The NEXUS Institute® is recognized as one of the most prominent centers of practice-based research and analysis in the world on forms of modern slavery and related issues. NEXUS’ writings have contributed to the growth in knowledge in this field through more than ten years of in-depth examination of these issues and what the evidence reveals for governments, professionals, policymakers and practitioners seeking to more effectively prevent human trafficking, protect and assist victims and bring perpetrators to justice.
The following is a chronological list of select NEXUS publications.
Please see the drop-down menu or the menu on the left to access by general issue or topic.
Large numbers of Indonesian men migrate each year for work in construction, in factories and in agriculture, on plantations and on fishing boats. Many of them end up exploited in ways that constitute human trafficking, suffering violence, deprivation, restricted freedom and severe exploitation as well as long periods of separation from their families. This article explores the challenges faced by forty-nine Indonesian men reintegrating into their families and communities after having been trafficked. While many problems with the family were caused by economics, tensions also resulted from long separations, fractured relationships, and frustration and blame over ‘failed’ migration and unfulfilled expectations. Tensions were sometimes exacerbated when men faced recrimination and blame in their communities after return. Understanding the nature of and reasons for the problems that men faced after trafficking is vital in considering how trafficked men and their families can be supported to recover and reintegrate after trafficking.
Being Home. Exploring Family Reintegration Among 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 chapter 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 chapter 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.
Declining assistance. Understanding trafficked persons’ decisions, choices and resiliency. In Human Trafficking: A Reference Handbook (2017)
Reintegration assistance is often critical for trafficked persons as they recover and move on from trafficking. Well-designed reintegration and assistance programs can provide vital, even life-saving services to trafficked persons and their families facing the challenging task of rebuilding their lives. Such programs also address the pre-existing vulnerabilities that often contributed to individuals being trafficked and widen the life choices available to them. Nonetheless, some trafficking victims decline assistance and support after trafficking, choosing instead to try to cope on their own. Knowing why some victims do and do not decline assistance tells us a great deal about the condition of people’s lives after trafficking, what challenges they face and what opportunities are available to them. Based on fieldwork in the Balkans in 2006, this chapter discusses three broad reasons for trafficking victims to decline assistance: 1) linked to personal circumstances; 2) difficulties in the assistance system; and 3) issues of trust and victim identity.
Available as a compressed pdf for mobile or slower Internet connection
Available in Bahasa Indonesian
For many trafficking victims, exit or escape from trafficking is only the beginning of another set of challenges that they face as they seek to recover and reintegrate after a trafficking experience. Not only do they need to come to terms with their exploitation, but they must also navigate the often-complex relationships with family and community after trafficking. Indeed, reintegration takes place within a wide social field – involving different family members and varying community environments. Men and women also experience reintegration differently, as do victims of different forms of exploitation, including those trafficked for sexual exploitation, domestic work, fishing, construction, factory work and plantation work. It is, therefore, important to disentangle the actions and reactions of different family and community members, each of whom may play a different role in either supporting or undermining a victim’s reintegration. This paper explores the challenges faced by trafficked persons as they seek to reintegrate into their families and communities. The paper equally considers settings in which reintegration success is supported and galvanized by family and community members, to identify what can be done to enhance the reintegration outcomes of all Indonesian trafficking victims.
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.
In recent years, the flow of migrants and refugees through the Balkans has significantly increased. To date, there has been limited empirical evidence of when, why and how vulnerability to human trafficking arises in mass movements of migrants and refugees. New patterns of vulnerability and exploitation challenge established procedures for identification of and assistance to trafficking victims. This paper presents different experiences of trafficked migrants and refugees who have moved to and through Serbia over the past two years, and explores challenges and barriers to their formal identification and assistance as victims of human trafficking. The paper concludes with specific recommendations on how government and civil society stakeholders may begin to work more effectively on this issue to and to better identify and assist trafficked migrants/refugees.
This guidebook is based on findings from the ground-breaking study: After trafficking: Experiences and challenges in the (re)integration of trafficked persons in the Greater Mekong Sub-region, which is based on interviews with 252 trafficking victims in the GMS about their experiences of reintegration. The guidebook highlights positive examples and successes in the reintegration of trafficked persons in different settings and countries throughout the region. It also presents challenges faced by trafficked persons as they sought to move on from their exploitation, including what they suggested could be done in the future to better support the recovery and reintegration of trafficked persons. As critically, the guidebook offers a set of checklists which point to ways forward to improve work in the field of reintegration programming and policy. The guidebook is a practical resource for service providers in the GMS region (and further afield), to assist in improving reintegration programs and policies for trafficking victims. It may also be useful for donors and policymakers in terms of identifying and funding good practice in the field of reintegration of trafficking victims.
A commonly overlooked group of victims of human trafficking are children who are born from and into trafficking situations. Some children are born to mothers trafficked for sexual exploitation (fathered by a trafficker or client); others are born to trafficked mothers who were bought by a “husband.” These children are exposed, from birth, to the violence and violations that constitute human trafficking and are deprived of basic needs for their physical and mental development. Moreover, they witness the on-going abuse and exploitation of their mothers. They are also exposed to a range of challenges and complications when they leave trafficking and make their way “home” with their mothers. To date, little attention has been paid to these children in research or in programmatic or policy responses. Yet these children face serious challenges, not only while living in exploitative situations, but also after trafficking, when they return “home” and integrate into their mothers’ families, communities and countries. Equally, service providers face a range of constraints in effectively supporting the safety, well-being and long term integration of these children. This paper focuses on the tensions, complications, and challenges that children born of trafficking and their mothers face in the integration process and how these inhibit their successful and sustainable (re)integration. Drawing on interviews with trafficked persons and anti-trafficking professionals from Southeastern Europe (SEE), this article discusses four levels at which integration takes place: 1) in the child’s relations with the trafficked mother; 2) in family relationships; 3) in community interactions; and 4) in the formal society into which they integrate. The article explores challenges as well as possible opportunities for integration of children born of trafficking. An enhanced understanding is needed about the particular challenges that these children and their mothers face after trafficking to effectively and appropriately support the inclusion of these children into their families, communities, and countries and to ensure their access to the rights and opportunities that they are entitled to and which are vital for their healthy development. Greater focus is also needed on children born of trafficking in their own right, in terms of their own specific needs and victim status, rather than being treated as attached or appendices of their trafficked mothers.
