Protecting the Unassisted and Underserved: Longitudinal Evidence-Based Research on Assistance and Reintegration
Implementing Agency: NEXUS Institute
Geographic Scope: Indonesia (West Java and Jakarta)
Project Summary: Well-designed assistance and reintegration programs can assist trafficking victims to better manage and cope with the challenges of returning home and moving on with their lives after trafficking. However, NEXUS’ research has found that many trafficking victims do not receive the assistance they need to recover and reintegrate into their families and communities. Many victims decline to be identified or assisted because the services available do not mesh with their specific post-trafficking needs or with the situations they find themselves in after returning to their families and/or communities. Other victims find that the assistance they need is not available to them.
To ensure that reintegration programs meet the needs of trafficked persons, it is important to talk to trafficked persons about their experiences and needs and to learn how services can better support their recovery and reintegration. NEXUS’ project in Indonesia has done just this – worked directly with trafficked persons and their families to learn how to better support them after trafficking. NEXUS undertook longitudinal, action-oriented research with 108 individuals who have been trafficked to, from and within Indonesia, for different forms of labor and sexual exploitation. This included males and females, adults and children. We interviewed trafficking victims not only about their exploitation, but also about their lives after trafficking and over time, as they sought to recover and reintegrate into their homes and communities. This longitudinal data is being used to inform reintegration interventions in Indonesia, to better respond to the needs of a diverse set of Indonesian trafficking victims.
Countries of exploitation and forms of trafficking for the 108 trafficking victims interviewed.
This in-depth research project was conducted over a period of two years, following the lives and reintegration experiences of respondents, to learn about the experiences they face over time as they seek to move on from trafficking. The project explored the challenges that service providers and trafficked persons may experience in the reintegration process and what can be done to address these challenges. We conducted interviews with trafficked individuals who have been assisted, to understand how the services they received did (or did not) help them to recover from their negative experiences. We also interviewed trafficked persons who have not been assisted, to learn how they coped after trafficking and what assistance they might have needed.
This project aimed to:
- enhance an understanding of human trafficking in Indonesia, including how individuals are trafficked, for what forms of exploitation and to what destinations;
- enhance an understanding of available assistance, with a particular focus on reintegration assistance and support to trafficked persons;
- explore understudied aspects of trafficking, including, but not limited to, assisting men, the family and community environment of trafficked persons, managing stigma and discrimination after trafficking, and other elements of the trafficking phenomena rarely studied;
- provide concrete and actionable information to improve interventions that can respond to the needs of a wide range of trafficked persons who are recovering and seeking to move on with their lives after trafficking.
The project resulted in a number of research studies on various issues associated with reintegration, as well as practical resources and tools. Seminars and technical discussions were also part of the project work. Results and findings of the research will be shared with a wide range of organizations and institutions, to help design better reintegration programs and policies in Indonesia.
The project was generously funded by the United States Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP).
Being Home. Exploring Family Reintegration Amongst Trafficked Indonesian Domestic Workers, in Routledge Handbook of Human Trafficking (2017)
Escape or exit from trafficking is a critical moment in the lives of trafficked persons. It is, in many ways, a new beginning or a return to normal life. But “being home” is far from an easy or smooth transition. It is, often times, a complex, taxing and complicated process that involves significant challenges. The process of reintegration encompasses not only individual trafficking victims but also their family members and the family environment to which they return. Trafficked persons must recover and come to terms not only with their own exploitation, but also the reactions and responses of their family members. Moreover, the family of trafficked persons have also been negatively affected by the victim’s trafficking and must also navigate and manage return and reintegration. In many situations, exit from trafficking is the beginning of another set of challenges – at a personal level and within the family. And yet too little is known about the issues that trafficked persons and their families face in the process of reintegration. This paper seeks to widen the lens, to include the actions and reactions of individual trafficking victims and their families, including the interplay of the two and how this changes over time. Based on fieldwork conducted in Indonesia from 2014 to 2016, this paper explores multi-layered tensions, complications and challenges that Indonesian trafficking victims and their family members face in reintegrating after a trafficking experience. It considers in particular the challenges faced by Indonesian women trafficked as domestic workers as they reunite with their families, including financial problems resulting from or exacerbated by trafficking; tensions and conflict due to stress or distress; feelings of shame or being blamed; and damage to family relationships. Identifying, disentangling and understanding common points of tension and complication is a valuable starting point for improved reintegration programs and policies.
