Missing Migrants Project tracks deaths of migrants, including refugees and asylum-seekers, who have gone missing along mixed migration routes worldwide. The research behind this project began with the October 2013 tragedies, when at least 368 individuals died in two shipwrecks near the Italian island of Lampedusa. Since then, Missing Migrants Project has developed into an important hub and advocacy source of information that media, researchers, and the general public access for the latest information.
With a count surpassing 60,000 over the last two decades, IOM calls on all the world’s governments to address what it describes as “an epidemic of crime and abuse.”
Missing Migrants Project is a joint initiative of IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) and Media and Communications Division (MCD). GMDAC has also published three reports on this issue: Fatal Journeys: Tracking Lives Lost during Migration, Fatal Journeys Volume 2: Identification and Tracing of Dead and Missing Migrants. A third volume was published in two parts in 2017, Fatal Journeys Volume 3 Part 1: Improving Data on Missing Migrants, and Volume 3 Part 2: Improving Data on Missing Migrants.
Missing Migrants Project is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. This means that Missing Migrants Project data are free to share and adapt, as long as the appropriate attribution is given. This includes 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.
Missing Migrants Project is made possible by funding by UK Aid from the Government of the United Kingdom; however, the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the Government of the United Kingdom’s official policies.
The database includes deaths and disappearances of migrants who die in transportation accidents, shipwrecks, violent attacks, or due to medical complications during their journeys. It also includes bodies found near border crossings that are categorized as migrants based on their belongings and/or the characteristics of the death. For instance, a death of an unidentified person might be included if the decedent is found without any identifying documentation in an area known to be on a migration route. Deaths during migration may also be identified based on the cause of death, especially if is related to trafficking, smuggling, or illicit means of travel such as on top of a train, in the back of a cargo truck, as a stowaway on a plane, in unseaworthy boats, crossing a border fence, etc. While the location and cause of death can provide strong evidence that an unidentified decedent should be included in Missing Migrants Project data, this should always be evaluated in conjunction with migration history and trends.