Available in Bahasa Indonesian
Overall, there exists a range of laws, policies and programs currently in place in Indonesia aimed at supporting 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. These initiatives and interventions afford often-critical support and services to many trafficked persons toward their recovery and reintegration after trafficking exploitation. Nonetheless, within Indonesia, many 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 because there are some critical challenges in the current response in Indonesia, including that many trafficked persons are unidentified; reintegration is not clearly defined or understood; most assistance is “one-off” support; assistance programs are only short-term; victims face barriers in accessing available services; lack of information about reintegration assistance; lack of reintegration assistance to trafficked men; lack of case management and tailored reintegration support; and an uneven provision of assistance due to decentralization and the geographic distribution of services. This paper is intended as 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.
Available in Bahasa Indonesian
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 receive these services. The Directory covers government and NGO services in Jakarta and seven districts in West Java. The information is provided in simple, comprehensible language and a visually accessible format to ensure comprehension of information across age, language capacity and level of education.
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.
Medición del éxito de las acciones de lucha contra la trata en el ámbito de la justicia penal: ¿quién decide y cómo? (Measuring the success of counter trafficking interventions in the criminal justice sector: Who decides – and how?) (2015)
This chapter in Miradas críticas de la trata de seres humanos: Un dialogo académico en construcción (Critical views on human trafficking: an academic dialogue in construction) considers success measurements with respect to anti-trafficking criminal justice interventions. The authors (Anne Gallagher and Rebecca Surtees) seek to cut through the complexities presented by multiple theories and elaborate methodologies by focusing on one key issue: who decides success, and how? Their review of evaluation reports and interviews with practitioners confirms that determinations of success (or failure) will vary according to: (i) whom one consults and their role in the intervention; (ii) the criteria against which success is measured; and (iii) the assumptions that are built into that criteria. Each aspect is considered with reference to examples and insights drawn from recent practice. A major finding of the chapter is that the lack of an overarching vision of what “success” might look like allows mediocre or even harmful interventions to flourish and good work to go unrecognized and unrewarded. Global concern about human trafficking has prompted substantial investment in counter-trafficking interventions. That investment, and the human rights imperatives that underpin counter-trafficking work, demand that interventions demonstrate accountability, results and beneficial impact. The chapter is in Spanish.
This paper, jointly authored by NEXUS Institute and Fafo, is intended as a resource for practitioners working in the field of trafficking prevention, as well as others who are considering implementing a positive deviance methodology or similar approach. We discuss our experiences in developing and implementing a positive deviance trafficking prevention project in a town in Albania. First we offer an overview of the positive deviance methodology; then we outline potential and previous uses of positive deviance in the trafficking field; next we provide a description of the pilot prevention project in Albania; and finally we explore some overarching issues and considerations in using positive deviance to prevent trafficking, highlighting both potential opportunities and limitations. We end with an annotated bibliography that offers a list of literature and resources on positive deviance methodology generally, as well as specifically in terms of its application in the field of human trafficking.
This study discusses our piloting of a project to prevent human trafficking utilizing the positive deviance approach. For this pilot project, NEXUS Institute and Fafo partnered with the Albanian anti-trafficking NGO Different and Equal (D&E), thereby bringing together both research and practice in collaboratively developing and implementing this project. Our interest in the positive deviance approach emerged from learning about its previous application in the prevention of trafficking of girls into the sex industry in Indonesia. Having conducted research on trafficking in many different countries and regions, one of our general observations over time has been that what works in one context may not be equally successful elsewhere. We were, therefore, interested to see if this approach (positive deviance) could potentially be used more broadly – in this case in another geographical, social and economic environment, as well as adapted to adult trafficking victims and victims of trafficking for labor as well as sexual exploitation.
This report presents the results and impact of the Trafficking Victims Re/integration Programme (TVRP) in the lives of trafficked persons, as well as in the field of reintegration in the Balkans. It provides a detailed analysis of the outcomes and impact of the TVRP, which ran from 2007-2014, based on interviews with trafficking victims, partner NGOs, experts and government officials and other sources of data.
This report summarizes the main findings of the final TVRP evaluation conducted by NEXUS Institute in 2015. It presents the results and impact of the TVRP in the lives of trafficked persons in the Balkans as well as the results and impact of the TVRP in the field of reintegration.
Executive Summary (available in Khmer)
This study discusses the trafficking of men in the fishing industry. It focuses on Cambodian men severely exploited in South African waters. Through extensive interviews, NEXUS reveals the stories of how the men were recruited and transported as well as their trafficking experiences at sea. The study also discusses how these trafficked fishers were (or, more commonly, were not) identified as trafficking victims and what assistance they did (or did not) receive when they escaped and returned home to Cambodia and sought to reintegrate into their families and communities.
Children and youth account for a significant proportion of persons trafficked from and within the Balkan region. Both boys and girls are trafficked. Some are exploited sexually; others are exploited for different forms of labor, including begging and street selling. Still others suffer multiple forms of exploitation while trafficked. Reintegrating trafficked children presents particularly complex issues and challenges. This paper discusses each of the different services and types of support needed to meet the reintegration needs of trafficked children and youth in the Balkan region and in line with international standards. It also looks into challenges facing service providers in offering this support to trafficked children and youth, including: the identification of trafficked children, options for providing foster care, and prosecution of perpetrators due to gaps in the criminal code. This paper offers recommendations about how each service area might be enhanced to better meet the reintegration needs of trafficked children and youth.
