IOM Egypt’s Migrant Assistance Division organises its work around three key programmatic areas in its efforts to enhance the protection of migrants, and support the Government of Egypt and relevant actors govern migration to effectively maximise its positive impact while minimising their potential costs on all migrants and society.
Migrant Assistance Services
Migrant Assistance Services aim at bolstering the well-being and protection of vulnerable migrants in Egypt through the provision of tailored assistance on a case-by-case basis. Beneficiaries include victims of trafficking (VoTs), survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), as well as other vulnerable groups including:
- Asylum seekers awaiting registration appointments with UNHCR;
- Migrants who do not intend to register with the UNHCR, or have since had their UNHCR files closed, and have been in Egypt for at least 6 months.
Migrants in search of assistance can approach IOM Egypt for a screening appointment. Experienced case workers then identify the main vulnerabilities and needs of migrant beneficiaries and develop a tailored care package, based on need, which can include localised direct assistance, assisted voluntary return and reintegration (AVRR), or both.
Localised Direct Assistance
Migrant beneficiaries may be entitled to Localised Direct Assistance, which includes socio-economic support, medical services, education and legal assistance. All services are provided after consultation with an experienced case worker and are based on the needs of the individual and/or family. Tailored assistance is provided to VoTs and survivors of SGBV to address their specific needs. In addition, non-food items are distributed to migrants in government holding facilities in order to address their immediate humanitarian needs.
To ensure a comprehensive approach to the needs of vulnerable people in Egypt, IOM makes every effort to coordinate with other service providers, sharing experiences and allocating resources.
For more specific information on Localised Direct Assistance, please visit the FAQs.
For information on the services provided under this programme, please visit the AVRR page.
IOM Egypt’s Migrant Assistance Services also engage with migrant and Egyptian communities through outreach activities.
Some examples include:
- Raising awareness of the services provided to vulnerable migrants;
- Training community leaders to identify victims of trafficking;
- Organising events, often thematically linked to the UN Calendar, such as International Migrants Day, International Women’s Day, World Day against Trafficking in Persons and World Health Day.
- Countering Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons
In line with relevant international standards, IOM Egypt advances the protection of vulnerable and stranded migrants within migration governance and builds national capacity to counter related offences.
The National Coordinating Committee on Combating and Preventing Illegal Migration and Trafficking in Persons (NCCPIM&TIP) is the Egyptian inter-ministerial body mandated to coordinate national policy and programming on irregular migration and trafficking in persons.
IOM Egypt maintains a longstanding cooperative relationship with the Committee in all areas of counter-smuggling and counter-trafficking programming; having helped draft and now supporting the realisation of the 2016-2026 National Strategy on Combating Illegal Migration, the 2016-2021 National Strategy on Combatting Trafficking in Persons, and the related Action Plans.
IOM Egypt’s work is also in support of the Palermo Protocols (the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children; and the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air). Efforts to tackle smuggling and trafficking are thus framed by the internationally recognised 3P +1 paradigm, and organised around four key pillars:
Prevention, Protection, Prosecution, & Partnerships.
Coordination with partner organizations
IOM partners with national stakeholders and local organizations in their efforts to tackle trafficking in persons, for instance by providing trainings to civil society organizations and media professionals. Partnerships positively inform the way projects are conceptualised and implemented. They are also in line with the achievement of UN Sustainable Development Goal 17 Partnership for the Goals.
MHUB developed the Footprints Database with IOM support, creating a platform for analysing and visualising information on mixed migration to, through and from North Africa to support the development of evidence-based policies and programming. IOM, with NCCPIM&TIP, provides expert support on International Migration Law through research and technical assistance.
Policy and legislative research
NCCPIM&TIP and IOM developed a national awareness raising campaign to sensitise Egyptian youth to the dangers of irregular migration journeys through digital and traditional media. IOM commemorates the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons by organising both official and community events to raise awareness about trafficking among migrant and host communities.
IOM strengthens the capacity of key ministries to investigate, prosecute and trial cases, while providing protection and assistance to the migrants in line with the new “Illegal Migration and Anti-Smuggling” Law no. 82/2016, and the Law no. 64/2010 on “Combatting Human Trafficking.”
In line with this framework, IOM supports the Government of Egypt using a comprehensive approach to contribute to curbing irregular migration and migrant smuggling. Programming includes:
IOM plays a key role in supporting the EU-Horn of Africa Initiative (Khartoum Process), and acts as the secretariat for the AU-Horn of Africa Initiative together with UNHCR and the African Union.
 A brief note on terminology: IOM uses the term “irregular migrant” when discussing extra-legal forms of migration. A person cannot be illegal, only an action can.
 The full names of the initiatives are the “EU-Horn of Africa Migration Route Initiative” and the “AU-Horn of Africa Initiative on Human Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants.”