Available in Bahasa Indonesian
When trafficked persons escape their exploitation, it is often only the beginning of a complex and taxing process of recovery and reintegration. Trafficked persons must recover from the very serious and debilitating effects of trafficking exploitation. They often have a range of short- and long-term assistance needs, which are directly related to and often caused by their trafficking experiences, including issues related to housing and accommodation, physical and mental health, their economic situations, education and training, safety and security, legal status, legal issues and needs within the family. In addition, human trafficking is often a function of broader, structural inequality and individual vulnerability. This means that trafficked persons must also navigate and tackle underlying and pre-existing vulnerabilities that contributed to being trafficked and which also have the potential to undermine reintegration. This paper discusses what Indonesian trafficked persons have identified as their issues, vulnerabilities and resiliencies at different stages of their lives – before trafficking, as a consequence of trafficking exploitation and over the course of their recovery and reintegration. The paper also explores how vulnerability and resilience are influenced by external factors like the family and community setting into which trafficked persons seek to reintegrate and how vulnerability and resilience may fluctuate and change over time.
Available in Bahasa Indonesian
In Indonesia there is a range of laws, policies and programs in place to support the reintegration of trafficked persons. These include efforts and initiatives by various government ministries and departments (at the national, provincial and district levels), NGOs and IOs and they afford often-critical support and services to many victims after trafficking. Nonetheless, many Indonesian trafficking victims do not receive the assistance and support that they need to recover from their trafficking experiences and reintegrate into their families and communities. And those that do receive assistance do not always receive assistance that is suited to their needs or adequately supports their efforts to reintegrate. This is the result of critical challenges in the current response in Indonesia, including: 1) that many trafficked persons are unidentified; 2) reintegration is not clearly defined or understood; 3) most assistance is “one-off” support; 4) assistance programs are only short-term; 5) victims face barriers in accessing available services; 6) lack of information about reintegration assistance; 7) lack of assistance to trafficked men; 8) lack of case management and tailored reintegration support; and 9) an uneven provision of assistance due to decentralization and the geographic distribution of services. This paper is a starting point in better understanding how reintegration of trafficked persons currently takes place in Indonesia, including what is working well and what constitute constraints and obstacles for trafficked persons to the reintegration process.
In December 2015, NEXUS hosted a national seminar with the Government of Indonesia to workshop and finalize Going Home. Please see full details below, under Seminars, Workshops and Events.
See also Human Trafficking in Indonesia: The Difficult Road Home (photo essay)
Doing no harm. Ethical challenges in research with trafficked persons, in Ethical Concerns in Research on Human Trafficking (2016)
Central to any ethical research is the principle of “do no harm”, that when conducting research we do no harm to the persons we are researching and whose experiences we are seeking to explore and understand. This principle is especially critical when conducting research with persons in vulnerable situations, like trafficking victims. And yet avoiding harm is neither simple nor direct; there are many challenges and fault lines in terms of navigating this ethical space. This chapter discusses the different aspects of providing information about assistance to respondents when conducting research with trafficking victims, as a means of preventing and mitigating research harm. At the same time, we highlight the obstacles in identifying assistance options and offering referral information to respondents, both in terms of the actual existence of services and their appropriateness and desirability for respondents. Challenges include when services are unavailable, when services are available but inappropriate or undesirable, when services are inaccessible to trafficking victims due to their legal status and difficulties in accessing services because of personal and practical barriers.
Available in Bahasa
This Directory provides concrete information to trafficked persons and exploited migrant workers about the services available to them, which can support their recovery and reintegration. It is intended as a tool to improve trafficking victims’ access to information about services and how to access receive these services. The Directory covers government and NGO services in Jakarta and in West Java. The information is provided in simple, comprehensible language and a visually accessible format.
Seminars, Workshops and Events
National Seminar: Research on the reintegration of trafficking victims in Indonesia. Conducted by NEXUS Institute, Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Ministry of Social Affairs, December 14, 2015.
