Who we are
Who we areMissing Migrants Project is an initiative implemented since 2014 by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to document deaths and disappearances of people in the process of migration towards an international destination. As collecting information is challenging, all figures remain undercounted. The locations in most cases are approximate. Each number represents a person, as well as the family and community that they leave behind.
DataThe Missing Migrants Project dataset represents incidents in which a person lost their life during migration to an international destination. The figures shown throughout are best understood as a minimum estimate of the true number of people’s lives lost during migration worldwide.
Families of Missing Migrants
Families of Missing MigrantsFor every person included in the Missing Migrants Project data, there is a family awaiting news of their loved one and affected by their loss in a multitude of ways. The impacts of migrant deaths and disappearances on their families left behind are profound and complex, and solutions are urgently needed to address families’ many unmet needs.
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The International Organization for Migration (IOM)’s Missing Migrants Project records incidents in which migrants, including refugees and asylum-seekers, have died at state borders or in the process of migrating to an international destination. It was developed in response to disparate reports of people dying or disappearing along migratory routes around the world, and particularly in the wake of two shipwrecks in October 2013, when at least 368 people died near the Italian island of Lampedusa. The Project hosts the only existing open-access database of records of deaths during migration on the global level. These data are used to inform the Sustainable Development Goals Indicator 10.7.3 on the “[n]umber of people who died or disappeared in the process of migration towards an international destination.” Missing Migrants Project is also a concerted effort towards informing the Global Compact on Migration’s Objective 8, which commits signatory states to “save lives and establish coordinated international efforts on missing migrants.”
Besides the database, the Project publishes reports, briefings and infographics (available on the Publications page) with analysis of the data by geographic region, risks on irregular migration routes, issues related to the identification of missing migrants, the challenges and coping mechanisms of families of missing migrants and data collection methodology. Information that could help those looking for missing migrants is available on the Resources for Families page. The Missing Migrants Project is based at IOM's Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC). The Project’s data is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. This means that Missing Migrants Project data and publications are free to share and adapt, as long as the appropriate attribution is given. This includes, at minimum, stating that the source is "IOM's Missing Migrants Project" and indicating if changes were made to the data. Ideally, a link to this website should also be included.
IOM's Missing Migrants Project is made possible by funding from the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and Germany’s Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community (BMI). It was also supported by UK Aid from the Government of the United Kingdom. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the official policies or positions of the Governments of Switzerland, Germany or the United Kingdom.
More than 60,000 people have lost their lives during unsafe migration journeys since 2014. The data collected by Missing Migrants Project bear witness to one of the great political failures of modern times. IOM calls for immediate safe, humane and legal routes for migration. Better data can help inform policies to end migrant deaths and address the needs of families left behind.