Another side of the story. Challenges in research with unidentified and unassisted trafficking victims. In Human Trafficking in Asia (2014)
Research about human trafficking is most often based nearly exclusively on data from victims of trafficking who have been identified and assisted by anti-trafficking organizations . While this approach to research has many strengths and benefits, it also presents an incomplete picture of human trafficking. And, as a result, our understanding of trafficking is necessarily constrained and this has implications for the identification and implementation of solutions to address it. In Another side of the story. Challenges in research with unidentified and unassisted victims, we discuss some of the issues associated with the heavy reliance on assisted victims in trafficking research, as well as possible avenues for sampling unidentified and/or unassisted trafficking victims. We explore how to expand understanding by including trafficked persons who are not identified and/or assisted. In doing so, we address the methodological and ethical issues this involves. Expanding research as recommended here will better serve to respond to the needs of both visible and less visible trafficking victims.
While reintegration services are critically important to the recovery of trafficking victims, these services tend to be under-funded and under-prioritized. This article identifies and explores the significant gap in funding for long term recovery and reintegration of victims of trafficking throughout the Balkans and the deleterious impact that this has in the lives of trafficked persons and their families.
At sea. The trafficking of seafarers and fishers from Ukraine. In Global human trafficking. Critical issues and contexts (2014)
This book chapter explores the issue of trafficking at sea. In this chapter, NEXUS shares the experiences of forty-six trafficked Ukrainian seafarers and fishers. It describes how Ukrainian men were recruited, transported and severely exploited, as well as their experiences of escape from trafficking and their subsequent reintegration into their families and societies. In considering limitations in the identification of and assistance to the trafficked Ukrainian seafarers/fishers, the chapter outlines key challenges in the protection of trafficked seafarers and fishers and intervention needs and opportunities in combating trafficking at sea. While highlighting the specific and unique aspects of the Ukrainian experience, the chapter will also be of interest to those considering forced labor on board seagoing vessels more generally that is occurring around the world.
This paper discusses research on human traffickers (i.e. perpetrators of the crime of human trafficking) and how a clearer picture of how traffickers operate can be used in the development of criminal justice and social welfare responses to human trafficking. This study discusses some of the difficulties or limitations involved in understanding traffickers and trafficking operations through the lens of trafficked persons and their individual trafficking experiences and what that means for the development of policies, strategies and interventions in combating human trafficking.
In this article, NEXUS frames what constitutes trafficking at sea, both in the commercial fishing sector and in the merchant fleet and presents the legal and regulatory framework to combat trafficking at sea – namely, international anti-trafficking law, international maritime law and the international law of the sea. The article considers the “three P paradigm” of anti-trafficking (that is, prevention, protection and prosecution) and how improved policies, regulation, legislation and enforcement have the potential to contribute to an improved situation for seafarers and fishers—to both prevent and combat trafficking in commercial fishing and the merchant fleet.
This paper articulates ethical principles that should guide and underpin reintegration programs and polices in the Balkans. It also explores some of the challenges organizations and institutions face in supporting the reintegration of trafficking victims and different strategies to manage and address such ethical issues. A blog post on ethical principles for reintegration work is available here.
Reintegration is a process that involves many steps after the individual’s exit from trafficking. Trafficked persons should be afforded the full range of rights and protections they are entitled to and which are guaranteed under law. While many trafficked persons interviewed for this study were assisted and supported in these ways; many others went unidentified and unassisted as trafficking victims, which meant not receiving support to aid in their recovery and sustainable reintegration. Still others received some forms of assistance but not the full range of services that they required (and were entitled to) to move on from trafficking experience and successfully reintegrate. Some trafficked persons chose to decline some or all of the support offered to them. This research aims to understand the individual and diverse reintegration experiences of trafficked persons – what was positive, what was less successful and what might be done in the future to either replicate good practices or avoid problematic ones.
Trafficking for forced labor, including trafficking for labor in the merchant shipping and fishing industries, has been increasingly recognized as a major form of human trafficking. Reported cases signal that there are aspects of the commercial fishing and seafaring sectors which may lend themselves particularly to trafficking abuses. This paper explores and discusses the experiences of trafficked Ukrainian seafarers and fishers in order that anti-trafficking policies and programs can take into account their experiences and needs. While the stories of these trafficked Ukrainian seafarers and fishers highlight some unique experiences, many of the issues raised in this report have wider application to incidences of trafficking at sea around the world.
A central feature of successful reintegration is access to a reasonable and sustainable standard of living, along with opportunities for economic empowerment. For many victims the desire to improve their economic situation and that of their families was a key factor in their decision to migrate. This desire does not subside after an individual is exploited in trafficking. For escaped or rescued victims of trafficking and their families, economic issues remain primary concerns after return and over the course of the individual’s reintegration. This paper discusses economic empowerment efforts for trafficking victims in the Balkans, drawing on the first hand experiences of both service providers and trafficked persons. The paper outlines the main economic empowerment models used in working with trafficked persons – namely job placement, micro business and social enterprises – and then discusses the challenges faced in using these models, as well as strategies used to address obstacles.
Given the importance of assistance and protection in the lives of trafficked persons, it is critical that interventions are designed to meet their actual needs at various stages of their post-trafficking recovery. Understanding what these needs are, however, is not straightforward. A comprehensive picture necessitates engaging directly with trafficked persons in the design, implementation and evaluation of assistance interventions. That is, what do trafficking victims themselves see as important and useful assistance in order to be able to recover and move on from their often harrowing experiences? To what extent are these needs being met within the existing assistance system? How could interventions better respond to their different needs, at different stages of the recovery process? These questions are the main focus of this paper. A second area of examination for our report is the broader social and economic context of victims’ needs. This paper is one of three research papers which address a range of issues and challenges in the assistance framework in the Balkan and Former Soviet Union (FSU) region. It is based on fieldwork research conducted in Albania, Serbia and Moldova between 2006 and 2008.
