Human Trafficking: Addressing Modern Day Slavery

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Human Trafficking: Addressing Modern Day Slavery

New Tactics featured a dialogue on "Human trafficking: Addressing modern day slavery" from February 25 to March 3, 2009. This is an opportunity to share tactics and methods that are having some impact and success on the issue of human trafficking as well as discuss alternative and creative strategies that could be applied locally and globally. Join us to share your challenges, critiques and explore together practices and methodologies regarding efforts to combat trafficking and deal with the individual, family and community aftermath of such trauma. See more information about the Featured Resource Practitioners and join them in the conversation!

Summary of dialogue

In the dialogue "Human trafficking: Addressing modern day slavery" participants discussed the global phenomenon of human trafficking: concept of trafficking reasons and facilitating factors, mechanisms related to trafficking, and strategies to combat this problem locally and internationally.

What is human trafficking?

Human trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.

Every year millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide what is equal to slavery. Traffickers exploit victims and suppress their freedom with ultimate intent selling them in the trafficking market for profit. Human trafficking is commonly known as modern-day slavery.

The complexity of human trafficking requires an integrated approach and co-operation of different stakeholders: law enforcement institutions, government agencies, non-profit and religious organizations, media, community leaders, and victims of trafficking.  The integrated and coordinated approach combating human trafficking includes: prevention, prosecution, provision of a direct assistance to victims, and intervention practices.

Direct assistance practices

Providing multi-lateral assistance to trafficking victims requires dedicated support and comprehensive care to succeed in rehabilitation and social-reintegration of such people who have escaped from this illegal trade.

Considering the very complex nature of human trafficking and how it affects victims (health and psychological problems, security issues – lack of save housing, legal complications, social exclusion etc.), the absolute requirement to install a wide and diverse range of healing methods to deal more effectively with problems victims face, was pointed out.

In addition to rehabilitation and reintegration services, appropriate housing, physical and social security of victims must be ensured throughout the period of rehabilitation.  This is especially true in the initial stages when victims are rescued because case studies suggest that traffickers will try to regain control over victims. Obviously, less trafficked victims means less income for traffickers.

Assistance programs in Belgrade and Ukraine provide good examples of comprehensive and holistic rehabilitation and reintegration processes for directly addressing the needs of victims of trafficking.

Prevention practices

In addition to providing assistance to victims of trafficking, it’s crucial to have a strong focus on prevention, especially in vulnerable communities. Participants in the dialogue stressed the need not only to promote awareness about trafficking, its forms and consequences, but also to equip and economically empower different target groups (women, youth, men) - a multi pronged approach, that is sustainable and aimed at stabilizing vulnerable people in their countries of origin. Prevention activities at the grassroots level are particularly needed in the communities where trafficking occurs.

Prevention tactics discussed in this dialogue included: the use of technologies, hotlines, initiatives of religious communities and involving the media.  In today’s world, mass media is very powerful and also can be very useful tool in prevention. However, it can also cause problems in the efforts of combating human trafficking.  Media tends to be sensational and not constructive what might endanger a victim by providing publicly personal details. For this reason, group trainings for different stakeholders including journalists are a very important part of prevention activities.

Intervention practices

An important discussion topic was the need for secure areas to accommodate rescued victims and the duties these centers need to meet. Participants believed that centers needed to provide a secure environment as well as holistic treatment without being too restricting. Interventions such as border monitoring or international tracking websites were given as useful tools.

Participants also discussed the importance of cooperation between law enforcement officials and non-governmental organizations.  As these two groups share the same aim, they discussed ways how they can help each other, and possible obstacles they need to overcome for continuing successful cooperation.


Training manuals:


Other resources:

Photo information

WORK ABROAD. Seeking young women. All travel expenses paid. No experience required. [Small poster text] A man offered Maria a job as a waitress in Johannesburg. Eager to earn some money, she agreed to travel with him from her home country to South Africa. But when Maria arrived in Johannesburg, there was no waitressing job. Instead, the man beat her and forced her to work as a prostitute. Every year, thousands of young women in Africa fall into this trap. BEWARE! Attractive offers of employment, education or marriage in a foreign country could be FALSE! (Photo of poster by mvcorks.)


Please share resources that you have found helpful in your work, for example:

  • Self care methods to maintain personal health and balance
  • Training resources
  • Education resources
  • Links to networks and sites for collaboration
  • Other resources that you think others would find useful for addressing human trafficking
Rebuilding Lives

Rebuilding Lives is a substantial 105 page training and resource document written by Helen C. Armstrong and published by Free the Slaves. Its subtitle is: An Introduction to Promising Practices in the rehabilitioan of Freed Slaves. I purchased it to study so I can be more useful in my volunteer work in this area.   Here are some of the chapter titles: Protection of Clients, A Safe Place To Stay, Physical Health,  Psychosocial Care, Activities that Calm and Heal, Help From Lawyers, Schooling and Training.  And several more.  You can learn more here:

It is as relevant to those freed from prostitution as it is from those freed from carpet making.  Diane

Training resources/links to networks/self care

I see training resources/networks and self care all interlinked. I have been involved with Viva ( in developing and pilotting a training program for practitioners called 'Celebrating Children' ( which is primarily for faith-based organizations but can also be accessed by others. It covers everything from trying to understand the context of the child, child participation, risk & resilience, child protection, evaluation & monitoring of programmes and caring for yourself & others. The course encourages networks of NGOs to take responsibility for doing their own training by those in the community rather than relying primarily on outside 'experts' which makes it more sustainable. Many of these kind of programs with children fail quickly if people feel unsupported or untrained or what they are doing isn't evaluated. I will let World Hope tell you about the excellent two level 'Hands that Heal' curriculum which trains caregivers of survivors of trafficking survivors. My colleague Dr. Gundelina Velazcos ( in Love146 ( also does training for Aftercare workers at a basic level of one or two weeks for networks but has also done a more substantial research training for managers of Aftercare Facilities. The latter is currently on hold but there are hopes that it will be conducted again in 2010.  

UN Toolkit to Combat Trafficking in Persons

The Anti-Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Unit of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has published a Toolkit to Combat Trafficking in Persons. The Toolkit provides useful definitions and legal framework, promising practices and recommended resources. The Toolkit can be useful to inspire and assist policymakers, police and law enforcers, judges, prosecutors, victim service providers and members of civil society to gain better awareness and the need for interconnecting these various spheres towards the common objective of stopping human trafficking. To download the Toolkit use this link:

Nancy Pearson, New Tactics in Human Rights Program Manager

The Face of Slavery - short video from Cambodia

This short video The Face of Slavery, produced by Kassie Bracken, is posted on the New York Times website. Nicholas D. Kristof captures in just over 5 minutes the tragic and compeling story of Long Pross, a young woman who was forced into sexual slavery. It also highlights the need for direct assistance to victims and the long term emotional and physical impact of the trauma of trafficking.

I'm interested to know if other video resources are available for both public awareness building but that are also excellent for victim assistance.  

Nancy Pearson, New Tactics in Human Rights Program Manager

Documentaries, etc.

Yes, there are quite a few documentaries out there now. Seems there's always a new one coming out. The Face of Slavery is not one of my particular favorites, and I think there are some better ones, depending on what kind of information one is looking for, and about what country, etc.

Some suggested ones are:

Love146 puts out a good list - you can download it at as does Polaris Project.


Tania DoCarmo

U.S. Director of Development, Chab Dai USA

Christians working together to end sexual abuse and trafficking.

