As we mark International Human Rights Day, EnCompass is pleased to share this article from the USAID Center for Excellence in Democracy, Rights, and Governance (DRG Center) newsletter. EnCompass leads the USAID Generating Results within Our Work (GROW) activity, which supports the DRG Center through training, coaching, knowledge management, and other activities.
On October 29 and 30, the DRG Center hosted the 2019 USAID Counter-Trafficking in Persons (C-TIP) Evidence Summit. More than 85 researchers, experts, and practitioners gathered to share information about anti-trafficking data and efforts and discuss applications for field programming and policy.
Three key messages emerged during the two-day summit:
- Increased communication between stakeholders (e.g., implementers, researchers, and government officials) is crucial to the success of C-TIP efforts.
- Participants suggested prioritizing actionable data collection and research that supports C-TIP efforts on the ground.
- C-TIP research and activities need to work more explicitly to address hidden populations and possible research gaps.
Dr. Ludy Green, the Agency Lead on Counter-Trafficking, provided welcome remarks to participants, who were coming from U.S. government agencies, international organizations, non-profits, and the private sector. The first several sessions included presentations on tools, resources, and approaches in counter-trafficking-those already in use and those still needed. Facilitated group discussions offered participants the chance to learn from and collaborate with each other on these tools and prompted plans for future discussions.
One important question that arose during the first day addressed the relationship between vulnerability and resilience. Participants agreed that one was not simply the inverse of another, and a vulnerability index could illuminate the relationship further. Reflecting on this discussion, Dr. Jacqueline Ogega of World Vision shared that she plans to apply the frameworks on measuring impact to reduce vulnerability and increase resilience in her work.
Dr. Kim Norris of EnCompass LLC expounded on this point, stating “I found the discussion around a systems approach to using big data to develop a human trafficking vulnerability index useful and compelling for our C-TIP evaluation work with the Department of State.”
At the close of the first day, Alexandre Bish of The Global Initiative Against Transnational Crime and Jocelyn Kelley of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative spoke on the ethics of researching human trafficking. They shared their experiences in a discussion moderated by Harry Cook of the International Organization for Migration.
DRG Center Deputy Director, Donald Chisholm, opened the second day, and then turned the stage over to Alexandre and the DRG Center’s Senior Human Rights Advisor, Nichole Graber, for a “fireside chat” on the Global Initiative’s research into human smuggling and trafficking patterns in the Sahel and North Africa. Along with the other sessions that morning — including a presentation by a co-author of the 2018 Global Slavery Index, Davina Durgana, on findings and methodologies of that report — this topic gave rise to questions about hidden populations and research gaps in human trafficking data.
Other conversations during day two addressed data collection tools in human trafficking research, including surveys. Summit participants agreed that there is a need to prioritize research that can be used “on the ground” to assist in counter-trafficking efforts.
At the end of day two, after a group activity aimed at generating next steps for counter-trafficking efforts and research, DRG Center Director Tim Meisburger and Senior Human Rights and Inclusion Advisor Ajit Joshi closed the summit by thanking the speakers and participants. Multiple experts and many important organizations were represented at the summit, and participants left with a richer understanding of the way forward.
Nichole captured the essence of the summit in these remarks: “As one of the organizers for the USAID’s C-TIP Evidence Summit, I was impressed to hear how much research and great data is being collected around trafficking in persons and vulnerabilities of victims and potential victims of trafficking. Despite the variant methodologies, there are some concurrent themes of where and how USAID and other donors and implementing partners should be focusing their limited C-TIP resources, and this fantastic group of researchers and academics can help guide the way for that.”
Photos from the event are available at this link. The C-TIP Summit was organized with support from the USAID Generate Results within Our Work (GROW) activity.
Photo c/o Kristen Dayton. All rights reserved.