May 2021 – The NEXUS Institute and Regional Support Office of the Bali Process (RSO) have just published a Practitioner Guide Series on trafficking victim protection to support the work of anti-trafficking practitioners in Asia. The series provides easy access to high quality research and guidance on different aspects of victim protection that practitioners can use in their daily work. The Practitioner Guides focus on: trafficking victim identification, trafficking victim protection and support, recovery and reintegration of trafficking victims, and special and additional measures for child trafficking victims.
Each Practitioner Guide identifies, distills and presents existing evidence in a succinct and accessible format to help practitioners better understand key issues and challenges and to serve as a resource for their work and on-going learning. The series also provides practical guidance for practitioners to operationalize in their work. The guides draw on and share the real life knowledge and experiences of trafficking victims and practitioners.
The guides are user-friendly, with content presented in an accessible and visual format. They includes notepads and mini-exercises for practitioners and can be used as a workbook for training and capacity building.
As a series, these practitioner guides offer a comprehensive and holistic overview of key issues and challenges in the protection of adult and child trafficking victims.
Each practitioner guide includes:
Introduction (what it is, who it is for, how to use it)
Legal obligations (international and regional)
Explanation of key concepts (what is identification, protection, reintegration, special measures for children)
Issues and challenges faced (by practitioners and trafficking victims)
Guidance for practitioners to address issues and challenges
The target audience is practitioners working on the protection of adult and child trafficking victims in Bali Process Member States, including social workers and social assistants, healthcare practitioners, psychologists and counselors, child protection specialists, law enforcement, lawyers and paralegals, teachers and school administrators, vocational trainers, job counselors and business experts and public administrators. The guides may also be used by policymakers tasked with improving practice and procedures in the protection of trafficking victims.
The Practitioner Guides were drafted by NEXUS Institute with support from RSO. The guides were also reviewed and validated by expert practitioners from six Bali Process Member States (Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam) at a Practitioner Roundtable discussion in April 2021.
Victim identification is the process by which an individual is identified as a trafficking victim, which, in turn, entitles them to rights and protections. While formal identification should lead to and facilitate the opportunity for a victim to be referred for assistance, this does not always occur in practice. Some trafficking victims are not identified and assisted by frontline responders and practitioners. Other victims decline to be identified and assisted. Still other victims may be formally identified but not referred for assistance or may be forced to accept assistance. This practitioner guide reviews existing research on victim identification (and non-identification), touching on why some victims are (and are not) identified, challenges in the identification process and practices that may enhance victim identification.
Victims of trafficking are entitled to, and should receive, immediate protection from their exploiters and from the possibility of further harm, including the risk of re-trafficking. They should receive support to meet their immediate needs and ensure their well-being, irrespective of their willingness to participate in criminal justice procedures, protection from detention and prosecution and the right to privacy. This practitioner guide reviews existing research on the protection and support of trafficking victims in Asia, both in terms of what exists and what challenges arise in the provision of protection and support.
Recovery and reintegration is a complex and costly undertaking, often requiring a full and diverse set of services for victims (and sometimes their families), who themselves have widely differing short- and long-term physical, psychological, social and economic needs. Once the immediate needs of trafficked persons have been met, many victims require further assistance to reintegrate into their families and communities (e.g. vocational training, economic support, long-term access to healthcare, counseling, education, family mediation). Some assistance needs are a consequence of trafficking while others may be linked to vulnerabilities that existed before victims were trafficked as well as issues that have arisen in victims’ lives after trafficking. Because successful reintegration can take years to achieve, reintegration services must be available in the long-term and include follow-up and case management. This practitioner guide reviews and synthesizes existing research on recovery and reintegration of trafficking victims including barriers and challenges in the reintegration process as well as opportunities and entry points for supporting sustainable reintegration.
The ASEAN Trafficking Convention (ACTIP) explicitly recognizes that child victims have special needs and that appropriate measures are needed to ensure the safety and well-being of child victims, from identification to the securing of a durable solution involving longer-term support. Care and protection must be made available on an equal and non-discriminatory basis with no distinction between child nationals and child non-nationals. Special attention should be paid to assessing and meeting the requirements of children with special needs such as the very young, those with disabilities and those who have suffered severe exploitation and abuse. This practitioner guide reviews existing research on the specific needs and experiences of trafficked children as well as measures in place and challenges faced to protect them. Based on this analysis, practitioners will be guided to a deeper understanding of how to more effectively address the critical issues that arise in implementing special and additional measures for trafficked children.