Great film resources


Thanks so much for sharing all these great film resources and especially for letting us know a bit about the focus of each film.

Here is the direct link to the Film Listings PDF document from Love146 that provides brief summary information about 25 films.

Here is the link to the resources page of the Polaris Project that was mentioned. This is an excellent listing of books, documentary films and dramatic films.

Very helpful - thank you for pointing us in these directions!

Nancy Pearson, New Tactics in Human Rights Program Manager

Other films

Hello.  Thank you for all the great resource ideas. 

Just two more to add to the list - I have only seen the first one but the second is on my list: 

"Dreams Die Hard"  and  "Not for Sale

Beatriz Menanteau, The Advocates for Human Rights


Video resources...

STOP THE TRAFFIK have a number of video resources available for free download. They are mainly used awareness raising activities / as a way to inspire people into action etc. For information, we hosted a lecture given by Cherie Booth QC (human rights lawyer) and Antonio Maria Costa - this is also available for free download and talks about women's rights and how gender imbalances globally are a root cause of trafficking. Costa also says 'it doesn't matter whether you're in a bikini or burkha women are objectified' which I think is excellent!


Video resources...

STOP THE TRAFFIK have a number of video resources available for free download ( They are mainly used awareness raising activities / as a way to inspire people into action etc. For information, we hosted a lecture given by Cherie Booth QC (human rights lawyer) and Antonio Maria Costa - this is also available for free download and talks about women's rights and how gender imbalances globally are a root cause of trafficking. Costa also says 'it doesn't matter whether you're in a bikini or burkha women are objectified' which I think is excellent! (


Chab Dai Coalition Cambodia and Chab Dai USA are committed to raising the standard of response and care to trafficking through the distribution of resources and research. Our Cambodia office, which is where our international HQ is based, currently houses a resource library of over 2,000 resources divided into 60 categories ALL pertaining to TIP and CSE. (Categories include everything from: advocacy, prevention, violence, drug use, alternative care, boys issues, family/parenting, pornography, poverty, Cambodia specific trafficking, border issues ... and the list goes on).

Developing the resource library has been a tremendous amount of work, but UN agencies such as UNICEF and IOM are now saying that our office most likely has one of the most comprehensive libraries on TIP in the region. THAT to say - that something as simple as putting resources (most of which were all downloaded off of the internet) together in a library has helped our member organizations to have the opportunity and find the information they want/need all in one spot.

We hope to eventually put this all on the Internet as well -

One recommended online site that I would recommend is - it has a lot of stuff to download on everything from aftercare practices, to international development, migration, laws, and repatriation.

What have been the experiences of others who have resource libraries?


Tania DoCarmo

U.S. Director of Development, Chab Dai USA

Christians working together to end sexual abuse and trafficking.

Resource for business travellers

A number of years ago, someone from STOP THE TRAFFIK was in the business district of Bangkok. With increasing horror he noticed that inbetween posh hotels, young children and women were up for sale and being targeted at business travellers.

There are hundreds of thousands of people on business trips (stag-dos / hen parties etc) worldwide who see things they shouldn't. Who see things they should report. But in a foreign country, with the possibility of corrupt police forces taking back-handers, who do you tell? 

To try and fill this information void, Phil Lane (STOP THE TRAFFIK Belgium) set up a website resource called Business Travellers against Trafficking. It is an anonymous website where people report what they see. This information is then passed from STOP THE TRAFFIK to the right people (from Interpol to NGOs to local police). 

Examples of this resources success range from a tip-off about a women trafficked to Istanbul and forced into prostitution  to actually getting an NGO to an airport in time to stop a girl getting on a plane with a known  trafficker. Information is coming in with increasing frequency which is fantastic

If you think you could promote the website among anyone and everyone or distribute the business travellers business cards, please let me know and I will organise some to be sent to you (  

Wishing everybody a fantastic weekendVictoria


IOM Counter Trafficking Database

I am interested to learn more about the standardized CT
data-management tool developed by IOM. Is this database open for others to utilize and also contribute to? How does this system "map" the victims of experience. I am especially interested in this mapping idea as the New Tactics project also using a "tactical mapping" tool.

This is the information that I read on the IOM website:

..."the Counter-Trafficking Module (CTM), is
the largest global database with primary data on VoTs.

CTM facilitates the management of the whole IOM direct assistance,
movement and reintegration process through a centrally managed system
as well as mapping the victim's trafficking experience. In return, it
strengthens the research capacity and understanding of the causes,
processes, trends and consequences of trafficking. It serves as a
knowledge bank, from which statistics and detailed reports can be
drawn, informing research, programme development and policy making on
counter trafficking.

Please contact for more detailed information."

Nancy Pearson, New Tactics in Human Rights Program Manager

Special Group on Human Trafficking in New Tactics Website


Good morning! 

In two days, this online discussion will be over. But in such a short time I learned so much from the very dynamic, interactive, and critical discussion of the group. I am just wondering how else we could continue to connect and forge collaborative interaction beyond the online discussion. Would people be willing, of course with the approval and help of CVT, to form a special group on human trafficking here at the New Tactics Website? We could utilize the space to share resources, provide technical expertise, and request and give feedback.

On my personal files here at New Tactics, I have uploaded two papers I wrote. The first one is entitled "Access to Justice: A Prosecution or a Persecution Process for Filipino Trafficked Persons?" The second paper is "Forensic Videotape Interview of Trafficked Minors: Whose Interest is Best Served?"  Feel free to view them. I welcome comments and feedback. 

Amy A. Avellano

Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow 2008

University of Minnesota Law School

Minneapolis, USA 


Article about Swedish law - criminalising those who pay for sex

I wanted to share a very interesting article that I received through the WUNRN newsletters (


An evaluation of Swedish law shows that criminalising the purchase, but not the sale, of sex, has been a great success. A new report backs the effectiveness of a Swedish law that criminalises those who pay for or attempt to pay for sex. [For the full article, please use this link:

The article discusses "a comprehensive evaluation of the Swedish law, conducted by an independent commission appointed by the government, and led by the chancellor of justice (the highest legal officer in Sweden) shows that legislation criminalising demand has been a resounding success. The evaluation concludes that, since the law came in to force in 1999, the number of women involved in street prostitution has halved, whereas neighbouring countries such as Denmark and Norway have seen a sharp rise; that there is no evidence of an increase in off-street prostitution; and that, despite a significant increase in prostitution in the neighbouring countries during the past 10 years, there is no evidence of a similar increase in Sweden.

Advertising of prostitution through the internet has increased in Sweden, as it has in other countries. This is not due to the law, the evaluation concludes, but to the development of online technology generally. Again, there is far more web advertising in neighbouring countries. The commission looked at abuse and coercion in the industry and found that, contrary to the opinion of Schaffauser and others, criminalising buyers does not lead women to pimps.

The commission, which took evidence from women currently in prostitution, those who had left the sex trade, police, social workers and other key stakeholders, also found that the law functioned as a barrier against the establishment of traffickers and pimps in Sweden, and had led to a reduction in organised crime.

The law has strong public support among the public in Sweden, has led to a significant positive change in attitudes, and acts as a deterrent for potential buyers. A 2008 study found that only 8% of Swedish men had paid for sex, compared with 13.6% before the law came into force.

