IOM started operating in Yemen in 1994 when the organization assisted in evacuating migrants from Aden stranded during the civil war. The government of Yemen has been a member state of IOM since 1999 and a first status agreement with the government was signed in 2001. IOM has worked closely with the Ministry of Expatriate Affairs on Yemeni migrant communities abroad and/or returning to Yemen; it continues providing transportation assistance to migrants stranded in Yemen and victims of trafficking in conjunction with Immigration authorities. In 2006, counter trafficking technical assistance was provided in Haradh in coordination with UNICEF to build the capacity of shelters for Yemeni minors. In 2007, an IOM Office was established in Sana’a to work more closely in assisting stranded migrants. The 2001 status agreement was further ratified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in 2013.
In addition to the mission in Sana’a, two IOM sub IOM-offices operate in Aden and Hodeidah (the latter was moved from Haradh in 2015 because of the conflict). There are three IOM Migrant Response Points - in Aden, Bab Al Mandeb, and Hodeidah - to address the immediate needs of vulnerable migrants. IOM field teams operate and have local presence in 15 governorates.
Migrant Assistance and Protection
European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO)
IOM Development Fund
Government of the Federal Republic of Germany (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)
UK Department for International Development (DFID)
US Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM)
In 2016, the UN estimated that over 107,000 migrants and refugees came from the Horn of Africa to Yemen, despite wide scale conflict. Most migrants hoped to reach a Gulf country; however, increasing numbers saw Yemen as a potential destination country as well.
IOM Yemen aims to protect and assist vulnerable migrants on a case-by-case basis through the provision of food, non-food items, temporary shelter, medical and psychosocial support, information, etc. In 2016, more than 21,000 migrants received from IOM multiple forms of humanitarian assistance and protection support. A thorough screening by IOM identifies migrants’ specific vulnerabilities and enables IOM to provide customized response based on the migrants’ informed consent. This includes 2,580 migrants who wanted IOM evacuation support by air or sea to escape Yemen’s crisis.
IOM has been a major actor in the fight against human trafficking, cooperating closely with civil society and government partners to support Yemen’s activities that raise awareness, strengthen the institutional response, protect victims and prosecute human traffickers. In 2016, IOM identified 27 victims of trafficking, who were mainly child migrants.
Yet, because of the protracted conflict, emerging trends of human trafficking among the Yemeni population are disconcerting. Many children in Yemen have dropped out of school, are forced to beg on the streets, have been recruited to fight in the armed-conflict, and be married at young ages. These issues can become stressful for the child and family to manage, and manifest into serious psychosocial needs. While the current scale of human trafficking in Yemen, particularly among the Yemeni children, is unknown, anecdotal information is being brought to the attention of child protection partners like IOM, necessitating increased prevention and protection activities in order to mitigate the risk of children and other vulnerable persons.
In 2016, IOM Yemen established Child-Friendly Spaces that are designed to mitigate the effect of the protracted conflict on children, their families, and the larger community. More than 100,000 conflict‐affected Yemeni children benefitted from a range of psychosocial support and community engagement activities at 31 Child-Friendly Spaces at parks, schools, orphanages, and special centres in Sana’a and Aden.
Humanitarian Assistance to and Protection of Vulnerable Migrants in Yemen
Strengthening the Protection of Vulnerable Migrants in Yemen through Capacity Building and Better Migration Information Management
Support to Combat Human Trafficking
Enhancing conflict affected communities’ access to health and psychosocial support throughout war-torn Yemen ( Child Friendly Spaces)