World Day Against Trafficking in Persons 2020

For World Day Against Trafficking in Persons 2020, we are sharing with you our publications from the last year.

In 2019, we were pleased to publish the research series from our project Good Practice in Global Data Collection on Trafficking in Persons: The Science (and Art) of Understanding TIP, which ran from 2014-2018. This global study drew from interviews with more than 120 TIP researchers, TIP experts, TIP data collection project staff, and National Rapporteurs-equivalent mechanisms engaged in collecting data on trafficking in persons and more than 400 trafficking victims who have been involved in TIP data collection or research. The publication series is for various stakeholders in the anti-trafficking community (researchers, data collection staff, policymakers, and practitioners) to utilize in their efforts to undertake and enhance TIP data collection and analysis.

We also continued our research and work on improving the identification of trafficking victims, examining barriers and opportunities to enhance identification in the former Soviet Union with a chapter in the SAGE Handbook of Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery and also how to enhance the identification of trafficked persons in mass migration settings.

Over the past decade, the NEXUS Institute has published extensive resources on the reintegration of trafficking victims, and this past year we continued those efforts, looking at the specific challenges that trafficked men face after trafficking.

Finally, in 2019, we conducted a review of research on trafficking in persons in five of the countries in the Mekong region (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam) as part of the USAID Asia CTIP Project.

This is a challenging time around the world and we are staying at the forefront of efforts to determine how anti-trafficking actors can best respond to the reshaping of human trafficking by this global pandemic. We appreciate the number of professionals and practitioners who have made their materials available as we collectively start to move forward and we wish to remind you that NEXUS publications remain free and available on our website.

The Science (and Art) of Understanding Trafficking in Persons: Good Practice in TIP Data Collection 

Available as a compressed pdf for mobile or slower Internet connection

This study identifies and explores good practice in TIP data collection in the areas of protection and prosecution, to inform and guide future anti-trafficking efforts. It begins by outlining what constitutes good practice in TIP data collection and the criteria to be considered in making this assessment (for example, data quality; relevance and usefulness; accessibility; timeliness; cost appropriateness; and attention to legal and ethical issues). The study then uses these criteria to examine current TIP data collection and research practices in different countries and regions, including the strengths and limitations of the various approaches. The study outlines five stages of TIP data collection – 1) design and planning; 2) data collection; 3) storage, maintenance and management; 4) analysis; and 5) use, presentation and dissemination – and explores the raft of issues that may arise at each of these stages as well as good practice examples at each particular stage. It draws on existing research and resources on TIP data collection, as well as the collective knowledge and experiences of TIP researchers, data collectors, TIP experts and trafficking victims globally to offer practical guidance, lessons and tools in how to implement TIP data collection efforts. The target audience of this publication is anti-trafficking professionals, organizations and institutions that are currently or are planning to collect TIP data.

On the Frontlines: Operationalizing Good Practice in TIP Data Collection

These guidelines, based on lessons from past and current TIP data collection efforts, are for frontline staff from governments, international organizations (IOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who are engaged in TIP data collection. The guidelines are based on good practice and lessons from The Science (and Art) of Understanding Trafficking in Persons: Good Practice in TIP Data Collection and offer step-by-step guidance and checklists on how to conduct TIP data collection in a constructive and ethical way and in line with existing work and mandates.

Legal and Ethical Issues in Data Collection on Trafficking in Persons

Available as a compressed pdf for mobile or slower Internet connection

Data collection on trafficking in persons (TIP) is an important part of anti-trafficking efforts, including for protection, prosecution and prevention purposes. There has been increased emphasis on gathering TIP data in recent years and, commensurately, growing awareness of the legal and ethical considerations associated with doing so. There are many legal and ethical complexities at play in how anti-trafficking researchers and professionals undertake TIP data collection. The legal and ethical frameworks relevant to TIP data collection differ by country, context and project and may also be informed by a range of other factors, including the type of data being collected, who is collecting data, where data collection takes place, who is funding data collection, whether data collection involves a group requiring special consideration, whether there are emerging issues affecting the existing legal and ethical framework and so on. This study explores the legal and ethical issues that arise when conducting TIP data collection, including the intersections and, at times, the tensions between the two. It examines legal and ethical issues in the context of traditional types of data collection, as well as emerging forms of TIP data collection. This study draws on concrete examples and experiences of those working in the field of TIP data collection from different countries globally to identify what issues and problems may arise, how these may be addressed, as well as the complex on-going discussion and debate around these issues, which remain largely unresolved. The intention of this study is to encourage discussion around these complicated issues, while acknowledging the grey zones in ethical and legal assessments of how TIP data is and should be collected and protected. This publication is intended for anti-trafficking actors engaged in TIP data collection across its varying forms and from different approaches, particularly prosecution and protection.