Despite misgivings that the law would result in prostitution going underground, no evidence whatsoever was uncovered during the evaluation to substantiate this. Police and prosecutors, many of whom were resistant to the law in the early days, confirm that it has been good for the country and has reduced criminal activity. Importantly, because those selling sexual services were decriminalised at the same time as buyers were criminalised, it has proved easier for the women to leave the sex trade and seek the support available from projects."

Guidelines for Collection of Data on Trafficking in Human Beings

Hello all - just wanted to share this new resources developed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM): Guidelines for the Collection of Data on Trafficking in Human Beings Including Comparable Indicators

Without statistics, it is not only impossible to measure the magnitude of human trafficking, it is alsodifficult to foresee the appropriate policies, operational and legislative responses and efficient implementation of initiatives. Insufficient data and a lack of comparable analyses that are reliable and up-to-date hamper the efforts of almost every agency dealing with trafficking, its victims and perpetrators. Such a challenge contravenes the efforts of policy-makers and other practitioners to respond effectively in assisting and protecting victims, preventing and combating trafficking and monitoring and verifying the implementation of national laws, international protocols and conventions. A serious effort in fighting human trafficking at the European Union level requires a clear understanding of current trends with regards to victims, traffickers, their modus operandi, travel routes and different forms of human trafficking (i.e. commercial sexual exploitation, labour exploitation, organ trafficking, child trafficking, trafficking for forced marriage and internal trafficking).


share your stories, methods and practices that have been successful in
providing direct assistance to people who have been trafficked, for example:

  • After rescue care
  • Re-integration into communities
  • Re-training and education
  • Counseling and trauma care
  • Other direct assistance practices you have found helpful or want to explore
Secure Shelter for Survivors

Greetings from  World Hope International. 

 WHI has been working with survivors of commercial sexual exploitation, one of the many forms of modern-day slavery, in Cambodia since 2005.  I'd like to share a lesson learned from our experience here.

 An initial and limited period of tight security around survivors is necessary when victims are rescued from commercial sexual exploitation.  The obvious reason is that traffickers want their cash source back and will take it by force if necessary.  A shelter needs to be secure from outside attacks.  The less obvious reason is that initially, victims of sex trafficking will try to protect or run back to their captors.  WHI has found that, after a short period of good nutrition, safety and security, a home-like environment, mental and physical health care, and enough sleep, most survivors will begin to relax and reassess their life options.  They begin to see hope for the a different future: a life free from rape, pain, and humiliation.

Human trafficking is a crime that depends on compliance - forced or otherwise coerced - of its victims.  If a worker won't perform, s/he is useless and will not make money for the trafficker.  So the trafficker must convince (groom, break, drug, season, terrorize) the victims to comply.  This can involve different forms of bondage, both physical and psychological.

When girls come to us, they are terrified, malnourished, and exhausted.  They have undergone physical and psychological abuses and manipulation akin to victims of torture.  They've been told they are only worth the price of their bodies for sex.  Their instinct is normally to run back to the brothel or to their captors because of the "convincing" they've endured.  Every girls is different, but it does not take long in a caring and nurturing environment to break many of those psychological chains that keep a victims in bondage.  Without security measures keeping girls from running back to exploitation in those initial traumatic weeks, they would not have an opportunity to break free from the exploiters' domination.      




Kristin Wiebe

On shelter security

Hello from Chisinau!

 On the security of shelters we would like to point out that in a country of origin such as Moldova the security matter is more of a social nature, not so much to do with protection from actual physical harm (although that ofcourse is also an issue).  While returning to the traffikcers is maybe not so much a threat as in country of destination shelter, the threat of endagering reintegration process by being labelled as eg prostitute is a serious one. A lot of the VoTs come from small villages, where they have very little chance of building a new life id they stigmatized due to having been involed in sex industry. We would also like to point out that also male victims face this same issue, as men's experiences of victimisation are even more a social taboo, as seen as a failure (migrant, worker, provider) is not easily dealt with. Men also are less likely to seek help and self-identify and it seems a shelter that would be able to cater for men also is yet to be seen. Also, we would like to remind that although security is a paramount issue there has been a lot od criticism from VoTs themselves (in Europe!) about the facilitities and tactics used to house them after rescues, and about policies of no mobile phones etc. As traffickers get better at luring the VoTs with better conditions and some earnings even, there is even more pressure on assistance to be as far from restricting liberties as possible. Cathy Zimmerman's study on health consequences and needs of VoTs is good in providing info on matters related: 


IOM Chisinau Prevention and Protection Team (Blaec and Elina)

Appropriate Housing

 Hi! I am a sophomore at Hamline University, in St. Paul, Minnesota. I am currently in a class titled "Gender Politics." 

I was just wondering what is the difference is between "appropriate housing" and shelters? Are the programs specifically for trafficked women just designed differently than other shelters? How so? Could the shelters have branches that would help trafficked women?

Comprehensive Needs - re appropriate housing

Thank you for your question. 

What we found is that appropriate housing for a trafficked person requires comprehensive services, including emergency shelter, transitional and permanent housing, counseling, educational assistance, job training, medical care, mental healthcare, legal representation including both criminal and immigration representation, culturally-specific programming, as well as specialized programming for youth and person who have been in prostitution.  

Trafficked people are often not getting appropriate housing and comprehensive services for several reasons:  

First, while battered women or homeless shelters may the offer limited resources that they have, they rarely are able to offer the comprehensive array of services needed by a trafficked victim to enable them to get out of their trafficking situation.  If battered women’s shelters admit trafficked women, it is estimated that possibly less than half of them are equipped to offer services to trafficked persons. Most organizations lack transitional or permanent housing facilities which are crucial to transition successfully out of a trafficking situation.  Some women may be ridiculed or judged by the shelter due to their history of prostitution.  Also, trafficked women needing shelter after a law enforcement sting on a brothel may want to stay together and it can be difficult to find a shelter with enough space.  In addition, even if they have the capacity, homeless shelters can be dangerous as pimps have used homeless shelters as recruiting grounds or to find victims who have tried to leave the trafficking situation.  This highlights the need for staff training on safety issues for trafficked people in such shelters.  

Second, we were told that some battered women’s shelters will not admit trafficked women citing funding restrictions or due to a lack of understanding of what sex trafficking is.  We found that a local shelter had a policy of accepting only people who were currently abused, thus excluding a trafficking victim who had not immediately escaped the situation.  Sometimes shelter intake may not consider prostitution as a form of domestic violence and won’t offer space in the shelter to a trafficked person involved in prostitution. 

Finally, our report indicated the special needs of trafficked youth, as distinct from adults.  Minnesota, for example, lacks a residential facility specifically serving youth who have been used in commercial sexual exploitation.  An interview with a law enforcement officer cited to one such program in California called Children of the Night, which can be found at

Aspect of “historical trauma” and women of color

Greetings from Minnesota!  In our state, we need to address the
fact that women of color are overrepresented in prostitution/trafficking. A
recent study of women on probation for prostitution offenses in the city of Minneapolis (and it is
likely that many of these women are victims of trafficking)  found that American Indian women
accounted for 24% of the probationers, while African-American women accounted
for 39%.  These groups respectively
represent only 2.2% and 18% of Minneapolis’
entire population. 

We have learned that “historical
trauma” is a factor that makes women of color vulnerable to trafficking.  Specifically, in the past Native American
women were forced to marry men in other tribes and the U.S. government
forced Native American children to attend Christian boarding schools in the nineteenth
and twentieth centuries.  Boarding schools
not only stripped the American Indians of their language and culture, they
subjected the children to brutal physical and sexual abuse.  Many Native Americans believe that these
policies were the root of sexual violence in the Native American community,
because many victims of violence become perpetrators themselves.  Recently, Amnesty International reported
that today one in three American Indian women will be raped during her
lifetime. (See the AI report Maze of Injustice:  The Failure to
Protect Indigenous Women From Sexual Violence in the USA

The legacy of the enslavement of Africans
and African-Americans in the US
has also been cited as a factor in the vulnerability of African-American women
and girls to sex trafficking.  One
of the interviewees for our Sex Trafficking Needs Assessment (
said that the physical and sexual abuse these women endured in slavery and
after emancipation, coupled with the limited opportunities afforded to all
African-Americans and women in particular, kept them poor, dependent and
undereducated, which continues to affect them today.

Minnesota lacks services capable of meeting the needs of trafficked women
and girls based on their specific backgrounds.  The advocates we interviewed stated that
there is a need for training, education and money for staffing a model to serve
these particular communities.  Some
examples provided were appointment flexibility, bilingual/ethnic staff members
to promote comfort levels, and therapy rooms large enough to accommodate family
members.  Advocates in the American
Indian community unanimously highlighted the importance of traditional
ceremonies such as talking circles and sweat lodges in their programs.

As a result of this research, we believe
that non-profit organizations should develop and distribute models of treatment
for trafficked women and girls based on their ethnicity and race, as well as
age.  We would like to know if any
other countries are developing good practice models for women and girls of
different race or ethnicity who are victims of sex trafficking.  Thank you!

Mary Ellingen
Women’s Program Staff Attorney
The Advocates for Human Rights
650 South Third Avenue, Suite 550
Minneapolis, MN  55402-1940  USA
Tel:  612-341-3302, ext. 132
Fax:  612-341-2971 \

What freedom do children really have?

Kristin, this is a really helpful analysis of the situation and I know that what you are saying is accurate which is a tribute to the excellent job of the caregivers. However, it does raise some ethical problems. Can you clarify at what point, if any the girls are given the 'freedom' to leave the centre, make phone calls etc.? How do you counter the accusation that you are restricting their right to free choice? Indeed, dto children under 18 years under protective services have the right to return to a brothel?   

Ethical Issues

Thanks for raising this point, Glenn.  It's correct that holding anyone against their will, regardless of how young or controlled that person may be, raises ethical questions.  Girls stay at our center for an average of 8 weeks.  During that time, they have limited freedom to leave the center.  It's important that this level of restriction is only temporary and that girls understand how long they will be with us.  There must be a somewhat fixed end date.  Girls also know that after 8 weeks, they will either go home or, if they choose, to another long-term program for further care and vocational and/or education services.  They can talk with their families by phone and meet with them when possible through chaperoned family meetings and during court cases.  In some cases, family members could not be located or refuse to come to family meetings.  Girls also leave the center for medical and legal actions.

 We counter the argument that we are "restricting their right to free choice" by showing, through girls' own statements and physical evidence, that if they are removed from the coercive and toxic brothel environment and given a secure and homelike environment, they are actually given the opportunity to make "free choice," some for the first time in their lives.   In the brothel, a girl's free will is systematically broken down until she obediently complies with any humiliation or abuse.  With good and holistic care (this is not just about security, but a secure center provides a context where mental, physical, social, and other forms of care can be provided) girls are able to break some of the bonds that hold them in fear and desperation to the brothel.  After a few weeks, we see them relax.  When they can eat well, sleep well, detox from various drugs, socialize with peers in a safe place, they feel better.  They talk about being able to think more clearly.  They are presented with options for their future, ways to gain control over their own lives.  They choose to learn vocational skills or go back to school.     

 Children under 18 have a right to be protected from crimes committed against them.  Just as a batterer cannot use the professed "consent" of his/her victim as a legal defence against the charge, a pimps and users of prostituted children cannot use the child's professed "consent" to sexual exploitation as a defense, arguing that it's the child's "will" or "right." Moreover, in Cambodia as in many other parts of the world, a child under 18 years old does not have the legal capacity to consent to being prostituted.   So no: a child under 18 years old does not have the right to return to a brothel.  It's kind of like saying that a child has the right to jump off a cliff (did she just watch a cartoon about flying? Did he just read about Icarus or Batman? Did she just take a hallucinogen and is sure she has wings?) and the parent or guardian should keep quiet and let him/her jump. 

 Again, I'd like to stress that this kind of high-security model is only for a short term.  We can not (and should not) lock up victims of trafficking for long periods of time, and we must be clear with victims about how long this period will last.  We think of it like an "emergency room" - a short duration where we can do some triage until the girl is stabilized enough to make her own choices and exert her own free will.  


Kristin Wiebe, Anti-Trafficking Program Director (Asia), World Hope International


Comprehensive reintegration programmes

Hello from Belgrade,

We would like to share the structure IOM Belgrade together with its NGO partner, NGO ATINA is using for developement of comprehensive social inclusion (we prefer to use this term rarther than reintegration) programme as well as for monitoring of case-by-case social inclusion plans and programmes.

Key areas in reintegration process

  1. Legal status
  2. Legal issues and court proceedings
  3. Family relations   
  4. Educational status              
  5. Economic status  
  6. Professional guidance and employment
  7. Security status
  8. Discrimination experience – wider social context
  9. Health status       
  10. Relationships with peers
  11. Relationship with partner
  12. Self-acceptance

 Activities in reintegration program 

  1. Solving acute problems upon the entrance into the program; ad hoc reaction to newly emerged acute problems.
  2. Defining the timeframe for assessment of the beneficiary's status and primary objectives in the individual reintegration programmes.
  3.  Upon admission to reintegration program assess initial victim’s status in all areas important for reintegration.
  4. Creation of individual reintegration plans covering all areas, in close cooperation with the beneficiaries.
  5. Follow-up and evaluation of progress achieved in all areas important for reintegration throughout the entire process of reintegration and redefining the reintegration goals as per the assessed reintegration evaluation.
  6. Gathering contacts of government and NGO organizations engaged in reintegration program.
  7. Evaluating achieved results in each specific case upon the beneficiary leaves reintegration programs.
  8. Following-up cases in all the reintegration segments upon reintegration program end.


Approximately 3 weeks are needed for completion of the needs assessment in order to commence with solving beneficiaries’ legal status and defining the needed steps in this field. The following personal documents’ issue require assistance:

  1. Birth certificate
  2. Citizenship certificate
  3. Residence certificate
  4. Residence permit for foreign citizens
  5. ID card
  6. Medical insurance booklet
  7. Registration with the National Employment Service
  8. Registration with the local Centre for Social Work
  9. School certificates/diplomas
  10. Passport or other travel document
  11. Other (assistance in obtaining refugee status, tax-payer's certificate, etc.)


  1. Participation in investigative and criminal proceedingsa

a)       Gathering of relevant information from referral agencies

b)       Defining the timeframe

c)       Contact with relevant authorities: police, public prosecutor, judge, lawyer, social worker (in case of minors)

d)       Submission of property-legal claim

e)       Counselling (legal) during the court proceedings 


2. Family and property-ownership status: divorce, guardianship, financial support, alimony, probate proceedings, family violence...

3. Assistance in acquiring social insurance: regular financial assistance from the center for social work , ad hoc assistance, accommodation in institutions of social protection, pensions, family pensions, help and care assistance...

4. Other



1. Primary family status

a)       Number of household membersb)       Marital statusc)       Presence of violenced)       Presence of abuse and neglecte)       Assessment of family relationsf)        Assessment of potential presence of family pathology 

2. Secondary family status

a)       Number of household membersb)       Marital statusc)       Presence of violenced)       Presence of abuse and neglecte)       Assessment of family relationsf)        Assessment of potential presence of family pathology 

3. Other: foster care, accommodation in social care institution, adoption...


  1. Level of literacy
  2. Level of completed education
  3. Acquired skills
  4. Preferred education and joint assessment of capabilities to achieve it
  5. Difficulties in learning
  6. Getting within the educational system


  1. Financial capabilities and assets of beneficiary and her/his primary/secondary family
  2. Mediation in achieving right to financial support from the state for the beneficiary and for her/his primary/secondary family


1.        Assessment of competitiveness on labour market

2.        Assessment of beneficiaries' capabilities

3.        Job-search

4.        Job placement 

VII SECURITY STATUS – consequences of trafficking situation and prevention of re-victimization

  1. Obtaining information from relevant institution
  2. Contact with police with the aim to secure prevention and protection in specific cases.
  3. Risk grading (subjective impressions vs. circumstances)
  4. Experience of violence and relation to the violence


  1. Beneficiary is part of a marginalized group
  2. Assessment of limits in social resilience (basis for marginalization)
  3. Experience of discrimination


  1. Right to health care
  2. Assessment of health condition
  3. Health and hygiene
  4. Capacities for caring of one's own health


  1. Assessment of exiting peer network and relationships
  2. Assessment of social maturity
  3. Usual models of social interaction
  4. Specific difficulties in establishing social relations
  5. Expanding social network


  1. Assessment of emotional maturity
  2. Usual modes of emotional relations function
  3. Sexual orientation
  4. Sexual relations
  5. Specific issues in establishing and maintaining partner relationships
  6. Conscience of potential security risks


  1. Assessment of the level of self-acceptance and self-respect
  2. Establishing relation to trafficking experience
  3. Establishing relation to violence

 Aleksandra Galonja, IOM Belgrade


More on social inclusion

Another Hello from Belgrade! Just to share with you our experience in the field of victim assistance. We had a very good regional project that helped us change the legislation in the region i.e. intorducing the legislation providing for temporary residence permits to victims of trafficking identified in the South East Europe. Besides the mere regularization of the temporary stay and decriminilization of the victims, this tool helped the countries in the region to set comprehensive programs  for victims, moving beyond the modest pre-departure assistance. That way we, in close partnership with our NGO colleagues, espailly NGO Atina from Belgrade, could provide for much better options for the victims. You can read more on this initiative at In the course of the project we also had the opportunity to work closely with the NGOs that performed watchdog activities,assessing the overall assistance programs under the TRP scheme and beyond

In the scope of this 3 years initiative we could see how confidence is being built to the victims once they know that they can move freely, when their status of the victim is reconfirmed even that way. Some of the victims granted TRP helped us and our partners design some of the project's features - leaflets, brochures, in order to pass the message on this tool to others - victims, possible victims, practitioners tasked with victim protection, etc.

Jovana Mihajlovic, IOM Belgrade, Serbia

Sustainability of shelters

Janet Nickel

FAAST Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone is quite new to anti-trafficking activities.  World Hope International/FAAST has been working in Sierra Leone on anti-trafficking since September 2004 mainly with public awareness, training law enforcement, and in the last two years with immediate assistance to victims and referrals.

World Hope International/FAAST Sierra Leone would like to ask about shelters in your locations (especially in areas which would be considered similar to developing nations or post war). 

-          Are any governments providing shelters for trafficking survivors?  Do NGOs partner or assist with government-run shelters?  In what ways?  Do NGOs/donors provide funds for government-run shelters?

-          Are NGOs providing shelters for trafficking survivors?  Does government partner or assist with NGO-run shelters?  In what ways?

The IOM mission in Sierra Leone received a grant which included funds for an interim care shelter for victims of trafficking that lasted for almost 2 years.  But funds have not been forthcoming for continuation of the shelter.  Now, when Law Enforcement officers, NGOs, or community stakeholders identify a trafficking victim, the referral pathway has washed out at the shelter level.  The problem here has been getting sustainable funds for shelters and aftercare. 

Janet Nickel


Experience of est. and securing sustainability for shelter

Dear Janet, as a reply to your question let us share the exprience of Moldova:In September 2001 the IOM established the Chisinau Rehabilitation Centre, offering medical, psychological, and legal assistance to Moldovan VoTs. Since its establishment the Centre has assisted 2483 VoTs and more than 1300 potential victims with a similar profile to the "certified victims". During the first several years, the Chisinau Rehabilitation Centre (CAPC) operated from rented premises that formed part of a medical institution. The cost of this, however, was prohibitive, and therefore not sustainable. In 2006 therefore, as part of its broader strategy of developing the capacity of the Moldovan authorities to provide assistance to VoTs and potential victims, IOM concluded an agreement with the then Ministry of Social Protection Family and Child (MSPFC) whereby the latter committed to provide a rent-free space for the Centre. A building was provided, in the grounds of the Republican Mother and Child Hospital, but this was in very bad repair and in design did not meet requirements. The decision was therefore taken to demolish this and build on that site.  The new building constructed to house the CAPC was fully completed in early summer 2007. The new purpose-built centre contains all of the necessary facilities to allow the team to consistently provide high-quality services to Victims of Trafficking. The location of the Centre, in the grounds of the Chisinau Maternity Hospital, is an additional advantage as more comprehensive medical care can easily be provided to those who need it. Rental costs have been avoided by constructing a new building rather than renting an existing one. The agreement to provide this space was facilitated by the support of the Office of the Prime Minister of Moldova.  Given that the CAPC provides services free of charge, the Centre itself can never be self-funding. However, the move to the new building reduced operating expenses by approximately 50%. Experienced IOM staff (child psychologist, social assistants, physician, and lawyer) will continue to operate the Centre, while gradually increasing the involvement and where necessary building the capacity of MSPFC social workers as well as the medical staff of the neighboring Mother and Child Hospital. In fact, IOM participated in drafting the National Development Strategy that includes the Action Plan and Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) for 2008-2011 and MSPFC budget for 2008. As a result, the MTEF provides for annual allocations of state budget funds for direct assistance through CAPC within the NRS until 2011 that is annually reviewed providing the possibility for increases. If IOM had not been so closely involved in this process and did not have a close working relationship with national counterparts it is doubtful this process would have been possible to achieve even in this timeframe as these things definitely take time! The government steadily increased its ownership of the rehabilitation program, and part of the running costs of the CAPC has already been funded from the state budget since August 2008 and for this purposes the CAPC was established a public institution.

These achievements further supported gradual institutionalization of the Centre into the national referral system, being one of the key elements within the assistance infrastructure, thus increasing sustainability. The target is that the Government will be responsible for at least 70% of the funding of the CAPC by 2011. Whether the shelter will then be formed as a NGO that the government funds or how it is arranged is still open.

 IOM Chisinau Prevention and Protection team (Blaec and Elina)


Working with people seeking asylum

This is Lucy from New Tactics writing,  in some of the other work that I do with The Center for Victims of Torture, I have learned about the challenges faced helping people seek asylum in the United States.  Have any of you faced this as you work with trafficked people in your countries?

