Practitioner Guide Series on Victim Protection

Improving the Identification, Protection and Reintegration of Trafficking Victims in Asia: Practitioner Guide Series

Implementing Agencies: NEXUS Institute and Bali Process Regional Support Office (RSO)

Years: 2020-2021

Project Summary: A thorough understanding of the needs of trafficking victims must underpin programming, policy and capacity building efforts of governments and civil society in the ASEAN region and Bali Process Member States more broadly. And yet, anti-trafficking practitioners often do not have easy access to high quality research on victim protection nor do they have time to read and distill this vast body of literature to identify findings that they can use in their direct daily work.

To address this constraint, NEXUS and Bali Process RSO have developed a series of Practitioner Guides to support the protection work of practitioners in ASEAN. Topics addressed in this series include: victim identification; victim protection and support; recovery & reintegration; and special measures in protecting trafficked children, in line with the thematic areas of ASEAN ACWC Regional Guidelines and Procedures to Address the Needs of Victims of Trafficking in Persons, which was developed in support of the implementation of the ASEAN Convention on Trafficking in Persons (ACTIP).

The Practitioner Guide Series explores the following key protection issues:
  • Trafficking victim identification
  • Trafficking victim protection and support
  • Recovery and reintegration of trafficking victims
  • Special and additional measures for child trafficking victims

Each Practitioner Guide identifies, distills and presents existing evidence in a succinct and accessible format to help practitioners better understand key trends, issues and challenges and to serve as a resource for their work and on-going learning. The series also provides practical guidance for practitioners to operationalize in their work. 

The guides draw on and share the real life knowledge and experiences of trafficking victims and practitioners and are user friendly, with content presented in an accessible and visual format. They includes notepads and mini-exercises for practitioners and can be used as a workbook for training and capacity building.

Each Practitioner Guide serves as a stand-alone and take-home resource for practitioners attending victim protection-related Bali Process RSO events to operationalize in their work at the national and local levels. As a series, these Practitioner Guides offer a comprehensive and holistic overview of key issues and challenges in the protection of adult and child trafficking victims.

Photograph by Peter Biro: An interview to determine assistance needs in Thailand.

The target audience is practitioners engaged in the protection of adult and child trafficking victims in Bali Process Member States including social workers and social assistants, healthcare practitioners, psychologists and counselors, child protection specialists, law enforcement, lawyers and paralegals, teachers and school administrators, vocational trainers, job counselors and business experts and public administrators. The guides may also be used by policymakers tasked with improving practice and procedures in the protection of trafficking victims.

This thematic series also supports the work of regional initiatives like UN-ACT and ASEAN-USAID PROSPECT in their on-going capacity building work with government counterparts and civil society. In addition, these practitioner guides have a variety of applications beyond their immediate use by practitioners in their operational work. They:

  • Inform the regional training curriculum on victim identification, protection and reintegration, to be used in training national practitioners throughout ASEAN being developed by NEXUS Institute, UN-ACT and ASEAN-USAID PROSPECT;
  • Inform human security and victim-centered approach training on victim identification, assistance and protection, developed and delivered by the RSO in partnership with the UNITAR CIFAL Jeju/Jeju International Training Center (JITC) in the Republic of Korea;
  • Inform training workshops on combating trafficking in persons by the RSO in partnership with the People’s Police Academy in Hanoi, Viet Nam;
  • Contribute to the RSO’s border management program on trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants including operational border management training workshops and roundtable discussions;
  • Contribute to RSO training workshops on strengthening law enforcement capacity and response to trafficking in persons in select Bali Process Member States;
  • Contribute to UN-ACT’s work on victim identification and reintegration in the COMMIT framework, including through national and transnational referral mechanisms (NRM/TRMs).
  • Contribute to ASEAN-USAID PROSPECT’s national capacity building efforts including technical exchanges and dialogues on thematic areas of interest, good practice and/or challenges faced in addressing the needs of victims of trafficking.
  • Contribute to the development of guidance on how to better address the needs of trafficking victims in ASEAN countries generally.

