Disaggregating migration data by age is essential for analyzing age dynamics of migrant populations. For child migrants, data disaggregated by age, gender and information on whether children are accompanied by a parent, family member, guardian, sponsor, or not, are particularly important to determine potential levels of vulnerability and protection needs during transit and on arrival. Child migrants are at risk of abuse, trafficking and exploitation, especially if they travel alone and through irregular migration pathways. There are several types of data sources that disaggregate migrant stocks and flows by age, although none can offer precise numbers or a full global picture.
Under international law, migrants have rights by virtue of their humanity. International human rights instruments, or treaties and documents such as declarations, are of general application and therefore apply to migrants. There are also a number of international instruments that specifically intend to address the protection of migrants. In addition, recent attention has been drawn to the obligations of states, under international human rights law, towards dead and missing migrants (Grant, 2016). Migrant rights may be evaluated by measuring the rights granted to migrants in principle or in practice. The former is relatively straightforward and looks at international and regional treaty ratifications and countries’ legal documents to protect migrants, while the latter requires looking at implementation of rights, or if migrants’ rights are actually upheld and exercised. Measuring the rights granted to migrants in practice is limited by a lack of data, information, resources, and the large number of rights relevant to migrants.
Data related to the scale of human trafficking and the profile of victims and perpetrators are needed for evidence-based counter-trafficking policies. The increasing significance of human trafficking is illustrated by its inclusion in the targets of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the global development agenda endorsed by 193 UN Member states. Human trafficking is directly mentioned in various SDG targets, raising the needs for developing relevant data sources, improving existing sources, and measuring the indicators and progress towards targets related to human trafficking.
IOM data overview
Through a large footprint of offices worldwide, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) collects and reports on original data from a number of sources in its own programmes and operations. Some of this information is publicly available while other is for internal use only. In either case, data are collected and maintained by IOM’s staff in full respect of IOM’s data protection principles.