The recent conflict has contributed to an atmosphere of uncertainty and instability, which has been one of the main drivers of outmigration of Iraqis. Iraq continues to face complex migration management challenges, including the large number of internally displaced persons (IDPs), the reintegration of returned Iraqis from abroad, and the safe and effective management of its borders.
In addition to the challenge of peace and security, Iraq struggles to contain trafficking in persons. Exploiting human beings continues to be highly profitable and traffickers take advantage of poverty, conflict, natural disasters, and the vulnerabilities of refugees, IDPs and migrant workers often in dirty, demeaning, and dangerous (3D) employment sectors.
Iraq is a destination country for international migrant workers who, either knowingly or unknowingly, come to Iraq to meet demands in growth sectors, such as construction, domestic work, and hospitality services. However, the lack of regulation in the recruitment of these foreign workers has put these migrants at risk of labour exploitation and human trafficking.
Further, Iraqi citizens have also become victims of trafficking. Armed conflict resulting in the displacement of hundreds of thousand Iraqis have fueled exploitation and terrorist groups like Da’esh have enslaved women and girls for sex and armed children to commit terrorist acts. There are also reports of poor Iraqis falling victim to organ trafficking.
Critically, women are most vulnerable in these insecure environments and at the same time they are under-represented in, or lack access to, security agencies. The inability of women and other vulnerable and marginalized groups to participate in the peace and security process threatens the likelihood of sustainable peace and security.
Therefore, in the post-conflict setting of Iraq, one of the priorities for the government of Iraq is to strengthen the capacities of government authorities to ensure peace and security in communities and to manage migration, including through close cooperation and coordination between the ministries that deal with different aspects of migration policy.
IOM Iraq’s strategies and programmes aim to support government authorities to better understand and manage migration flows, strengthen immigration and border management, develop policies and regulations that facilitate regular migration and enhance cooperation with international partners. For example, in 2019 IOM will support the government of Iraq to develop a migration profile, which is a capacity-building instrument that enhances a whole-of-government approach to establish a migration policy.