Combating Human Trafficking
The Maldives has been admitted to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), thereby raising the total number of member countries to 146 spanning all global regions. The IOM, established in 1951 as an intergovernmental organization, supports orderly management, international cooperation, practical solutions and humanitarian assistance among countries addressing migrant issues, with a particular focus on countries dealing
with refugees and internally displaced people.
In 2010, the Maldives saw a steep rise in human trafficking, which became the second largest contributor of foreign currency to the Maldives, standing at US$123 million. Close to 308 cases of expats leaving their sponsors were reported and more than 4000 passports belonging to illegal workers were found.
The inclusion of the Maldives in a regulatory body such as the IOM is expected to provide some security to migrant workers and improve their welfare and lifestyle. The IOM also hosted a workshop in the Maldives titled, ‘Integrated Approach to Combating Trafficking in Persons,’ which was aimed at training police officers to combat human trafficking. The Maldives despite being a Small Island Developing State attracts immense tourism and serves as a breeding ground for South Asian economic migrants, who currently constitute one quarter of the total population.