Photograph by Peter Biro for NEXUS Institute: A man registers for health services at a clinic in Indonesia.

The Practitioner Guides were drafted by NEXUS Institute with support from RSO. The guides were also reviewed and validated by  expert practitioners from six from Bali Process Member States (Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam) at a Practitioner Roundtable discussion in April 2021.

Group photo with some of the participants at the Virtual Practitioner Roundtable Discussion (April 2021).


The project description is available here.


This practitioner guide series is drafted by NEXUS Institute and published jointly by NEXUS Institute and the Bali Process Regional Support Office (RSO). The project is generously funded by the Australian Department of Home Affairs, through the Bali Process Regional Support Office (RSO).






Trafficking Victim Identification: A Practitioner Guide (2021)

Victim identification is the process by which an individual is identified as a trafficking victim, which, in turn, entitles them to rights and protections. While formal identification should lead to and facilitate the opportunity for a victim to be referred for assistance, this does not always occur in practice. Some trafficking victims are not identified and assisted by frontline responders and practitioners. Other victims decline to be identified and assisted. Still other victims may be formally identified but not referred for assistance or may be forced to accept assistance. This practitioner guide reviews existing research on victim identification (and non-identification), touching on why some victims are (and are not) identified, challenges in the identification process and practices that may enhance victim identification.


Trafficking Victim Protection and Support: A Practitioner Guide (2021)

Victims of trafficking are entitled to, and should receive, immediate protection from their exploiters and from the possibility of further harm, including the risk of re-trafficking. They should receive support to meet their immediate needs and ensure their well-being, irrespective of their willingness to participate in criminal justice procedures, protection from detention and prosecution and the right to privacy. This practitioner guide reviews existing research on the protection and support of trafficking victims in Asia, both in terms of what exists and what challenges arise in the provision of protection and support.


Recovery and Reintegration of Trafficking Victims: A Practitioner Guide (2021)

Recovery and reintegration is a complex and costly undertaking, often requiring a full and diverse set of services for victims (and sometimes their families), who themselves have widely differing short- and long-term physical, psychological, social and economic needs. Once the immediate needs of trafficked persons have been met, many victims require further assistance to reintegrate into their families and communities (e.g. vocational training, economic support, long-term access to healthcare, counseling, education, family mediation). Some assistance needs are a consequence of trafficking while others may be linked to vulnerabilities that existed before victims were trafficked as well as issues that have arisen in victims’ lives after trafficking. Because successful reintegration can take years to achieve, reintegration services must be available in the long-term and include follow-up and case management. This practitioner guide reviews and synthesizes existing research on recovery and reintegration of trafficking victims including barriers and challenges in the reintegration process as well as opportunities and entry points for supporting sustainable reintegration.


Special and Additional Measures for Child Trafficking Victims: A Practitioner Guide (2021)

The ASEAN Trafficking Convention (ACTIP) explicitly recognizes that child victims have special needs and that appropriate measures are needed to ensure the safety and well-being of child victims, from identification to the securing of a durable solution involving longer-term support. Care and protection must be made available on an equal and non-discriminatory basis with no distinction between child nationals and child non-nationals. Special attention should be paid to assessing and meeting the requirements of children with special needs such as the very young, those with disabilities and those who have suffered severe exploitation and abuse. This practitioner guide reviews existing research on the specific needs and experiences of trafficked children as well as measures in place and challenges faced to protect them. Based on this analysis, practitioners will be guided to a deeper understanding of how to more effectively address the critical issues that arise in implementing special and additional measures for trafficked children.

Photograph by Peter Biro for the NEXUS Institute: A doctor in a health clinic in Indonesia. All rights reserved.
Photographs on this page illustrate various aspects of assistance and protection. Unless stated otherwise, individuals in these photographs are not trafficking victims.