Identification of trafficking victims continues to be one of the greatest challenges in anti-trafficking work. There are many different ways that victims exit trafficking, are identified and come into contact with the anti-trafficking framework and their various assistance options. Nevertheless, many victims go unidentified and are consequently subject to continued exploitation or unable to access the rights afforded them under international conventions. The main goal in this study was to disentangle how the identification of trafficked persons takes place in South Eastern Europe as well as situations in which it does not occur and the reasons for this. The study discusses missed opportunities for identification of trafficking victims, including the very real and personal implications for these trafficked individuals, based on interviews with 43 victims of trafficking and 99 key informants in the anti-trafficking sector. This paper is based on fieldwork research conducted in Albania, Serbia and Moldova between 2006 and 2008 and is one of three research papers, which address a range of issues and challenges in the assistance framework in the Balkan and FSU region.
This abridged report summarizes the main findings and conclusions of the 2007 report Leaving the past behind? When victims of trafficking decline assistance. It explores why some trafficking victims decline assistance and under which circumstances. While many victims are never offered assistance, some trafficked persons who are offered assistance choose to forego the help available to them. Based on this, the main questions for our research were the following: (1) What are the reasons behind these decisions to decline assistance? (2) What happens for victims as a result of declining assistance? (3) Are there reasons for declining that can be addressed so that more victims will also benefit from assistance? The aim of the report is to describe the challenges both service providers and trafficked victims face in their post-trafficking lives, including the interplay between them. It is intended to contribute to a discussion of how assistance for trafficking victims is organized and provide some ideas for what could be done to better meet the needs of the diverse population who fall within the category of trafficking victim.
When trafficking exploitation ends, victims face a new set of challenges as they return and integrate into their home environment. A critical aspect is the victim’s relationship and interaction with the family. Family provides not only emotional and social support, but also (often vital) economic backstopping. Considering and accommodating family dynamics and relationships in reintegration responses has the potential to contribute substantially to more efficient and appropriate assistance and protection. The focus of this report is on family reintegration, but with particular attention to the different relationships within families. Identifying common points of tension can be useful in providing more targeted assistance to victims of trafficking, thereby decreasing the risk of social vulnerability or even re-trafficking. Awareness of potential conflict points in family relationships may provide options for early intervention and also be built into reintegration processes and responses. Further, understanding that post-trafficking relationships may be tense and complicated (at least at some stage and in response to certain triggers) can reduce the stress and disappointment felt by many former trafficking victims after reuniting with their families, when support is not offered in the form they expected or hoped for. This report examines these points of tension and external factors that add extra strain to family relationships, and discusses the implications for assistance to individual victims as well as their family members. The report concludes with concrete and specific recommendations for future program and policy design, which can serve as a basis for further discussion on how to best support the reintegration of trafficked persons. This report is based on fieldwork research conducted in Albania, Serbia and Moldova between 2006 and 2008.
This article presents findings regarding challenges in family reintegration for returning Moldovan trafficking victims based on qualitative interviews with 19 victims of trafficking and 31 service providers, looking specifically at points of tension in reuniting with children and spouses. One main source of conflict is when migration expectations are unrealized; another is stressed behaviors of victims when they return. To avoid being stigmatized and blamed for association with prostitution and failed migration, most victims prefer to keep their trafficking a secret. However, this means that families may not understand or appreciate what they are going through in the post-trafficking stage and misinterpret stress, anxiety and trauma symptoms as aggression and hostility. Further, two additional factors – financial problems and stigma – add extra strain on family relationships. In terms of assistance needs, it is crucial to include a perspective on the family situation when working with trafficking victims.
Global concern about human trafficking has prompted substantial investment in counter-trafficking interventions. That investment, and the human rights imperatives that underpin counter-trafficking work, demand that interventions demonstrate accountability, results and beneficial impact. How this can happen in practice is complicated and contested. This article, which considers success measurements with respect to criminal justice interventions, seeks to cut through the complexities presented by multiple theories and elaborate methodologies by focusing on one key issue: who decides success, and how? A review of evaluation reports and interviews with practitioners confirm that determinations of success (or failure) will vary according to: (i) who one consults and their role in the intervention; (ii) the criteria against which success is measured; and (iii) the assumptions that are built into that criteria. Each aspect is considered with reference to examples and insights drawn from recent practice. A major finding of the article is that the lack of an overarching vision of what ‘success’ might look like allows mediocre or even harmful interventions to flourish and good work to go unrecognized and unrewarded.
Throughout 2010, victim service practitioners and other anti-trafficking responders providing support to victims of human trafficking gathered in a series of National Practitioner Forums in each of the GMS countries (Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam) to discuss existing reintegration assistance systems, lessons learned, successes and challenges. This document summarizes the key findings of these national practitioner forums, drawing out key themes, lessons learned, and common challenges facing victim service agencies in the process of reintegrating trafficked persons. The perspectives contained within this publication are the voices, ideas, feedback, lessons and concerns of the victim service agencies and other anti-trafficking practitioners across the GMS.
Over the past decade, global concern about human trafficking has prompted massive investment into anti-trafficking interventions by intergovernmental organizations, states and civil society. While early interventions took place in a performance evaluation vacuum, there have been growing calls for greater transparency and accountability within the anti-trafficking sector, including through rigorous impact evaluation. Such calls are fully justified. The human rights imperatives that underpin anti- trafficking work and the significant investment of public resources demand that interventions demonstrate accountability, results and beneficial impact. However, in practice this is more complicated and there has been relatively little analysis of the practical issues and challenges that arise in efforts to evaluate anti-trafficking work. In the specialized area of criminal justice responses to trafficking, such analysis is virtually non-existent, despite the increasing attention and resources that are being directed to this aspect of the anti-trafficking response. Impact and effectiveness evaluation in the context of international development is both complicated and contested. Multiple theories and elaborate methodologies abound, and these can present a daunting impediment to those seeking practical guidance on the essential problem of determining “what works”. This paper seeks to cut through some of the complexities by focusing attention on several areas that are directly implicated in measuring anti-trafficking interventions in the criminal justice sector. It is the result of a comprehensive review of relevant literature and recent evaluation reports as well as interviews with key players in the field.
When the TVRP was designed (in 2006) there were very few reintegration programs available to trafficking victims in the Balkan region. Assistance was short term; most victims did not receive longer term support to restore their mental and physical well-being and develop the skills to be economically independent and live in a healthy social environment. In 2010, NEXUS undertook an assessment of the TVRP (Taking stock). This paper summarizes some of the key lessons and results of the assessment including what is reintegration; how long reintegration takes; why reintegration is challenging; and the impact of the TVRP in the lives of trafficked persons.
On 21- 23 March 2011, UNIAP, IOM and NEXUS Institute came together to host a three-day interactive consultation to take stock of the state of counter-trafficking research. The event developed from the increased focus within the anti-trafficking research community on improved and empirically based anti-trafficking strategies and programs. The event also provided a platform for sharing, scrutinizing, and discussing methods and findings of key anti-human trafficking research by bringing together a group of experienced researchers, practitioners, and donors working on anti-trafficking within the Asia region and beyond. The event was divided into two sessions: the first included internal exchanges and discussions among anti-trafficking researchers, while the second involved dialogue between researchers, practitioners and donors. While donors and practitioners were supportive of anti-trafficking research and researchers in principle, all three groups differed in their ideas of research priorities, and answers to questions such as: ten years on, why do we all still lament a dearth of anti-trafficking research? After discussing differing perceptions of what is required to conduct rigorous anti-trafficking research, donors, practitioners, and researchers began discussing areas of consensus on gaps and priorities for anti-trafficking research. In general, all agreed on the importance of ensuring linkages between research and real-world priorities and programs. Specific research priorities, gaps, and needs to be addressed in the future are presented in this report.
It is important to systematically monitor assistance programs, to assess if and how reintegration has been achieved as well as how to more effectively reintegrate trafficking victims. This manual outlines two aspects of monitoring – 1) how to monitor individual reintegration plans and 2) how to monitor reintegration services – and provides a matrix, composed of indicators and the associated means of verification, to measure the outcomes and impact of individual services and, cumulatively, the various stages of reintegration. Monitoring is undertaken from the perspective of reintegration service providers (NGOs, IOs and GOs) as well as program beneficiaries.
This report focuses on approaches to collecting data about human trafficking that underlie a large segment of research produced since the UN Protocol and, in doing so, reveals some of the key reasons that research generally has not provided a clearer path to more effective action for policymakers and practitioners. It examines how current approaches to the collection and use of data about human trafficking, while helpful for certain purposes, fall short of what will be needed to achieve a new generation of higher quality research and analysis capable of helping to produce transformative results in addressing human trafficking. The report outlines challenges that must be understood for research findings to be used effectively and appropriately, centering around the following four themes: (1) A global approach? Data quality and comparability across different terrains; (2) Who is collecting data? The role of researchers and service providers; (3) Being representative? Challenges in obtaining representative samples of trafficking victims; and (4) What questions are asked and why? Assumptions, biases and agendas in trafficking research and data collection. In exploring these topics, the report outlines some of the methodological issues which arise when collecting data about assisted trafficking victims (and their trafficking experiences) through service providers and in the context of anti-trafficking assistance programs. The report draws upon one particular research and data collection approach – the IOM human trafficking database – as a means by which to discuss current data collection and research efforts and, equally, as a lens to draw some lessons and suggestions for stronger future research and data collection initiatives.
Recent discussions of trafficking research have included calls for more innovative studies and new methodologies in order to move beyond the current trafficking narrative, which is often based on unrepresentative samples and overly simplified images. While new methods can potentially play a role in expanding the knowledge base on trafficking, this article argues that the solution is not entirely about applying new methods, but is as much about using current methods to greater effect and with careful attention to their limitations and ethical constraints. Drawing on the authors’ experience in researching trafficking issues in a number of projects over the past decade, the article outlines and exemplifies some of the methodological and ethical issues to be considered and accommodated when conducting research with trafficked persons — including unrepresentative samples; access to respondents; selection biases by “gatekeepers” and self selection by potential respondents. Such considerations should inform not only how research is undertaken but also how this information is read and understood. Moreover, many of these considerations equally apply when considering the application of new methods within this field. The article maintains that a better understanding of how these issues come into play and inform trafficking research will translate into tools for conducting improved research in this field and, by implication, new perspectives on human trafficking.
Domestic violence is a pressing issue in Cambodia. Combating it requires an understanding of the social meanings behind it. As such, policy makers and planners need to start from a careful picture of the cultural terrain upon which this violence is played out. This will equip them to recognize potential points of entry for interventions. This article begins by exploring the relationship between social structures, culture and domestic violence in Cambodia. It then turns to the work of two Cambodian NGOs – Cambodian Women’s Crisis Centre (CWCC) and Project Against Domestic Violence (PADV). Their work is founded on both the cultural terrain of Cambodia, and international human rights standards.
This report examine best practices in activities designed to prevent trafficking in persons (TIP). The purpose of this report is to help improve anti-trafficking in persons programs in terms of effectiveness and impact, thereby reducing the incidence of TIP. This report was commissioned by USAID’s Europe & Eurasia (E&E) Bureau and covers the following countries: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
This handbook is intended for the government institutions responsible for the collection, analysis and presentation of victim-centered data and trafficker-centered criminal justice data. It provides the practical tools needed to collect the two data sets and provides an overview of the victim-centered and the trafficker-centered criminal justice data sets – including the range of information to be collected; standardized methodologies and data collection processes; and common terminology for collecting this information from a wide range of data sources. The handbook also aims to equip national data repositories with some basic skills in the collection, analysis and presentation/dissemination of data sets, in accordance with legal, security and ethical parameters at a national and EU level. The handbook offers guidelines to be adapted at a national level in response to the national context and individual country’s needs.
Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) should enhance the conceptual and practical knowledge of reintegration organizations in ways that improve programs and service delivery. This paper discusses, on the one hand, how monitoring should take place within reintegration programs, including the identification of indicators and development of systems to collect, analyze and mobilize information in on-going work. On the other hand, the paper explores various aspects of evaluation work, including different types of evaluations and different approaches in undertaking evaluations of reintegration programs. Overall the paper makes clear that more attention needs to be given to M&E in reintegration efforts and makes recommendations for strengthening the monitoring and evaluation of anti-trafficking reintegration programs.
Trafficking in women has become a high profile issue during recent years. However, there is still relatively little attention being paid to assistance systems for the victims, more particularly to how assistance is conceptualized and implemented. In this article, the authors argue that there are attitudes and values inherent in many of these systems that are not necessarily conducive to the recovery of trafficking victims. Through an analysis of interviews with institutional representatives in Southeast Europe and victims of trafficking, the authors argue that there is a tendency to pathologize women’s choices to migrate and to enter prostitution as a means of explaining this “deviant” behavior. This, in turn, opens up the use of restrictions for victims of trafficking in the form of limitations in and supervision of communication with people outside the assistance system and also closed shelter facilities. Restrictions may infantilize program beneficiaries and impact their agency and ability to dissent and negotiate within the program framework. Further, they reflect a focus on how these women and their behaviors seemingly need to be corrected to conform to a preconceived idea of a victim of trafficking and a “rehabilitated victim”. To some extent, these beliefs are also adopted by trafficked women and girls who receive assistance.
While many victims of trafficking are never offered assistance, many of those who are offered assistance choose to forgo the help available to them. Why? The starting point for this study was that if women and girls declined assistance because they did not need it, then this was fine. However, if they declined assistance for other reasons but would benefit from some form of help, then the issue needs to be urgently addressed. The research for this report, conducted in three South-Eastern European countries from April to November 2006, aims to contribute to a discussion of how victim protection is organized and what could potentially be done to better meet the needs of the diverse population who fall within the category of ‘trafficking victim’.
While trafficking has become a high profile issue over the past years, there is still relatively little attention being paid to assistance systems for the victims, more particularly to how assistance is conceptualized and implemented. In this article, the authors argue that there are attitudes and values inherent in many of these systems that are not necessarily conducive to the recovery of trafficking victims. Through an analysis of interviews with institutional representatives in South Eastern Europe and victims of trafficking, the authors argue that there is a tendency to pathologize women’s choices to migrate and to enter prostitution as a means of explaining this ‘deviant’ behavior. This, in turn, opens up the use of restrictions for victims of trafficking, in the form of limitations in and supervision of communication with people outside the assistance system and also closed shelter facilities. Restrictions may infantalize program beneficiaries and impact their agency and ability to dissent and negotiate within the program framework. Further, they reflect a focus on how these women and their behaviors seemingly need to be corrected to conform to a preconceived idea of a victim of trafficking and a ‘rehabilitated victim’. To some extent, these beliefs are also adopted by trafficked women and girls who receive assistance.
The central research question presented is how best to provide assistance and support to both victims of trafficking and domestic violence which meets their individual and specific needs while taking into account the limited, and sometimes diminishing, resources available for these services. The study examines the various types of victim-centered services available in the region, those dedicated either to victims of DV or TIP and those where services for the two groups are mixed. Also considered is the extent to which these services are available and accessible to the two target groups. Of particular interest is how and where services may be mixed appropriately and where services should be distinct, as well as where additional services are required to meet the needs of victims of DV or TIP.
This is the power point presentation relating to NEXUS’ study considering service models for victims of trafficking in persons (TIP) and domestic violence (DV), with an emphasis on models in the Europe and Eurasia (E&E) region.
This report offers concrete guidance for countries considering establishing: 1) a National Coordination Mechanism (NCM); 2) a National Action Plan (NAP); and/or 3) a National Rapporteur or equivalent mechanism. These three elements constitute the core coordinating tools used by OSCE participating States to plan, organize and implement measures to combat trafficking in human beings (THB). The analysis within the report provides advice for governments in designing and implementing these key institutional mechanisms for more effectively responding to human trafficking. This is the third Annual Report produced by the OSCE Special Representative and Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings according to the requirements of OSCE Ministerial Council Decision No. 13/05 on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings. (The report was authored by NEXUS Founder, President & CEO Stephen Warnath for the OSCE.)
Reintegration of trafficked persons is a complex process, involving a range of services and interventions over the short and longer term. The standard package of reintegration services does not always or entirely meet the needs of all trafficked persons. Specialized reintegration services are needed for beneficiaries with more complex and “difficult” assistance needs. In some cases, more complex needs are a direct consequence of the trafficking experience – for example, becoming pregnant while trafficked, suffering injuries that require medical care and being severely traumatized as a result of trafficking. In other cases, these factors and characteristics preceded trafficking and may have contributed to the person’s vulnerability to trafficking – for example, persons with dependent family members, persons with disabilities, persons with past experiences of violence and social marginalization and persons with no family/social network. This paper explores “difficult” cases among trafficking victims in South-East Europe (SEE), including the ways in which these more complex needs are (and are not) being met within the existing reintegration framework in SEE and strategies for handling “difficult” cases.
Reintegration refers to the process of recovery and economic and social inclusion following a trafficking experience. This process is not only time consuming and expensive but also intensely complex, impacted by a range of personal factors as well as the broader social, cultural and economic framework. This paper explores issues and obstacles to reintegration identified by both service providers and trafficked persons in South-East Europe. These issues have significant implications for designing effective reintegration approaches in other countries in other regions.
Shelters are the most common form of assistance available to victims of trafficking in many parts of the world. Shelter programs offer a residentially based model, along with a wide range of services offered to clients during their tenure. For many trafficked persons, this form of assistance is vital in their initial stabilization and recovery as well as in their longer term assistance and reintegration. At the same time, the shelter model is not the right solution for many victims of trafficking. There are a number of reasons for this. Some issues are centered around limitations associated with the shelter model itself; the way in which shelter programs are currently designed; and the personal circumstances of some trafficked persons. Based on the experiences of both clients and staff, this paper explores situations in which the shelter model may not always be the best assistance option and considers how some of these issues may be addressed within the framework of residential programs and where non-residential models may better suit the needs of some trafficked persons.
Men are often overlooked in discussions of human trafficking and those who are targeted by trafficking enterprises. Reflecting this bias, trafficking in males has been under-considered in research. This despite noteworthy signals that many males, adult and minors, are subjected to trafficking exploitation. Often these severely exploited male victims, especially in the context of migration, are overlooked, with women and girls identified more commonly as victims of trafficking. This deficiency in identifying and assisting males who have been victims of trafficking exploitation needs to be addressed. “Trafficking in persons” must be understood and addressed as affecting all victims: women and men, adults and minors. In Belarus and Ukraine, male victims accounted for 28.3 per cent and 17.6 per cent of the IOM-assisted caseload respectively between 2004 and 2006. Through the lens of trafficking in males (primarily adult men) from Belarus and Ukraine, this study considers male victims’ pre-trafficking life (namely their personal, family and socio-economic background), trafficking experience (from recruitment, through transportation and during exploitation) and post trafficking experience and needs. The report examines, on the one hand, what is known about this less-considered profile of trafficked persons and, on the other hand, what can be done to meet their needs, both as a means of assistance and protection. The study draws on primary data collected about 685 trafficked males assisted by IOM and its partners, through IOM’s Counter-Trafficking Module Database in Geneva as well as qualitative information from interviews with and case files of assisted men. The research findings should not be read as representative of the full scope of trafficking in either country; they are instead representative of trafficked males who have been identified and received assistance and not male trafficking victims generally.
Many victims of human trafficking are reluctant to self-identify. This research discusses how this can be especially true for men who have been victims of trafficking. And the failure to self-identify exacerbates the shortcomings in current institutionalized responses that are more likely to discover and identify trafficking cases involving females than males. Trafficking in human beings is most commonly associated with trafficking of women or children, especially, for sexual exploitation. Most studies and projects, following this bias, also focus primarily, if not exclusively, on trafficking in women and children. Far less common is a consideration of trafficking in males, particularly adult men. Studies on trafficking of men and targeted anti-trafficking interventions are few and far between. Nevertheless, there are signals in many countries and regions that male migrants are also exploited and violated in ways that constitute human trafficking. This reality raises serious questions about the reason for a focus on women (and children) as well as the implications for practitioners, policymakers and, most importantly, trafficked men.
This paper takes a look at the traffickers and trafficking enterprises. It describes patterns of trafficking from and within South Eastern Europe, with particular attention to traffickers and their activities. To date, research has primarily focused on victims of trafficking — who they are and what makes them vulnerable — in an effort to develop counter-trafficking interventions. To complement these studies of victims, studies of traffickers and their operations are also required. There is a need to address traffickers’ behavior. It will require more effective law enforcement and through legal, social and economic reforms to cause the criminals to reassess the economic benefits of perpetrating this crime. This study draws on data from interviews with trafficked persons to reveal insights about traffickers and trafficking operations to aid in determining the most effective methods of tackling these grave crimes through a strategic use of the criminal justice system and supporting multi-pronged approach.
This paper discusses labor trafficking in South Eastern Europe (SEE). It presents cases of women, men and children exploited for labor purposes and considers their specific recruitment and trafficking experiences. It is intended as a first step in understanding who has been trafficked for labor from and within this region and what are the various risk factors. The paper also considers how counter- trafficking programs can be more responsive and effective
A number victims of trafficking are offered assistance and they decline. With no systematized knowledge on the subject, it has been difficult to understand the reasons behind these decisions to decline assistance, what happened to these women after and as a result of declining assistance, and what paths their lives took after dropping out of contact with the assistance system. Understanding the reasons, experiences and perceptions of person who do not participate in assistance program can play an important role in developing and tailoring anti-trafficking services to meet the needs and desires of as many trafficking victims as possible. This original research determined that reasons for declining assistance center around three main categories: 1) an individual’s personal circumstances at the time of decision-making, 2) factors associated with the specifics of the assistance system itself and 3) the social context.
This study reviews the state of knowledge about the relationship between domestic violence (DV) and trafficking in persons (TIP). Sponsored by USAID, this desk review of the literature covering the countries of the Europe and Eurasia (E&E) region involved: (1) Examining the prevalence of trafficking victims with prior experience of domestic violence; (2) Describing services and supports that are available for victims of trafficking in persons in each country of the E&E region, highlighting those service providers and shelters that serve both populations or only one; and (3) Analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of victim protection programs that assist survivors of both trafficking in persons and domestic violence, exploring types of appropriate victim-centered responses needed to help survivors rebuild their lives, and best practices and lessons learned from domestic violence and trafficking in persons service providers/shelters that do or do not serve both populations.
The voices of victims of trafficking and their stories are powerful. While a number of studies and documents have examined the identification, return and assistance process for trafficked persons, the focus has been primarily on the legal and administrative frameworks in which identification, return and assistance take place. The structure of these standard reports include principles and guidelines in the identification and assistance process, the legislative framework and studies of the assistance framework, including good practices. Far less common have been studies of how victims themselves have perceived and experienced their post-trafficking life and how they value and evaluate this intervention and assistance. This report maps — from the victim’s perspective — the full trajectory of intervention by anti-trafficking actors — from identification, through return and referral and during various phases of assistance and protection. While anti-trafficking interventions are clearly vital in the recovery of trafficked persons, victims reported both positive and negative experiences in these various stages of anti-trafficking interventions. This information from the individuals who are the intended beneficiaries of these interventions is vital for on-going efforts in transnational referral and assistance systems for trafficked persons. The study is based on interviews with 80 trafficked women and men, children and adults from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Moldova, Romania and Serbia.
This handbook is a practical tool to guide the implementation of victim-centered and trafficker-centered databases. This handbook was developed in the context of achieving regional criteria for countries in South East Europe. Part 1 outlines information relevant to this data collection project – particularly the objectives and framework of the work. Part 2 maps out the data collect methodology and relevant legal and ethical issues as well as reporting obligations. The handbook then (in parts 3 and 4) provides step-by-step guidance in terms of each type of database being implemented under the project, including a detailed description of each indicator. Part 5 discusses issues related to data quality and analysis, while part 6 provides resources on data collection as well as information about data collection initiatives in Europe by governments and international organizations. Part 7 provides the practical tools (i.e. MOUs, glossary, consent forms, confidentiality agreement and question templates) for the implementation of data collection according to the developed criteria.
Domestic Violence in Cambodian Marriages. In Gender-Based Violence (2007)
In recent decades, domestic violence has been increasingly recognized as both a social problem and an issue of human rights. In Cambodia, development discourse and programs have increasingly acknowledged the existence and widespread impact of domestic violence in both advocacy and applied interventions. Coming to terms with and addressing this violence is urgent. This, in turn, necessitates a finely tuned understanding of the interplay of social structures, culture and domestic violence. By locating the elements that promote and perpetrate domestic violence, we are better able to understand why and how this violence occurs, as well as how it can be targeted through interventions. In considering the work of two Cambodian NGOs, this chapter aims to identify key elements of successful domestic violence interventions in Cambodia.
Trafficking involving children is not the same as trafficking involving adults. While many aspects are similar, children very often have heightened vulnerabilities to being trafficked and special needs during their reintegration and recovery. And the differentiated needs of children of different ages also must be considered throughout. This article considers all manifestations of trafficking in minors from and within South Eastern Europe, with particular attention to trafficking for labor, begging, delinquency, and adoption. Through a discussion of these forms of trafficking and an exploration of profiles of affected victims, this article identifies trafficking risks and draws a carefully derived picture of factors contributing to trafficking, individual and social sites of vulnerability, and victims’ recruitment and trafficking experiences. In so doing, the article challenges the hegemonic representations of trafficking in the region, which have primarily focused on trafficking of young adult women for sexual exploitation. In addition, this article considers the existing assistance framework in the South East Europe region and how this does (or does not) meet the needs of minors trafficked for these less-considered forms of exploitation. Answers to such queries provide potential windows of policy and programmatic opportunity. The overall objective of this article is to move toward a more accurate understanding of the issue and, perhaps most importantly, more effective policy and programs.
This evaluation was requested by USAID/Albania in the context of developing its multi-year country strategy on anti-trafficking, with particular focus on the two existing anti-trafficking projects commenced in 2003 and coming to a close in 2006. These are: The Albanian Initiative: Coordinated Action Against Human Trafficking (CAAHT), a three-year $4.5million contract with Creative Associates International Inc. (CAII); and Transnational Action against Child Trafficking (TACT), a three-year $1.7million cooperative agreement implemented by the Swiss NGO, Terre des hommes (Tdh) with the support of six donors. The evaluation was comprised of three stages: 1) literature review and fieldwork preparation; 2) fieldwork in-country; and 3) report preparation. The evaluation was not designed as research: thus, the result is an analytical evaluation rather than a precise measure of program impact. As the objective of the evaluation was not to assess the current trafficking situation in Albania, it does not present new findings in terms of how trafficking occurs within and from the country. In terms of USAID/Albania’s anti-trafficking (AT) programs, the main overall program impacts have been (i) the infusion of funds and attention to AT efforts, (ii) the focus on government involvement in AT work at the national and local level, (iii) strengthened civil society on AT and associated issues, and (iv) a highlighted importance of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) on program work. Program impact has been limited, to varying degrees, by aspects of the M&E systems and gaps in strategic coordination among TACT, CAAHT and existing networks.
This assessment outlines the current state of trafficking in the country as well as the various legal, policy and programmatic efforts underway in Sierra Leone that can be mobilized against child trafficking. The assessment finds that child trafficking is an issue of concern in Sierra Leone – as a source country both for internal trafficking as well as trafficking abroad. Child trafficking victims were both male and female of varying ages. Trafficking occurs for a range of different purposes including sexual exploitation (prostitution, marriage), labor (domestic work, mining, fishing, trading and vending, agriculture), begging and petty crime, adoption and into the fighting forces. While the assessment primarily considered child trafficking, it was noted that adults were also trafficked from and within the country. This report finds that 1) there have not been programs to prevent child trafficking and 2) the current child protection structure is not sufficient to accommodate the specific and special needs of trafficked minors. Also discussed are the gaps and issues to be considered in on-going counter-trafficking efforts.
Rape & Sexual Transgression in Cambodian Society. In Violence Against Women in Asian Societies: Gender Inequality and Technologies of Violence (2002)
Both domestic violence and trafficking in women have gained increased attention of the international community in recent years, forming a significant subject in development and public discourse. Rape is an equally compelling manifestation of violence perpetrated against women. However, in Cambodia, where NGO research and interventions have responded to domestic violence and trafficking (and despite widespread assertions in the NGO community that rape represents a pervasive threat in the lives of Cambodian women), research and interventions on rape have been conspicuous in their absence. A closer look at the complexity of sexuality and forced sexual relations allows us to ascertain why rape has been avoided by programmatic interventions.