USAID Asia Counter Trafficking in Persons (CTIP)

Implementing Agencies: Winrock International, NEXUS Institute, Liberty Shared and Resonance

Geographic Scope: Asia

Years: 2017-2020

Project Summary: USAID Asia CTIP is a regional initiative that focuses on transnational and regional challenges to combat human trafficking. The program aims to reduce the trafficking of persons in Asia through coordinated multisectoral action and cross-border cooperation, developing opportunities for private-sector leadership and improving the quality of data associated with human trafficking. More information is available here.

The project is financed by USAID.

NEXUS Institute undertook various activities in the framework of the USAID Asia CTIP project. These included:

Mapping the Evidence Base. A Review of TIP Research in the Mekong Region (2008-2018)

Research on trafficking in persons (TIP) is critically important to understand the nature and scope of trafficking, as well as to inform programming and policy. Understanding the landscape of existing TIP research and evidence (in scope, nature and quality) is essential in determining what additional research and evidence may be needed to inform and improve policies and programs to address human trafficking. 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 (Lao PDR), Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam) to inform the USAID Asia CTIP project, as well as the wider CTIP community, about the existing evidence base and what further knowledge is needed to enhance our understanding of trafficking in persons and to improve CTIP responses.

Resources, Publications and Studies:

Quality and Rigor in TIP research in the Mekong Region: Assessing the Evidence Base (2019)

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) (2019)

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).

 

Improving Victim Identification and Referral

The identification of trafficking victims is essential in ending trafficking exploitation and facilitating victims’ referral and access to protection measures. And yet, victim identification does not always result in referral and assistance and may, at times, even lead to harm. These issues raise important questions regarding how to improve victim identification – so that victim identification is designed to be safe, voluntary and ensures access to services and protection. In response to these challenges, NEXUS Institute generated knowledge from action (learning from what is currently being done to identify trafficking victims) and knowledge for action (identifying what can be done to improve victim identification), resulting in various resources, publications, and studies to be used by the CTIP community to improve victim identification and protection efforts in Asia.

Resources, Publications and Studies:

Victim protection – the identification, referral, assistance, and reintegration of trafficking victims – is a core component of a comprehensive response to trafficking in persons. Protection offers critical interventions to end trafficking exploitation as well as to support and assist victims to recover after their experiences, and to reintegrate into their families, communities, and wider society. Victim protection also serves as a critical means of preventing further exploitation and victimization, including the risk of re-trafficking. It is also intimately tied to a trafficking victim’s access to justice, as well as to perpetrators being brought to justice. Without sufficient protection, victims are unlikely to cooperate in criminal justice procedures against traffickers. While international obligations to protect victims of human trafficking are the same for all countries, the way these obligations are pursued and fulfilled differs widely. Most countries outline their protection frameworks in a series of laws and policy documents, supplemented by standard operating procedures (SOPs) and other mechanisms to give them effect. Locating the various components of protection frameworks, and understanding how they fit together, can be a daunting and time-consuming task. This publication provides an overview of the legal and policy framework in place for the protection of trafficking victims in five countries in Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and Viet Nam). It offers practitioners step-by-step guidance on the process of victim identification, referral, and assistance in each country, including the various agencies and institutions responsible for this work. This resource is for anti-trafficking practitioners who are working to understand, implement, or improve instruments and procedures for identification, referral, and assistance of trafficking victims. It may serve as a road map of what protection opportunities are provided for in law, policy, and procedures, as well as materials that support their implementation. The publication is primarily intended as a practical resource for anti-trafficking practitioners working to leverage existing rights and entitlements to identify, refer, and assist trafficking victims. It is also intended as a reference for policymakers in identifying gaps that may exist in a country’s protection framework, including to support the development or modification of a country’s national referral mechanism or transnational referral mechanism. The publication may also be a useful starting point for researchers who are investigating specific aspects of victim protection or for those evaluating the effective implementation of this protection framework.

 

Identifying Trafficking Victims: An Analysis of Victim Identification Tools and Resources in Asia (2020)

Victim identification is the process by which an individual is identified as a victim of trafficking in persons, which in turn, entitles them to rights and protections. Formal identification should lead to and facilitate the opportunity for a victim to be referred for consultation or further action, including voluntary access to assistance and reintegration services and/or access to justice. This review is a first step in understanding the victim identification tools and resources that currently exist and are publicly available to support the identification and referral of trafficking victims, with a focus on the countries of Asia. This review provides an initial exploration of what victim identification may look like in different situations and scenarios (including formal identification, informal identification, self-identification and non-identification) and describes the current state of publicly available victim identification tools and resources globally. The review then narrows its focus to examine victim identification tools and resources available in different regions of Asia, exploring the purpose of the different tools and resources; intended users; the target audience (what forms of trafficking and profiles of victims are being identified); at what stage of the trafficking cycle identification is taking place; and how the tools and resources were developed. The review concludes with a set of actionable recommendations for additional tools and resources to fill existing gaps and enhance victim identification efforts in Asia.