Good Practice in TIP Data Collection: Recommendations for Donors and Funders

These recommendations for donors and funders offer guidance on how to support TIP data collection before, during and after data collection takes place. They aim to maximize the positive contribution that donors and funders are already making to the field of TIP data collection.

Identifying Trafficked Migrants and Refugees Along the Balkan Route. Exploring the Boundaries of Exploitation, Vulnerability and Risk

This article explores what we can learn about the identification of and assistance to trafficked persons from practitioners in Serbia on the front line of Europe’s refugee crisis. Questions arise as to whether and to what extent the anti-trafficking framework is effective in offering protection to trafficked migrants/refugees in a mass migration setting, but also what is lost if the specific perspective of the anti-trafficking framework is set aside or given lower priority. It is important to discuss who is included and who is excluded; whether protection and assistance meet people’s needs; and whether or how the existing framework can be used to greater effect. While it was challenging to operationalize the anti-trafficking framework, both conceptually and practically, during the refugee crisis in the Balkans, it remains an important approach that should have been mobilized to a greater extent, both to secure individual protections and rights and to gather information about human trafficking in conflict and crisis, which, in turn, increases the ability to respond effectively.

Feeling a Failure: Returning Home a ‘Trafficked’ Man in Indonesia

Large numbers of Indonesian men migrate each year for work in construction, factories, agriculture, on plantations and on fishing boats. Many end up exploited in ways that constitute human trafficking, suffering violence, deprivation, restricted freedom and severe exploitation as well as long periods of separation from their families. Being able to escape and return home was a turning point in these men’s lives. And yet reintegrating into their families after trafficking was not uncomplicated. While many family problems were caused by economics, tensions also resulted from long separations, fractured relationships, and frustration over “failed” migration and unfulfilled expectations. Understanding the nature of and reasons for the problems men face after trafficking is key in designing and implementing programs and policies for trafficked men to recover and reintegrate, however, experiences of long-term reintegration, particularly men’s experiences, are largely missing from research on human trafficking. This research with trafficked Indonesian men, 49 of whom were interviewed in the lead-up to this article, is designed to help fill this gap.

“Identification of Trafficking Victims in Europe and the Former Soviet Union” in The SAGE Handbook of Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery

The identification of trafficking victims continues to be a challenge in anti-trafficking work. There are many ways that victims exit trafficking and encounter anti-trafficking practitioners. Victim identification may take place in different settings, under different conditions and at different stages of a victim’s trafficking and post-trafficking life. Nevertheless, many victims go unidentified and are consequently subject to continued exploitation, sometimes for extended periods of time. Based on the experiences of victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation, forced labor and begging or delinquency, this chapter discusses how victim identification does and does not take place in various settings and the reasons why victims may go unidentified. Barriers to victim identification include both personal barriers, linked to decisions of trafficking victims themselves, as well as structural barriers linked to the institutional anti-trafficking response of a specific country. The chapter is based on research with trafficking victims, service providers and criminal justice actors in several countries in Europe (Albania, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Italy, Norway, Romania, Serbia) and the former Soviet Union (Moldova and Ukraine).

Quality and Rigor in TIP research in the Mekong Region: Assessing the Evidence Base

Our knowledge of and responses to TIP must be informed and driven by high quality evidence – that is, technically robust and ethically rigorous research and program data. Weak or inaccurate evidence has the potential to distort our understanding of TIP and our ability to effectively design, implement and evaluate CTIP interventions. This research review explores the nature and quality of TIP research in five Mekong countries (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam), identifying key issues and challenges and making concrete recommendations on how to improve future TIP research and data collection.

A Review of TIP Research in the Mekong Region (2008-2018)

NEXUS Institute conducted a review of TIP research from 2008 to 2018 in and from five of the countries in the Mekong region (Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam), to provide an overview of existing research and research and to inform the USAID Asia CTIP project. This brief summarizes the key findings of this TIP research review (Quality and Rigor in TIP Research in the Mekong Region: Assessing the Evidence Base and Exploring the Evidence: A Review of Research on TIP for Agriculture, Construction and Domestic Work in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam).