Improving the Identification, Protection and Reintegration of Trafficking Victims in Asia
Implementing Agencies: NEXUS Institute and the Regional Support Office of the Bali Process (RSO)
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 are developing a series of Practitioner Guides to support the protection work of practitioners in ASEAN. 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
- Special and additional measures for victim-witnesses
- Access to remedies
These topics are in line with the six 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).
Each Practitioner Guide identifies and distills existing evidence on a discrete victim protection issue and presents it in a succinct and accessible format to help practitioners better understand key issues and challenges. The Practitioner Guides draw on and share the real-life knowledge and experiences of trafficking victims and anti-trafficking practitioners to serve as a resource for practitioner’s work and on-going learning. They also provide practical guidance for practitioners to operationalize in their day-to-day work to support an enhanced victim protection response.
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.
The Practitioner Guides are user-friendly, with content presented in an accessible and visual format. They include quotes and reflections from victims and practitioners as well as notepads and mini-exercises that can be used as a workbook for training and capacity building.
Each Practitioner Guide serves as a stand-alone resource for practitioners 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.
The first four Practitioner Guides were reviewed and validated by expert practitioners from six Bali Process Member States (Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam) at a Practitioner Roundtable discussion in April 2021.
To support the implementation and operationalization of the Practitioner Guide series, NEXUS and Bali Process RSO are also developing a series of Facilitator Modules to accompany each Practitioner Guide. Each Facilitator Module provides detailed, step-by-step guidance to train practitioners in the specific thematic area.
In addition, and to support trafficking victim access to assistance and services, NEXUS and Bali Process RSO are producing guidance on how to develop a Directory of Services for trafficking victims. Too often, both practitioners and victims are unaware of the services and assistance available to them at the national or local levels. A Directory of Services is a vital tool for trafficking victims to access the assistance needed to recover and reintegrate after trafficking, as well as for practitioners in referring and assisting victims. Having developed directories of services in various countries around the world, NEXUS will share this experience and expertise with practitioners in Bali Process Member States. This will include:
- Guidance Note on Developing a Directory of Services for Trafficking Victims to provide step-by-step guidance on how practitioners can develop, validate and regularly update a Directory of Services in their area or country. It will explain how to find and present this information in simple, comprehensible language and a visually accessible format to ensure comprehension of information across age, language capacity and level of education.
- “How To” video on developing a Directory of Services. This video will offer step-by-step guidance on how to prepare and maintain an up-to-date Directory of Services.
This project and its many outputs support the work of regional initiatives like UNDP and ASEAN-USAID PROSPECT in their on-going capacity building work with government counterparts and civil society. In addition, these materials 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.
This project is being jointly implemented by NEXUS Institute and the Regional Support Office of the Bali Process (RSO). The project is generously funded by the Australian Department of Home Affairs, through the Bali Process RSO.
Publications and Outputs
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 Identification: A Facilitator’s Guide (forthcoming)
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.
Trafficking Victim Protection and Support: A Facilitator’s Guide (forthcoming)
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.
Recovery and Reintegration of Trafficking Victims: A Facilitator’s Guide (forthcoming)
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.
Special and Additional Measures for Child Trafficking Victims: A Facilitator’s Guide (forthcoming)
Special and Additional Measures for Victim-Witnesses: A Practitioner Guide (forthcoming)
Special and Additional Measures for Victim-Witnesses: A Facilitator’s Guide (forthcoming)
Access to Remedies: A Practitioner Guide (forthcoming)
Access to Remedies: A Facilitator’s Guide (forthcoming)
Guidance Note on Developing a Directory of Services for Trafficking Victims (forthcoming)
A Directory of Services is a vital tool for trafficking victims to access the assistance needed to recover and reintegrate after trafficking, as well as for practitioners in referring and assisting victims. Too often, both practitioners and victims are unaware of the services and assistance available to them at the national or local levels. This Guidance Note provides step-by-step guidance on how practitioners can develop, validate and regularly update a Directory of Services in their area or country. It explains how to find and present this information in simple, comprehensible language and a visually accessible format to ensure comprehension of information across age, language capacity and level of education. The Guidance Note includes a template/sample Directory of Services for practitioners to complete and an instructional video.