A man rides a bicycle inside a displacement camp in North-east Nigeria, February 2019. The ongoing Boko Haram insurgency has driven widespread displacement across the north-east. By the end of 2020, there were more than 2.7 million IDPs in Nigeria who had been displaced due to conflict and violence. Photo credit: Luis Tato/AFP via Getty Images
Amid a global response to the devastating economic and health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, humanitarian needs are acute. Despite a dramatic decrease in international mobility due to the pandemic, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) reached new heights. By the end of 2020, there were 48 million people across 59 countries and territories who were internally displaced due to conflict and violence. The economic cost of displacement for the year, including the cost of disruptions to income as well as that of providing accommodation, education, health, and security to IDPs, totalled almost USD 20.5 billion.
Displacement and forced migration have devastating impacts on the human rights of individuals and communities. There is a growing understanding that conflict and displacement increases vulnerability to forms of slavery related abuse, including forced labour, forced recruitment into armed groups and armed forces, forced marriage, abduction, and human trafficking. In recent years this issue has received increased attention internationally and wide acknowledgement that it warrants urgent attention. Despite this recognition, few organizations have sought to quantify slavery-related abuse among persons displaced by conflict. Without such data, it is difficult to accurately allocate resources and formulate policies to remedy these abuses.
To address this data shortage, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and Walk Free conducted a study to estimate the prevalence of slavery-related abuse among people who experienced displacement in three countries – Nigeria, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo – each of which has endured protracted conflict that continues to uproot people and force them to seek refuge largely in camps, camp-like settings, and in host communities. IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) reports approximately 1 million IDPs in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2.2 million IDPs in the North-east region of Nigeria, and 2 million IDPs across South Sudan.
In addition to estimating prevalence, this study sought to better understand the nature of slavery-related abuse in relation to displacement experiences, and to explore the relationship between individual-level and external factors associated with these forms of slavery-related abuse.
Read or download full report here.