Law and Policy

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.


Legal and Ethical Issues in Data Collection on Trafficking in Persons (2019)

Available as a compressed pdf for mobile or slower Internet connection


Executive Summary

Data collection on trafficking in persons (TIP) is an important part of anti-trafficking efforts, including for protection, prosecution and prevention purposes. There has been increased emphasis on gathering TIP data in recent years and, commensurately, growing awareness of the legal and ethical considerations associated with doing so. There are many legal and ethical complexities at play in how anti-trafficking researchers and professionals undertake TIP data collection. The legal and ethical frameworks relevant to TIP data collection differ by country, context and project and may also be informed by a range of other factors, including the type of data being collected, who is collecting data, where data collection takes place, who is funding data collection, whether data collection involves a group requiring special consideration, whether there are emerging issues affecting the existing legal and ethical framework and so on. This study explores the legal and ethical issues that arise when conducting TIP data collection, including the intersections and, at times, the tensions between the two. It examines legal and ethical issues in the context of traditional types of data collection, as well as emerging forms of TIP data collection. This study draws on concrete examples and experiences of those working in the field of TIP data collection from different countries globally to identify what issues and problems may arise, how these may be addressed, as well as the complex on-going discussion and debate around these issues, which remain largely unresolved. The intention of this study is to encourage discussion around these complicated issues, while acknowledging the grey zones in ethical and legal assessments of how TIP data is and should be collected and protected. This publication is intended for anti-trafficking actors engaged in TIP data collection across its varying forms and from different approaches, particularly prosecution and protection.


Human Trafficking Law and PolicyHuman Trafficking Law and Policy (2014)

This casebook is co-authored by Bridgette Carr, Anne Milgram, Kathleen C. Kim, and Stephen Warnath, Chief Executive Officer of the Warnath Group and Founder, President, and CEO of the NEXUS Institute. It brings together the key case law, legislation and scholarship that comprise domestic and international human trafficking law and its policy context. The casebook contains the criminal justice, civil rights, international law, immigration, and supply chain transparency and federal contracting regulatory environment that frame human trafficking law and policy. For the first time, law professors and other teachers have a book that provides the framework and content for a full semester course. The book’s “notes and questions” included with each chapter assist professors to lead thought-provoking and lively in-class discussions. Human Trafficking Law and Policy will be of interest to both experienced attorneys and the next generation of lawyers alike looking for an introduction to understanding and addressing modern slavery.


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Trapped at Sea. Using the Legal and Regulatory Framework to Prevent and Combat the Trafficking of Seafarers and Fishers (2013)

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.


Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 2.48.32 PMMeasuring the success of anti-trafficking interventions in the criminal justice sector. Who decides and how? (2012)

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.


Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 7.21.58 PMAssessing the impact and effectiveness of anti-trafficking interventions in the criminal justice sector: a discussion paper on issues, obstacles and opportunities (2011)

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.


Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 8.29.42 PMBest Practices in Trafficking Prevention in Europe and Eurasia (2009)

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.


Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 9.35.33 PMTraffickers and Trafficking in Southern and Eastern Europe: Considering the Other Side of Human Trafficking (2008)

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.