Ensuring that migrants enjoy rights and access to services by strengthening systems and providing direct support. 

Since the launch of the Joint Initiative in April 2017, more than 35,000 migrants rescued or intercepted at sea or in the desert received emergency assistance in West and Central Africa until 31 October 2021.  

Guinea

Bring back his smile

Oumar, an 8-year-old boy with mental disorders, attends a counselling session at the transit centre in Conakry to help him get back his smile, and face society.

Photo : IOM 2021/Lucas Chandellier

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Burkina Faso

Help to return in dignity

Assisted voluntary return is a key activity in migrant protection. IOM assists stranded migrants who wish to return to their country in a dignified manner. In this context of health crisis, all necessary health measures are taken before the migrants return to their country.

Photo : IOM 2021/Judicaël Gaël Lompo

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Victims of Trafficking in Persons - Christian's testimony

Caught in a protracted crisis, CAR is a country of origin, transit and destination of victims of trafficking. According to an assessment conducted by IOM in 2019, the internally displaced persons (IDPs), women and girls and ethnic minorities are at higher risk against sexual and labour exploitation. Young men who were attracted by economic opportunities in mines had also been forcibly recruited in armed group. Anecdotal evidence on forced labour is increase with the lack of presence of state actors in local level.

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 Ivory Coast

The sisters who returned from Mauritania

Aïchata Fofana, on the left, 28 years old, left Côte d’Ivoire at the age of 16 to join her husband, whom she had never met before. This journey was not easy for her and her children as she was rejected and abandoned by her husband.

“In February 2019, I decided to return to Côte d’Ivoire to start anew. Upon my return, I seriously suffered appendicitis, and IOM assisted me and paid for my operation. Today, I am doing well and I have been able to resume my activities to support myself. I also joined the first pan-African culinary centre on the continent, where I received training in catering for young people who had abandoned their projects.”

Photo : IOM 2020/Mohamed Aly Diabaté

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Ghana

Voluntary return assistance

In February 2020, IOM assisted 61 migrants who were stranded in Niger with voluntary return to Ghana. The migrants returned from Niger by road where they were stranded on their way to Libya.

Upon arrival in Accra, Ghana’s capital, IOM joined local authorities in providing assistance, including cash assistance to meet their immediate needs, especially onward transportation to their final destinations. 

Photo : IOM 2020/Juliane Reissig

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How can we protect child and youth migrants?

Marine Buckhenam, Protection Officer at IOM’s Regional Office for West and Central Africa, on how we can better protect child and youth migrants.

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Mali

A single mother returns home

Returning migrants increasingly include single mothers who are heads of households. In this photo, a migrant woman returning from Niger with her baby. IOM provides the support they need to protect them, facilitates their return and reintegration into their communities of origin. 

Photo : IOM 2020/Moussa Tall

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At only 18 years of age, Adaku was trafficked from Nigeria to Ghana for sexual exploitation. Adaku is using poetry, music and writing to process what she has been through.

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Niger

Waiting to return

IOM’s Agadez transit centre hosts men, women and children during their waiting time before their return to their country of origin. During their stay, they benefit from accommodation, medical care, food, hygiene kits, psychosocial and recreational activities and education and training.

Photo : IOM/Monica Chiriac

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Gambia

Assistance upon arrival

The assistance returnees receive upon arrival includes a comprehensive orientation, to prepare them on what to expect from the process of receiving reintegration assistance.

Photo : IOM 2021 

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