New IOM Report Explores How Social Norms and Stigma Drives Human Trafficking in Ethiopia

Addis Ababa- International Organization for Migration (IOM) published this week a report: “They snatched from me my own cry”, which explores the interplay of social norm and stigma in relation to human trafficking in Ethiopia.

Focusing on Jimma and Arsi Zones in Ethiopia, the report looks at the ways in which social norms and expectations can heighten the risk of trafficking and exploitation of individuals in specific target communities. Furthermore, it also seeks to build understanding of how post-trafficking, stigma and related social norms can contribute to the maltreatment and isolation of victims in their home communities, as well as impact their access to and the quality of care they get from service providers in Ethiopia.

The publication is part of the ASPIRE (Assessing Stigma for Prevention, Improved Response and Evidence Base) project, which aims to build social norms and stigma informed approach to strengthen prevention activities and improve responses to trafficking and exploitation in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

Coinciding with the launch of the report is a Media Award, in which IOM recognized local journalists who were able to showcase quality, balanced, ethical, and non-stigmatizing media reporting on trafficking and wider migration issues. Prior to the awarding, these journalists participated in a series of trainings conducted by IOM, also part of the ASPIRE project.

“Media professionals are responsible for providing information and stories to the public, the narratives and depictions of migrants in mass communication can either help perpetuate or eradicate negative and harmful attitudes,” says Malambo Moonga, IOM’s Migration Management Coordinator, stressing the importance of the training provided to journalist and the important role it plays.

Abel Gebregziabher from the National Partnership Coalition on Migration secretariat said the Government of Ethiopia is working with various stakeholders to improve the overall migration governance in the country. “Research like this, enable us to base our interventions in an evidence-base manner and improve our understanding of the interaction of migration. I commend IOM for its overall support to the government of Ethiopia and the ASPIRE project initiatives."

“They snatched from me my own cry” was conducted by Embode, commissioned by IOM United Kingdom, and financed by UKAID from the United Kingdom Government’s Modern Slavery Innovation Fund.

Download the publication here.