Families of Missing Migrants: Their Search for Answers and the Impacts of Loss
Lessons Across Four Countries
This report synthesizes the main findings of qualitative research conducted between April 2019 and March 2021 by IOM’s Missing Migrants Project about the challenges and experiences of families of missing migrants in Ethiopia, the United Kingdom, Spain and Zimbabwe. Across the four countries, 76 families with missing relatives and over 30 stakeholders (including non-governmental organizations, activists, government authorities, international organizations and academics) were interviewed. The research found that in all of the countries of research, there are no specialized institutional responses to missing migrant cases, and existing official frameworks and mechanisms to search for missing persons in national contexts are not adapted to address the dynamics pertaining to irregular migratory journeys. In the absence of State-funded tools and services to adequately address their needs, families of missing migrants develop their own strategies to search for information, mostly through informal channels. The report describes the ways in which families search for answers, the challenges they face in doing so, and the overlapping impacts of the absence of their missing loved ones. The findings for this report inform recommendations for ways in which governments and other actors can better support families of missing migrants. Individual reports, with the detailed findings and recommendations for Ethiopia, the United Kingdom, Spain and Zimbabwe, are also available on the IOM Publications Platform. Click here or on the image to view the report.