How do you work with lawyers to assist your clients?

Here is a page from the Women’s Refugee Commission that highlights some work they have done with unaccompanied children in the immigration process.  There is a link at the end of the page to a video about U.S. Immigration court.  The video is directed toward children but could be useful for older people as well.  The video is offered in five languages.


Counseling and trauma care


Greetings from Sierra Leone,

The Center for Victims of Torture has started work with VoT’s in Sierra Leone in the last year. We provide mental health counseling, training/capacity building of other service providers, and sensitization of local communities.

A challenge has been the lack of referral sources for other areas of after-care/rehabilitation (as Janet from FAAST mentioned, particularly with sustainable shelter).  I’ve noticed that others have mentioned counseling as a part of their services, and would like to hear more about the approaches you are taking.

Is counseling with your agency always provided in tandem with other services?  Is anyone doing counseling with Vot’s who are still in trafficking situations, rather than in post-care programs? 

I would love to hear about any other thoughts mental health providers have on this subject as well.

Thanks for your input!


Counseling for victms

Hi, Ann,

I work with a Brazilian organization that works with  families victms of homicide. It is a NGO that started just a little more than a year ago and have been achieving repercussion and became burdened with a heavy demand. About six moth ago we created a group of mental health professionals, working as volunteers, attending the families by donating hours in their schedule. It has been a very interesting and useful experience of Rio de Paz. Maybe other organization may be interested in something similar for victims of trafficking.  Elizabeth


counselling tool

World Hope South Africa has been using a counseling tool based on creating Memory Books with People living with HIV/AIDS for the past five years. These books are based on Life Maps which is basically 7 questions;

  • Where do I come from?
  • Who am I?
  • Where am I going?
  • How will I get there?
  • What is stopping me?
  • What help do I need?
  • What will it be like when I get there?

This has been very effective in inspiring hope and dignity in PLWHA and really caused many people to take control of their futures, after coming to terms with their pasts and with who they are.

I have often wondered if this process would be effective and helpful with victim assistance, and would be happy to discuss this with anyone interested.


Elske Reyneke-Barnard | World Hope South Africa

Counseling tools - choosing methods and paths for healing


Thank you for sharing this resource of "life maps" and the 7 questions that guide the process. The Trauma Centre for Survivors of Violence and Torture is a Cape Town, South Africa has developed a wonderful tool called "body mapping" that they have found to be a very healing process for those who use it.  From my understanding, the "body map" utiilizes many of the same questions that you have shared. In a group of people, each helps another by tracing a person's actual body onto a canvas. Then each person tells their own story by drawing, writing and coloring/painting on their own body image. A "shadow" person is also drawn behind the actual body to help the person identify the beliefs, people and experiences that supported and helped the person to survive. 

As each person identifies past experiences, they also move into the present and eventually the future as you have indicated in by the questions that start with "where am I going?"

Next month, I also want to invite people to join us for the dialogue New Tactics will be hosting in collaboration with the Institute for the Healing of Memories in South Africa. The Institute has also developed a process of life mapping and hands-on processes for people to address those aspects of their lives that have deeply wounded them.

In our work at the Center for Victims of Torture, it is important to have a wide range of healing methods and ensure that the survivor chooses methods that resonate to their own unique needs and the path of their own healing.  

Nancy Pearson, New Tactics in Human Rights Program Manager

Building Child Friendly Villages and empowerment

I want thank Svitlana, IOM Ukraine, for sharing the great work being done there regarding the Economic empowerment program for victims of trafficking that highlights how micro-financing can make a huge difference in empowering victims to change their life circumstances.

I was also struck by her posting regarding the Public Awareness Campaigns that have been directly involving young people. Providing information that is relevant to young people is essential in giving them the information they need to recognize when they may find themselves in risky and dangerous situations.

It reminds me of the innovative work being done by BBA (Save the Childhood movement) in India to combat child labor, illiteracy and trafficking by building Child Friendly Villages.T This is a recognition that those so highly vulnerable are the poor and illiterate. The Child Friendly Villages involve the whole community - especially the children - to build community awareness and commitment to protect children. The process that BBA employs provides excellent ideas for empowering young people to not only give voice to their needs but ensure their participation in addressing those needs. This process not only stops child labor practices in these villages, the village makes a commitment for their children to attend school and develop skills that will empower them to make different choices as they become adults - helping to intervene in the cycle of ignorance and poverty.

Nancy Pearson, New Tactics in Human Rights Program Manager


Please share your stories, methods and practices that have been successful in preventing human trafficking, for example:
Please share your stories, methods and practices that have been successful in preventing human trafficking, for example:

  • Public awareness campaigns
  • Interrupting or stopping the “supply” and “demand”
  • Community support networks
  • Laws and public policies
  • Other prevention practices you want to share or explore
Uses of technology in prevention


Thank you to all the practitioners for doing this, the information so far is fantastic! 

 I am wondering if anyone has stories of how new technologies have enhanced their prevention tactics? Does anyone have stories about how social networking tools such as twitter or facebook or video has enhanced their message or helped with prevention? Being a young student in the US I know that not many people are aware of this issue and I also know that new communication technologies can be very helpful.  Thank you for any input you have! 

Alexa Horwart

Successful Messaging/ cooperation with private company

Alexa, I was thinking of your question. I do not know whether my response is somehow suitable for you. it is not really about the technologies, but about the successful messaging.  

In December-March 2008, the IOM Ukraine and OJSC Concern Galnaftogaz (retail and bulk trade in oil based products) carried out the counter-trafficking informational campaign at the Northern and Western border of Ukraine. The campaign included the establishment of bigboards containing the counter-trafficking and migrant advice hotline number as well as counter-trafficking message. 12 billboards were established in three target regions at the gas stations (Concern Galnaftogaz). People who used the services of the gas stations as well as those who drove by to the border could see the counter-trafficking message. As a result of the campaign, five fold increase in the number of phone calls to the hotline was received from the three target regions.  the picture of the bigboard is attached

Ms. Svitlana Batsyukova

Counter-trafficking Program

IOM Mission in Ukraine

Uses of technology in prevention

Alexa, This is a good question. I have found a number of requests from Fellow Facebookers who ask me to sign up for various campaigns, some of which I have done. I hope that the time I spend in doing this can have an effect but even if the information is not used in advocacy it makes people think about them for a minute which can't be bad! However perhaps of more concern is where technology is used in perputration. I am pleased to say that Love146 ( - check it out!) has been involved in challenging the way Craigslist has the potential to be exploitive and promote trafficking. I am also concerned about the access of pornography in new technologies to youth. Although it is controversial Cambodian children in a study (ask if you want a copy) I was involved in said that they want to 'do what they see'. Could this be connected to the increase in gang rape? I think it could. Perhaps tackling this complicated issue could be a significant move towards reducing sexual exploitation in the future.

Uses of technology in intervention


Thank you for bringing the aspect of technology into the dialogue. I want share that in a previous New Tactics on-line dialogue featuring "Using Mobile Phones for Action"  where Ellene Sana, the director of Center for Migrant Advocacy in the Philippines shared how her organization is assisting Filipino Overseas Workers with an SOS SMS system to help those in distress. Here are links to two of her posting that explain the process:

1) help is just a text away for overseas filipinos in distress

2) sos sms mechanics

What they are doing for migrant workers may provide some ideas for people working in the area of human trafficking, especially due to overlap and ricks experienced by these populations.