On December 14, 2015, NEXUS conducted a national seminar on reintegration of trafficking victims in partnership with the Government of Indonesia’s Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection (MoWECP) and Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA). The national seminar was opened and facilitated by Mr. Heru (Deputy of Women’s Protection, MoWECP), Ms. Niken (Deputy Assistant for the Protection of Victims of Trafficking, MoWECP), Dr. Sonny W. Manulu (Director of Directorate of Social Rehabilitation and Social Disadvantage, MoSA) and Mrs. Iim (Head of Unit of Data and Policy Analysis, MoWECP). The national seminar: Sharing findings from research on the reintegration of trafficking victims in Indonesia, was attended by representatives from the National Anti-Trafficking Task Force, representing a wide range of government ministries and sectors. The seminar was also attended by representatives from the government, civil society, international organizations, universities and various embassies.
The purpose of the seminar was to share results from NEXUS’ study entitled: Going Home. Challenges in the Reintegration of Trafficking Victims in Indonesia and to encourage a discussion of the reintegration framework in the country. In addition to NEXUS’ presentation of is research results, the Ministry of Social Affairs presented its work in the area of social rehabilitation and reintegration.
Technical Discussion: The role of social workers in the reintegration of trafficking victims in Indonesia. Conducted by NEXUS Institute, Ministry of Social Affairs and the Indonesian Association of Social Workers for Children and Families (APSAKI), May 24, 2016.
This technical discussion was made possible with the support of MoSA, APSAKI and the Mentors Foundation.
The technical discussion was held at the Ministry of Social Affairs’ Social Work Training Centre on May 24, 2016. The event was opened by Drs. Manggana Lubis (Director of MoSA’s Social Work Training Centre), Pak Acusman (President of APSAKI), Pak Agus (Head of Trafficking Unit, MoSA) and Rebecca Surtees (Senior Researcher at NEXUS Institute). The event was attended by 30 state social workers and members of the Indonesian Association of Social Workers for Children and Families (APSAKI). The technical discussion built on and shared lessons from NEXUS’ longitudinal research project on the reintegration of trafficking victims in Indonesia.
Technical discussion photographs by Thaufiek Zulbahary. All rights reserved.
Technical Discussion: Enhancing reintegration of trafficking victims in Indonesia. Conducted by NEXUS Institute, May 26-27, 2016.
This technical discussion was funded by the Mentor’s Foundation.
On May 26 and 27, 2016, NEXUS held a technical discussion in Puncak, West Java, with civil society organizations, on enhancing the reintegration of trafficking victims. The technical discussion focused on sharing experiences and lessons learned among service providers in West Java and Jakarta, including challenges and obstacles faced in supporting the reintegration of trafficking victims. The technical discussion also explored how to enhance reintegration services and support in going forward.
The technical discussion was attended by service providers from 14 NGOs who support the reintegration of trafficking victims in Jakarta and various districts of West Java. NGOs in attendance included:
- FSPILN (Forum Serikat Pekerja Indonesia Luar Negeri/Forum for Indonesian Overseas Workers Union), Cirebon
- FWBMI (Forum Warga Buruh Migran Indonesia/Citizen Forum for Indonesian Migrant Workers), Cirebon
- SBMI DPN (Serikat Buruh Migran Indonesia/Indonesian Migrant Workers Union National Board, Jakarta)
- SBMC (Solidaritas Buruh Migran Cianjur/Solidarity of Migrant Workers Cianjur), Cianjur
- SBMI Cianjur (Serikat Buruh Migran Indonesia/Indonesian Migrant Workers Union), Cianjur
- SBMI Cirebon (Serikat Buruh Migran Indonesia/Indonesian Migrant Workers Union), Cirebon
- SBMI Indramayu (Serikat Buruh Migran Indonesia/Indonesian Migrant Workers Union), Indramayu
- SBMI Sukabumi (Serikat Buruh Migran Indonesia/Indonesian Migrant Workers Union), Sukabumi
- SP (Solidaritas Perempuan/Solidarity for Women), Jakarta
- SPILN (Serikat Pekerja Indonesia Luar Negeri/Indonesian Overseas Workers Union), Jakarta
- WCC Balqis (Women’s Crisis Centre), Cirebon
- Yayasan Bandungwangi (Bandunwangi Foundation), Jakarta
- Yayasan Bahtera (Bahtera Foundation), Bandung
- YKB (Yayasan Kusuma Bongas/Kusuma Bongas Foundation), Indramayu