IOM Burundi and Partners Commemorate World Day Against Trafficking in Persons


Bujumbura, 28 July 2022 – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) in coordination with the Government of Burundi, the UN Children’s Education Fund, and national implementing partners is organizing a series of initiatives to commemorate the World Day Against Trafficking on July 30th.

IOM and partners held a panel discussion (28/7) bringing together representatives from the Government of Burundi, national civil society organizations and UN agencies.

Internal and cross-border trafficking in persons (TiP) persists in Burundi, which is mainly a country of origin and transit and, in some cases, of destination. Human trafficking is a flagrant violation of human rights and a modern form of slavery that happens all over the world.

According to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), 66 per cent of Victims of Trafficking (VoT) in 2020 were women and girls. In Burundi, many people are trafficked for forced domestic labour, sexual exploitation and forced marriage, to the neighbouring countries or the Gulf states and sometimes internally. Burundian refugees, IDPs, and those residing in border provinces are most at risk of human trafficking.

IOM has identified 1,735 victims of trafficking in Burundi since 2017.

Bella* (not her real name), 17, is one such victim. She was lured by a man who contacted her via Facebook, who took her to South Africa with the promise of a decent job and the opportunity to study, but instead he sexually exploited and recruited her into prostitution for a whole year before she was rescued by neighbours and returned to Burundi, with the help of IOM. She is being assisted by IOM including receiving psycho-social support and reintegration assistance. Bella’s story was highlighted during one of the events to commemorate World Day Against Traffciking in Persons.

The Government of Burundi was recently upgraded to Tier 2 (first time since 2010) according to the Trafficking in Persons report from the United States Department of State, based on the progress done by the governments to counter trafficking in persons. The report acknowledged the significant efforts by the Government of Burundi in its fight against TIP.

“While the primary responsibility for protection lies with national authorities, in accordance with national and international legal instruments, humanitarian actors play an essential complementary role and contribute to the implementation of policies. It is only by working together, building multi-sectoral and multi-actor approaches, that we can achieve our goals for Burundi,” Damien Mama, the UN Resident Coordinator in Burundi.

A number of other awareness raising activities were organized jointly by IOM, UNICEF and national civil society organizations during the week of 25 – 30 of July 2022, aimed at highlighting the risks and consequences of TIP and rights and protection of the victims of trafficking.

Part of the activities include a Media Café on Counter-Trafficking (a workshop for local journalists), interactive theatre performances by local troupe Buja Sans Tabou in the provinces of Muyinga, Cankuzo and Bujumbura Rural, a radio broadcast on CT prevention, and a discussion night for youth leaders to exchange on risks and opportunities of migration and its link to Sustainable Development Goals.

These initiatives have been made through the technical and financial support of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and USAID-funded project in Burundi.

For more information, please contact

Victoria KLIMOVA, IOM Migrant Assistance and Protection Coordinator in Burundi, VKLIMOVA@iom.int IOM Burundi press releases are available at www.reliefweb.int