Nancy Pearson, New Tactics in Human Rights Program Manager

Using technology

Hi, Alexa,

Technology may be use as an improvement to prevent human trafficking as it has been used to the trafficking. It is useful to raise awareness, to denounce, to spread news, to ask for participation and many other situations. But, as you know,  most of the subjects of trafficking don’t have access to technology, are not connected or allowed to be connected, even to a regular phone line.  I think that young interested people like you could be a good resource join a NGO and maintaining a kind of modern and up to date tool to raise the awareness among your friends  and other people, calling them to help fight human trafficking. Elizabeth Sussekind


Hello Alexa, a reply from Chisinau to your query as well. Organisations all over Europe are using internet and text messages as outreach tools. In the Nordic countries pimping and prostitution pretty much is done online, and that's where organisations need to be also: you might even reach trafficking victims, and web can be used to identify the kind of pimps that offer services that are identfied as probably involving VoTs (eg sex without condom). The SMS system told about by Nancy is also in use in several places, and it has great potential, of e.g. providing info for trafficking victims with limited language skills in the country of destination. So not really on prevention but hope this was helpful!


IOM Chisinau Prevention and Protection Team (Blaec and Elina)

Tech and Prevention/Awareness

I was reading through a report titled Human Rights and Technology: The MIT Program on Human Rights and Justice, which was the corresponding document for a conference that was held from Apr. 29th-May 2nd 2004.  Although this was before Facebook and other social networking sites had taken off in popularity, the document did have some interesting suggestions.  The article reinforces the idea that through media, nonviolent direct action can be a powerful and effective way to focus attention and generate action.  The article mentions the spectogram, which sounds quite similar to the Tactical Mapping tool that we use here at New Tactics (  The spectogram is a facilitation tool that involves participants stating their position on a  issue by placing themselves physically on an x and y axis.  In short, it uses a physical space for mapping opinions, either ideological or philosophical, in order to allow participants to discuss ethics surrounding an issue in an innovative and interactive way.  I found this somewhat similar to our tactical mapping tool in that it allows people to physically map out an issue.  I also thought it would be an interesting way to conceptualize an issue, and a fun way to facilitate discussion surrounding a possibly controversial issue. I tried to look up more information on the subject, but couldn't find much. Has anyone heard of or used this tool before and did they find it effective?

Also interesting from this conference was the reference to a website, which is a site that allows for indy news organizations to reach out directly to consumers of media rather than using traditonal media as an outlet.  On it's site it states "The Independent Media Center is a network of collectively run media outlets for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate tellings of the truth. We work out of a love and inspiration for people who continue to work for a better world, despite corporate media's distortions and unwillingness to cover the efforts to free humanity."

Sometimes I find that looking at issues without the lens of the mainstream media gives me a better idea as to all the different sides of that issue.  Indymedia seems to present an alternative to mainstream coverage of events, and while using information from one source is generally not enough to sufficiently understand an issue, it might help to look at issues in a different way or gain a different perspective.  I'm wondering if anyone else has found sites that present issues in a way that's different from traditional news media outlets?


Apple Translation Tool for Victims of Trafficking

In the Vienna Forum Report: A Way Forward to Combat Human Trafficking, (, a new tool for victims of human trafficking is discussed.  The tool was part of a collaborative effort between Churches Alert to Sex Trafficking Across Europe (CHASTE), law enforcement in Great Britain and N. Ireland and Apple.  The translation tool transmits a message recorded in the victim's language via an Apple ipod so as to give the victim basic information about the situation and to provide reassurance.  The program can be easily downloaded in any language and made immediately available to law enforcement and service providers to use with victims of human trafficking.  This tool is not a tool for prevention with it's current use, although it certainly might be helpful in cases of trafficking across borders where there is a potential language barrier between law enforcement officers and the victim.  I'm wondering if anyone knows anything else about this tool, whether they've heard of its use or effectiveness, and also whether anyone has any ideas of other ways in which we could adapt this concept to help victims of human trafficking?

In the same forum report, it also details a computer based training model that was introduced for law enforcement officers, which could be constantly updated to reflect new forms and patterns of trafficking.  The report stated that Microsoft provided training for law enforement and also taught skills to victims so that they would be able to enter the legitimate labor market and also offer parental and police control in order track internet users and prevent expoitation.  Does anyone have more information about these training models, and whether or not they would be useful on a broad basis in a multitude of locations?  The report does not state that these training models took place in a particular location, and so I'm wondering if people think they would be useful in a wide range of locations in which human trafficking is a problem?

Media and its involvement

While we have trained media on its possible role, of awareness raising and acting as a 'watchdog' if you will, I feel it is a challenge to really get media on board in a meaningful way.  I noted that somebody had earlier asked for material or information on media trainings, and if they could clarify what they are looking for, we'd be happy to pass training info/practices along.  Would also welcome information on getting in the media on board in other countries/regions.



Training journalists on trafficking and interviewing victims

Mariam, you raise a very important point here regarding journalists and their interaction with victims of trafficking. We often forget that journalists are seen as "experts" by the public because they are writting for print or creating radio or TV materials. However, they are often trying to find their way through a great deal of conflicting and "sensational" information while needing to create their own story that will attrack the public.

I'm very interested to learn more about your training programs and materials for journalists. A great organization in Nigeria, BAOBAB for Women's Human Rights began to develop a network of journalists that would report accurately and sensitively on violence against women (VAW) issues in Nigeria. They began that effort in preparation for a mock tribunal they conducted to raise public awareness on VAW.

As a result of BOABAB's efforts, they now have an established network of journalists, that continues to grow steadily, committed to raising awareness on VAW. Cultivating those kinds of relationships take time and commitment on the part of NGOs but the benefits can be tremendous.

Regarding the issue of journalists wanting access to and interviewing victims: In BAOBAB's case, they were faced with the issue of protecting victim identities - who if revealed could have suffered further dire consequences from their husbands, families and community. BAOBAB focused time and energy to develop a network of supporters who accompanied the women to testify in the public tribunal but they also helped journalists to understand the need for sensitivity to
victims and their protection.

These concerns are similar to our
experience in working with survivors of politically motivated torture
as well.  Regarding journalists requests and access to those in an organization's care, an additional dilemma emerges - the question of freedom of choice. Victims/survivors can feel a tremendous sense of obligation, indebtedness for receiving such help and assistance during a very vulnerable period in their life, and therefore pressure when approached by the people (and organizations) that have provided them with services. Setting up mechanisms that can better ensure that the victim/survivor is truly stepping forward of their own free will and choice to be interviewed and share their story is extremely important. For some victims/survivors, sharing their story is a powerful step in their healing process. For those who do not freely make this choice, it can be another deep wound of being used - another experience of powerlessness.

I'm wondering if anyone has similiar experiences to share regarding efforts in working with journalists and the process by which journalists might have access to those under your care who have been trafficked. 

Nancy Pearson, New Tactics in Human Rights Program Manager


work for STOP THE TRAFFIK, an anti-trafficking movement focusing on grass roots awareness and community led ACTion.

One thing which always amazes me about issues like trafficking is that people think they are problems happening far away to other people in other people's towns.

Although trafficking is a huge global problem with geographic, economic, social and political trends it is also a very local issue. In every day life, in every day communities victims of trafficking are suffering - holed up in a flat / brothel / massage parlor. They are down the road working in a chicken factory supplying major supermarkets, they are begging on your high street and to get there, they are brought through your local port, station and airport.