 

Seminars, Workshops and Events

Regional Network Meeting on (Trans)National Referral Mechanisms for Sustainable Reintegration, Bangkok, Thailand, (November 19, 2019)

The Regional Network Meeting brought together participants from international organizations and NGOs working in the region on counter-trafficking, migration, labor exploitation and related regional issues, to exchange, update, and discuss ongoing project activities as well as explore opportunities for collaboration and coordination in a specific sector or regarding a defined theme. The November 2019 Meeting was co-hosted by UN-ACT, USAID Asia CTIP, and ASEAN-USAID PROSPECT with a thematic discussion on (Trans)National Referral Mechanisms (NRM) for Sustainable Reintegration. The sessions included brainstorming groups, presentations and discussions in which participants developed a technical understanding of NRM models, discussed challenges and possible solutions in operationalizing NRMs and identified possible opportunities for collaboration related to NRM activities across the region.

Breakout Session at the Regional Network Meeting on (Trans)National Referral Mechanisms for Sustainable Reintegration. Photo courtesy of CTIP Asia.

CTIP Learning Forum, Bangkok, Thailand (June 6-7, 2018)

On June 6-7, 2018, USAID Asia CTIP hosted a Learning Forum in Bangkok, Thailand, which brought together USAID CTIP stakeholders from throughout Asia, including USAID TIP focal points, USAID CTIP project implementers and their civil society partners as well as USAID Asia CTIP partners NEXUS Institute, Liberty Shared and Resonance. The Learning Forum, jointly designed and implemented by Asia CTIP and NEXUS Institute, was a unique opportunity and platform for key USAID CTIP stakeholders to “pause and reflect” on what has been done so far to address human trafficking, what we can learn from past and on-going efforts, what adjustments may be needed in how we approach the issue and how to develop innovative strategies to maximize the impact of our CTIP interventions moving forward. The Learning Forum explored two foundational questions about how we are approaching counter-trafficking efforts – Are we doing the right thing? Are we doing it in the right way? The Learning Forum highlighted the need for increased attention among all CTIP programs, for the following: 1) improved collaboration between source and destination countries; 2) better and more exhaustive data on TIP; and 3) victim-centered approaches. It also identified key issues and areas for learning around TIP and CTIP. Based on discussion, debate and analysis, NEXUS Institute and Asia CTIP drafted a regional Learning Action Plan to guide on-going work and learning on CTIP.

Background Note for the USAID Asia CTIP Learning Forum: USAID Asia Counter Trafficking in Persons Convenes Regional Learning Forum

Opening remarks at the Learning Forum by Richard J. Goughnour, Acting Mission Director, USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia. Photo courtesy of Winrock International.

M&E Working Group

Fourth Annual Monitoring and Evaluation Working Group Meeting, Bangkok, Thailand (February 5-6, 2020)

On February 5-6, 2020, USAID Asia CTIP brought USAID Asia CTIP partner, NEXUS Institute as well as Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) specialists from Asia Counter Trafficking in Persons (CTIP) country programs (Bangladesh, Cambodia, Central Asia, Lao PDR, Nepal, and Thailand) and Winrock International Home Office and to share the challenges, needs and lesson learned from their programs, and understand a future direction of USAID Asia CTIP’s Monitoring Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) strategy.

Third Annual Monitoring and Evaluation Working Group Meeting, Bangkok, Thailand (May 27-28, 2019)

On May 27-28, 2019, USAID Asia CTIP brought together Chiefs of Party (COP) and Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) specialists from five USAID-funded counter human trafficking projects in Asia (Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Nepal, and Thailand) for the Third Annual Monitoring and Evaluation Working Group Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand. The meeting allowed the projects to review their activity and outcome metrics, identify and cluster common indicators, and share best practices in M&E. As a project partner, NEXUS Institute led the discussion on tools that strengthen safe, culturally sensitive, and accurate victim identification.

NEXUS Institute Senior Researcher Rebecca Surtees (center) with country project representatives at the Third Annual Monitoring and Evaluation Working Group Meeting. Photo courtesy of CTIP Asia.

Second Annual Monitoring and Evaluation Working Group Meeting, Bangkok, Thailand (September 11-12, 2018)

The second meeting of the M&E working group was held September 11-12, 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand. It was attended by M&E Specialists and Program Leads from USAID funded CTIP country programs in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Nepal and Thailand bilateral programs, USAID/RDMA, USAID Asia CTIP (CoP and M&E Advisor) and NEXUS Institute. The objectives were to review the regional Learning Action Plan and identify key learning activities and mechanisms to streamline collaborative efforts in implementing the learning activities; to discuss the draft M&E Learning Toolkit being developed by USAID Asia CTIP; and to discuss relevant TIP data collection efforts for the M&E working group and their respective programs. The meeting built from the Learning Forum, hosted in June 2018.

First Annual Monitoring and Evaluation Working Group Meeting, Bangkok, Thailand (September 6, 2017)

On September 6, 2017, USAID Asia CTIP hosted the first M&E working group meeting, attended by USAID Asia CTIP, NEXUS Institute and USAID funded CTIP projects in Bangladesh, Cambodia and Nepal. The objective of the meeting was to discuss and analyze the existing M&E framework for CTIP interventions in Asia and develop a workplan for the five-year project.

Photograph by Peter Biro for the NEXUS Institute: A man labors in a field in Indonesia. All rights reserved.