a person of freedom of action

    Debt bondage - victims are forced to work off the money traffickers paid for them

    Isolation - seizure and retention of documents, restriction of freedom of movement, communication with loved ones

    Violence - victims are beaten and raped to force them to do what the traffickers want

    Threats - threats of repeated violence, reprisals against relatives left at home

    Blackmail - after being forced to engage in prostitution or pornography, victims are blackmailed by threatening to inform the victim's relatives of what she is doing, blackmail threat of deportation for illegal migrants

    Safety rules for those who plan to travel abroad for study or work
    1. When contacting an employment firm, an agency that helps organize a trip to study abroad or a marriage agency, make sure that this organization has a license for the relevant type of activity and works officially. The original (and not a photocopy!) of the license must be in the office in a conspicuous place. Do not believe stories about a recent move or loss of a license: this indicates the unreliability of this organization.

    2. The agreement/contract must be written in a language you speak and all points must be clear to you. If you have any doubts, before signing the agreement/contract, seek the advice of an independent lawyer. You can also contact the embassy of the country where you are going to travel for clarification.

    3. You can work in another country only with an agreement / contract and a work visa to enter the country. No other visa entitles you to work. Do not believe the promises to change the status of a visa abroad: this is a scam! Remember: illegal work is a crime. When applying for a visa, consult with the embassy staff.

    4. Never agree to offers of illegal part-time work - it is very dangerous!

    5. The period of stay in the territory of a foreign state is always indicated in the visa. A work visa is no exception. Therefore, by staying in the country after the expiration of the visa, you violate the laws of the host country. Violation of the visa regime will make your next trip abroad impossible.

    6. Try to learn as much as possible about the country you are going to travel to. Knowledge of the basic laws and regulations, as well as a minimum knowledge of the language can be very useful to you in a difficult situation.

    7. Buy round-trip tickets, even if you're leaving for a long time.

    8. Make a photocopy of your passport, contract and other documents and leave them to someone close to you. Agree with your loved ones about the regularity of your calls and about a signal phrase that will help your loved ones understand that you need help.

    9. Do not, under any circumstances, trust your passport to anyone. Documents that prove your identity must always be with you. Remember that only the police or border services have the right to check a passport. Be sure to take copies of your passport and agreement/contract with you. If you lose your passport, a copy of it can help you apply for temporary documents.

    10. Find out the addresses and phone numbers of the Russian embassy and consulate in the country you are going to travel to. Also find out if there is an embassy or consulate in the city where you are going. If you are in trouble or if you have lost your documents, please contact the representation of the Russian Federation.

    11. In foreign countries, non-governmental organizations and services are actively working to provide assistance to people in difficult situations. Find out in advance the coordinates of such services.

    Risks. This should alert!

    Sample ad text: “Work abroad for girls as waitresses, dancers, etc. Professional training is not required. Travel, insurance, accommodation are paid by the employer. High salary".

    The ad contains only the company's mobile phone and no office phone.

    The mismatch between the promised salary (too high) and the work to be done in the host country (eg unskilled work, etc.). They propose not to prescribe real wages in the contract, but only a part of it, since you will receive the rest “in an envelope”.

    They offer to go abroad to work on a guest or tourist visa or false documents.

    They promise to pay for everything and offer the opportunity to pay later, in the host country.

    An intermediary firm cannot guarantee the legality of its activities, the activities of a foreign partner firm, and name the people responsible for the employment procedure.

    In Russia, they do not offer to conclude a contract with an employer, but only with an intermediary firm. And they offer to conclude a contract with the employer already on the spot, in the host country.

    They offer to pay for the services of the company in cash without a receipt or other document confirming payment.

    Shelter for temporary accommodation and social rehabilitation of victims of human trafficking in St. Petersburg

    On April 30, 2013, a shelter for temporary accommodation and social rehabilitation of victims of human trafficking was opened in St. Petersburg, organized by the St. Petersburg Center for International Cooperation of the Russian Red Cross with the support of the International Organization for Migration. Currently, the shelter is the only institution that provides comprehensive rehabilitation assistance to victims of crimes in the field of human trafficking.

    The shelter is designed for simultaneous accommodation of eight people. In the shelter, victims of human trafficking, regardless of nationality and religion, are provided with psychological, legal and medical assistance, as well as, if necessary, assistance in preparing documents and returning to their homeland.

    For more information or referral of victims, please call the toll-free hotline 8-800-333-00-16.