IOM Launches Mwami Interview Space for Protection of Vulnerable Migrants

The identification of vulnerable migrants is vital to ensure that they are granted access to protection and support services.

Many migrants, including victims of human trafficking, unaccompanied and separated children, asylum seekers and refugees can be highly vulnerable, in part due to the difficulties in their appropriate identification and onward referral. This is compounded by limited designated spaces for first line officials to interview vulnerable migrants, including children, in a safe, confidential and non-threatening environment.

To respond to this need, the Government of Zambia with support from IOM, embarked on the establishment of Interview Spaces for Vulnerable Migrants in border areas. The first Interview Space was established at Mwami Border in Zambia’s Eastern Province, in early 2015.  The Interview Space was officially launched by Moola Milomo, the Director General of Immigration, on 26th March 2016. At the launch Mr. Milomo stated that “the Department of Immigration is confident that this initiative will enhance the quality of assessments of migrants without compromising service delivery to the general travelling population.”  Abibatou Wane, IOM Zambia Chief of Mission, added that “the Interview Space in Mwami compliments the various tools, trainings and the management systems that have been developed with support from IOM to ensure that vulnerable migrants receive necessary protection assistance, in line with national and international minimum standards.” Ms. Wane also highlighted that the Mwami Interview Space will serve as a model for other interview spaces that will be established in Zambia.

The Interview Space was established with the generous support of the European Union (EU) under its Thematic Programme on Migration and Asylum (TPMA).  At the Mwami launch Fabienne Van den Eede, Head of Governance and Social Sectors Section, European Union Delegation to Zambia and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), urged IOM and partners to continue supporting the enhancement of coordination amongst the different stakeholders involved in the protection of vulnerable migrants, such as the Department of Immigration, Social Welfare, the Ministry of Justice and the Police. Ms. Van den Eede stated that “the EU is grateful to have the opportunity to see tangible results of European Union funded projects.”

In addition to the Mwami Interview Space, IOM supported the establishment of five other interview spaces in 2015, under a Joint UN Programme (IOM, UNICEF and UNHCR) initiative to address human trafficking and exploitation, with a particular focus on vulnerable migrants, such as unaccompanied or separated children. The other sites include Kaumbalesa, (Copperbelt Province), Nakonde and Isoka (Muchinga Province), Solwezi (North Western Province) and Chirundu (Lusaka Province).

IOM is grateful to the European Union for its support to this initiative.