Good Practice in Global Data Collection

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

Implementing Agency: NEXUS Institute

Geographic Scope: Global

Years: 2014-2018

Project Summary: Effective efforts to combat trafficking in persons (TIP) are predicated on methodologically rigorous, reliable and ethical data acquisition, appropriate data management systems as well as sound, objective and insightful analysis of that data. Without high quality data, both on victim protection and on trafficking prosecutions, it is not possible to effectively design appropriate policies and interventions or to monitor and evaluate anti-trafficking efforts in a meaningful way. And yet TIP data collection is not uncomplicated; it involves a raft of methodological, ethical and practical issues and considerations.

This project is an in-depth exploration of good practice in TIP data collection globally, considering all of these issues and offering guidance on how to conduct data collection in the best possible way. The findings represent the knowledge and expertise of the more than 100 respondents interviewed for the study, including TIP researchers, TIP experts, TIP data collection project staff and National Rapporteurs and other government officials with duties to collect data on human trafficking. The four studies serve as practical resources and references for various stakeholders in the anti-trafficking community (researchers, data collection staff, policymakers and practitioners) in their efforts to improve TIP data collection and analysis. The project contributes to on-going efforts in the anti-trafficking field to enhance robust data collection on trafficking in persons.

The 128 respondents interviewed represented TIP data collection work being done in nearly all of the regions of the world.

The project was generously funded by the United States Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP).

Project Publications:

The Science (and Art) of Understanding Trafficking in Persons: Good Practice in TIP Data Collection (2019)

This study aims to support the enactment and implementation of more effective evidence-based anti-trafficking policy, law and practice by drawing good practices from the collective and learned knowledge of TIP researchers, data collectors and experts as well as existing research and resources on TIP data collection. We recognize that there are many different types of TIP data collection and aim to cover many different scenarios and good practices across different forms of data collection and research on trafficking in persons. The study highlights and discusses aspects of TIP data collection that are important for all to consider as well as to document and present the collective experiences of a large number of institutions and individuals who have been and are involved in TIP data collection. The target audience is anyone who is undertaking TIP data collection as part of their anti-trafficking work and is seeking to learn from past and current efforts in this regard. We hope to reach professionals, organizations and institutions that are currently collecting data or planning to collect data and provide lessons and tools to help them do that in a constructive and ethical way and in line with their existing work and mandates.


On the Frontlines: Operationalizing Good Practice in TIP Data Collection (2019)

These guidelines are for frontline staff from governments, international organizations (IOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who wish to learn from past and current TIP data collection efforts. The guidelines draw on lessons from the Good Practice study 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 (2020)

This study examines legal and ethical issues in the context of traditional types of data collection (for example, research data and administrative data) as well as new forms of and approaches to TIP data collection, including the use of Big Data and Open Data as well as data collected in the context of private sector engagement, supply chain work and through information communications technology (ICT)/third-party technology providers. 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 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 complexity and the grey zones in ethical and legal assessments of how TIP data is and should be collected and protected. This paper is intended for counter-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 (2020)

These recommendations are offered to donors and funders as key stakeholders in building the knowledge base on TIP. Based on the experiences and suggestions of more than 100 TIP data collection staff, researchers and experts, these recommendations offer guidance on how to support TIP data collection before, during and after data collection. Recommendations aim to maximize the positive contribution that donors and funders are already making to the field of TIP data collection.

Photograph by r2hox. Some rights reserved.