So, although anti- trafficking measures are for high level practitioners and politicians to debate and act on, there is also a massive role for local people who want to make sure human rights are upheld in their community and people in their shared living spaces are not suffering harm.


Port Community Involvement to Stop Trafficking

I agree that trafficking is both a domestic and global phenomenon. Getting local folks involved is probably one of the best and fastest method to prevent, if not totally stop it.

In the Philippines, Visayan Forum (VF) is pioneering in community mobilization to stop trafficking at its initial stage. VF works with the port personnel in early intervention in trafficking cases. VF capacitates the Anti-Trafficking Task Force composed of law enforcers like coast guard, maritime police, stevedoing workers group, ship captains and crew, and private companies in detection of trafficked children. With the help of VF, private shipping companies and the shipping crew are trained to identify possible trafficked victim/s.   So at the port area -- or at ticket counters or on ships -- trafficking is immediately intercepted and trafficked children are rescued and referred for appropriate and comprehensive services to partner non-government and government agencies. 

This innovative initiative of VF has received global recognition from United Nations, International Labor Organization, UNICEF, and the US State Department in its 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report. For those who are interested to learn more about VF, you may check them out at

After VF's success in this strategy, other agencies forged collaborative efforts with private bus companies to intercept trafficking at provincial bus station.

Transforming community denial of human trafficking to action

Stop the Traffick, FAAST Sierra Leone has seen this same thing here. Many times we have gone to communities and the first response is "It is not happening here." Then when they have an explanation of what trafficking is the response changes to "It is happening here a lot."

We have targeted 37 communities in different parts of the country which have ripe conditions for trafficking. We hold general community meetings with as many of the community as possible - all ages, sexes, socio-economic standing, etc. - and give general information in as engaging ways as possible about trafficking and its effects. When they recognize that trafficking is a danger that they don't want in their community they are asked to volunteer to be a member of a Village Parent Group. These people commit to meeting at least once a month, becoming the local eyes and ears, willingness to intervene in cases for referrals, and follow-up. Then we ask for individuals, groups, institutions to help provide some basic services for victims of trafficking. This could be a place to stay, food to eat, clothing, a listening ear, medical care if they are medical professionals, etc. We also link the group with the local law enforcement officers so that they are aware of each other and become used to interacting. The Village Parent Group members (10) are accepted and endorsed by the community people and they sign a Memorandum of Understanding. The ones who volunteer to provide services also sign a MOU. These help them to sense the seriousness of their commitment and gives them special standing in the community. We give extra training to the Village Parent Group, the service providers, and the law enforcement officers in that area.

We have had some very effective Village Parent Groups who have become aware of trafficking and are able to identify cases in their communities. They have felt empowered to identify and refer cases. We help them to understand other related issues such as child abuse, adoption fraud, smuggling, other human rights abuses, etc.

One of the reasons for pursuing this measure is because so little is being done at the high levels and there are very few organizations actively fighting human trafficking in Sierra Leone. The Government does not yet have the capacity to fund or carry out interventions. NGOs and their funding come and go, but the people in the community will be there over the long term.

Below is the MOU which the Village Parent Group and community leaders sign. The other ones don't show up in plain text because of the format so I won't put them on this email.

Janet - FAAST Sierra Leone


DISTRICT: ………………………………………………………………

REGION: ………………………………………………………………

NAME OF VILLAGE/COMMUNITY: ……………………………………………………………………………..
SECTION: …………………………………………………..

CHIEFDOM: ……………………………………………………
DATE………………………TIME OF MEETING ………………………………….


We the selected VPGs of …………………………………………………….village/community agree to work as volunteers for our people, to eradicate HUMAN TRAFFICKING activities and /or problems within our village /community. We pledge to give our support and to collaborate with FAAST and the Sierra Leone Government to pursue all related issues of human trafficking, slavery, sexual abuse and exploitation to ensure our wellbeing, and promote Justice, Peace, and Development within our community.

SIGNED BY: (VPG Leader) …………………………………………………………………….

APPROVED BY: (Community Leader - chief, councilor etc…)



1. WITNESSED BY :( Youth Leader)…………………………………………

2. WITNESSED BY: (Chair Lady)……………………………………………

3. WITNESSED BY: (FAAST staff) …………………………………………

Community involvement and community policing efforts

Janet - thank you for sharing your grassroots community efforts to combat trafficking. This direct community awareness and involvement is powerful, and as you say, long lasting. Too often NGO efforts come and go as the grant resources eb and flow. But when community members themselves become invested in their community, that provides the staying power for any effort.

This is also the experience of BBA in India that I had mentioned previously - and their work building child friendly villages. They too, build concrete commitments with the villages. Your MOU process is a great way to highlight both the seriousness of the problem but also the recognition of the communities commitment to address the problem in concrete ways.

One of the greatest obstacles we face regarding human rights abuses is the desire for people to deny that the problem exists. Once the reality of the problem is revealed, however, people generally do want to respond and help, especially when they realize they are protecting their children and community.

As you mentioned in your post, so little is being done at the higher levels of government but these grassroots efforts are essential for preventing trafficking at the community level.

Nancy Pearson, New Tactics in Human Rights Program Manager

Grassroots Prevention Program in Cambodia

Chab Dai Coalition in Cambodia is a network of 40+ Christian organizations working against sexual abuse and trafficking. In addition to our coalition, we run some of our own projects and programming, including a prevention & direct intervention program for rural communities, as well as high risk communities in urban areas.

When Chab Dai began in 2005, most faith-based organizations working against trafficking in Cambodia were primarily focused on aftercare efforts, with not much emphasis on prevention. However, Chab Dai staff believed that in addition to caring for survivors, it was crucial to have a strong focus on prevention, especially in vulnerable communities. Today, our direct projects with community leaders not only promote awareness about trafficking and abuse, but equip and empower participants to train others on how to recognize potential perpetrators and intervene when needed.

Our Church & Community Training Program is designed to create sustainabilit within rural communities and small towns across Cambodia by training community leaders (commune chiefs, Buddhist monks, pastors, teachers, government workers, NGO workers, etc.) and empowering them to mobilize others. The training curriculum, which focuses on what trafficking is, what the law says, childs rights, and how to recognize perpetrators, includes a training of trainers aspect that encourages participants to take what they've learned and teach it to those in and around their communities - Chab Dai trainers follow up with volunteer trainers several weeks after the initial training session.

(As of 2009, this program has trained more than 620 community leaders in 12 provinces, who then went on to train over 18,800 individuals within their own communities. More than 30 cases have been DIRECTLY diverted through this program that we know of.)

We also have programs focused on urban areas and vulnerable minority group communities called the Urban Prevention Program. This program similarly focuses on training and educating community leaders in urban areas about issues related to trafficking, rape, sexual abuse, child protection and child sex tourism. There is also a training of trainers aspect, which includes training children who live on the streets and in vulnerable areas. As of Feb 2009, this program has trained 250 community leaders, who then trained 4,600 individuals since 2007.

Our programs have been very successful, and are completely run at a grassroots level - by Cambodian and Vietnamese trainers who have developed a curriculum within the context of Cambodian culture. The program runs on a relatively low budget and does not pay participants per diems - but rather bases teaching on models of social responsibility in Buddhist, Christian and other holy scripture that the communities believe in.

Reports and more information are available on our website:


Tania DoCarmo

U.S. Director of Development, Chab Dai USA

Christians working together to end sexual abuse and trafficking.


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