Anti-Trafficking Awareness: Where to Begin?
Every January, Anti-Trafficking Awareness month presents an opportunity to reflect on progress and the work that lies ahead in combating human trafficking. Human trafficking is a crime that affects victims of all ages, ethnicities, genders, and countries of origin. In 2019, trafficking in persons is still all too common, necessitating evidence-based action.
At EnCompass, our work supports research and capacity strengthening toward ending human trafficking. We asked our team members who work most closely with this issue to tell us about the resources they use in their work. We offer this collection, along with staff reflections, as a starting point for those seeking more information about our shared efforts to keep people safe and end human trafficking.
EnCompass is among 18 organizations that endorsed the outcomes and recommendations of the 2018 Gender 360 Summit, which reflect a collective priority to support positive youth development. Lyn Messner recommends this resource as a tool for integrating inclusive thinking in a variety of programs.
“The recommendations include ensuring laws and regulations are in place to protect young people of diverse gender identities from different forms of gender-based violence, abuse, and exploitation, including human trafficking, sex and labor trafficking, and other forms of sexual exploitation. This work requires strong, well-defined prevention and response strategies in all economic development, entrepreneurship, and workforce development programs. EnCompass designed and co-facilitated the session where the recommendations were developed with FHI 360 and other sponsors of the summit.”
—Lyn Messner, Director of Gender and Inclusive Development
Each year, UNODC updates this comprehensive overview of trafficking patterns and flows, using the data collected it collects in its role as guardian of the United Nations’ trafficking in persons protocol. Ghazia Aslam recommends this report as a “significant (and rare) resource for highlighting and understanding human trafficking in armed conflict.”
“Trafficking in armed conflict is not only more prevalent, but has taken on horrific dimensions, including child soldiers, forced labor, and sexual slavery. In addition to the information from UN reports, academic literature, and case material from international tribunals, interviews with relevant personnel from peacekeeping operations and other practitioners working in conflict zone provide an authentic picture of trafficking in conflict zones.”
—Ghazia Aslam, Senior Evaluation Specialist
U.S. Government Resources on Trafficking in Persons
Our teams working with clients in the U.S. government particularly value three documents guiding policy and practice to counter human trafficking:
The U.S. State Department 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report is an important resource guiding U.S. government engagement with other governments in conversations about human trafficking reforms. Our staff who work with the State Department and USAID find it essential reference for their work:
“In our work for the U.S. State Department TIP Office to reduce trafficking in persons in Asia, South America and the Caribbean, we find this resource to be invaluable. It provides well-researched, up-to-date information about each country’s trafficking issues, progress they have made to combat trafficking, and additional areas in need of improvement. Each country’s progress is laid out in relation to three key areas used to combat trafficking: prosecution of perpetrators, protection of survivors, and prevention of future TIP crimes.”
—Kim Norris, Senior Evaluation Specialist
“I work with my team at EnCompass to support USAID’s Office of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment’s community of practice in a variety of ways; last month we held a virtual session focusing on counter-trafficking. A key resource distributed and discussed was the State Department’s Trafficking in Persons report; this resource is used worldwide by NGOs, international organizations, and other groups as a way to understand where resources are most needed to combat trafficking.”
—Abie Spangler, Gender Integration Specialist
The USAID Counter-Trafficking in Persons Policy, released in 2012, is still relevant for its integration of trafficking issues with some of the core principles of inclusive development:
"When I worked at an NGO with victims and survivors of human trafficking, particularly commercial sexual exploitation, most trafficked children would go unidentified for years before seeking our response services. During that time, they were vulnerable to further victimization and sometimes punished by law enforcement for acts committed as a direct result of their having been trafficked. Since they often remain in the informal sector as undocumented, unregistered individuals, they are unable to access protection and assistance services. In addition, both men and boys are overlooked as victims and survivors of trafficking due to common misconceptions that human trafficking only affects women and girls. The USAID Counter-Trafficking in Persons Policy and accompanying field guide contributed to combatting preconceived notions of trafficking victims and survivors, increased the awareness of service providers by suggesting strategic awareness-raising activities and indicators, and enhanced policies that mitigate key risk factors.”
—Priya Dhanani, Gender Equality & GBV Specialist
“I remember a lot of attention to this policy when I was at USAID, and the gender champions reviewed it to ensure that it integrated attention to gender issues.”
—Diana Santillán, Senior Gender and Evaluation Specialist
“This resource outlines ways in which the U.S. government works to prevent and respond to human trafficking. Attention and resources have been dedicated to preventing and responding to human trafficking, but more is needed. EnCompass’ work supports USAID to implement this strategy by developing toolkits and by designing and delivering training to help headquarters and field staff to use these toolkits and build their knowledge, skills, and capacity in gender-based violence prevention and response."
—Lyn Messner, Director of Gender and Inclusive Development
The Freedom Collaborative website is an online community for individuals and groups working to end human trafficking. Our staff find this to be a useful source of news and connection with other practitioners.
“I have found their weekly newsfeed to be extremely helpful in staying up to date on the most recent developments in anti-trafficking around the world. It also allows NGOs, research institutions, governments, or anyone else working in the anti-trafficking space to connect and share resources, webinars, and publications.
—Kelsey Simmons, Evaluation Specialist II
These are just a few of the anti-trafficking resources EnCompass teams use in their work, and we encourage you to share your own information sources in the comments below, or by tweeting us @EnCompass_World.
For even more information and ways to report suspected human trafficking activity:
10 Ways You Can Help End Trafficking (a Department of Health and Human Services website)