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Diplomacy in Action

Victim Identification: The First Step in Stopping Modern Slavery


Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
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In September 2012, President Barack Obama delivered a speech reaffirming the commitment of the United States to fight modern slavery, known also as trafficking in persons. The President instructed the U.S. government to step up its efforts—to develop new innovations and use effective tools, including this annual Trafficking in Persons Report, to confront this crime wherever it exists.

Around the world, governments are demonstrating their own commitment. In the year 2000, the United Nations adopted the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (Palermo Protocol). The Palermo Protocol, anchored in core principles of the protection of freedom rather than in the regulation of the movement of people, defined the crime for the first time in a treaty and established the “three P paradigm” of Prevention, Protection, and Prosecution to guide government action in combating trafficking in persons. Since then, more than 150 countries have become parties to the protocol, and more than 140 have criminalized sex and labor trafficking.

Yet as President Obama pointed out, the work to eradicate modern slavery remains an uphill struggle. This Report estimates that, based on the information governments have provided, only around 40,000 victims have been identified in the last year. In contrast, social scientists estimate that as many as 27 million men, women, and children are trafficking victims at any given time. This shows that a mere fraction of the more than 26 million men, women, and children who are estimated to suffer in modern slavery have been recognized by governments as such and are eligible to receive the protection and support they are owed.

The lack of support and protection that results from inadequate victim identification tells only part of the story. Another consequence of the limited number of victims identified is that the traffickers who enslave and exploit millions are operating with impunity, beyond the reach of the law. It means that modern anti-trafficking laws and structures go unused, existing as theoretical instruments of justice. It also stymies research and data collection critical to understanding trafficking’s root causes. Weak victim identification efforts also undercut the Palermo Protocol and hinder the victim-centered 3P approach that has become the international standard. In the past generation, the closely related fight against domestic violence and sexual assault has proven that meaningful participation of survivors in anti-trafficking efforts– whether during an investigation or prosecution or in the broader policy realm—not only gives them a long-denied voice but also makes justice systems more effective. The tools that have worked in that context—victim/witness coordinators, dedicated prosecution units, and cross-cutting trainings—can and will work in the fight against modern slavery, but only if victims are identified.

This Trafficking in Persons Report focuses on victim identification as a top priority in the global movement to combat trafficking in persons. It details training and techniques that make identification efforts successful, as well as the pitfalls of inadequate identification. It also highlights new innovations and partnerships within and beyond government that will enhance identification efforts. If successfully implemented, these innovations will enable more effective delivery of services to survivors and an accumulation and analysis of data to improve the overall response to trafficking.

Risk Factors for Victimization and Challenges of Identification

As the movement to combat modern slavery has evolved, so too has the understanding of what constitutes a trafficking victim. In the first few years after the Palermo Protocol was adopted, nearly all of the trafficking cases prosecuted by governments were sex trafficking cases; identified victims were nearly all women and girls. Though today’s estimates suggest that the majority of trafficking victims are indeed women and girls, it is now clear that trafficking victims are subjected to both sex and labor trafficking, and a significant percentage of trafficking victims are men and boys.

Despite a growing body of knowledge about victims and their needs, finding them remains a tremendous challenge. Part of this difficulty stems from the very nature of the crime. Traffickers constantly adapt their tactics to evade detection and operate in zones of impunity. They prey on excluded populations—many trafficking victims come from backgrounds that make them reluctant to seek help from authorities or are otherwise particularly vulnerable—marginalized ethnic minorities, undocumented immigrants, the indigenous, the poor, persons with disabilities—whose experiences often make them reluctant to seek help from authorities. Awareness materials dated as far back as the 1890s reveal that promises of greater opportunity, a better life, or a loving and supportive relationship have long lured victims into exploitation. As technology and globalization make the world more interconnected, traffickers’ ability to recruit and exploit their victims has also intensified. Victims of forced labor have been found in nearly every job setting or industry imaginable, including private homes, factories, restaurants, elder care and medical facilities, hotels, housekeeping, child-rearing, agriculture, construction and landscaping, food processing, meat-packing, and cleaning services. Domestic work settings continue to have little or no government oversight or regulation in most countries. And though by definition human trafficking does not require the crossing of borders, migrant workers—including many women who seek new opportunities—remain especially at risk. Even though some challenges to victim identification can be attributed to the nature of the crime, its perpetrators, or its victims, governments have a responsibility to identify victims of this crime. In every region, governments that a decade ago insisted there was no trafficking in their jurisdiction are now aggressively identifying and assisting victims and convicting traffickers. These governments are adopting modern anti-trafficking structures and sustaining the political will to vigorously apply them.

What Victim Identification Means: Another Aspect of Government Responsibility

Being identified as a victim of human trafficking means more than simply being named as the complainant in a prosecution. When adequate anti-trafficking laws are enforced, identification of a person as a victim must begin with a process that respects their rights, provides them protection, and enables them to access services to recover from the trauma inflicted by traffickers. However, when authorities misclassify or fail to identify victims the victims lose access to justice. Even worse, when authorities misidentify trafficking victims as illegal migrants or criminals deserving punishment, those victims can be unfairly subjected to additional harm, trauma, and even punishment such as arrest, detention, deportation, or prosecution. These failures occur too often, and when they do, they reinforce what traffickers around the world commonly threaten their victims: law enforcement will incarcerate or deport victims if they seek help.

This backward outcome is why victim identification and care in policies must be borne out in practice. If a government commits to a modern comprehensive anti-trafficking law or an international standard for victim care, the government must guarantee victims their rights and protection. Passing laws is only a first step for governments that take victim identification seriously. The success of victim identification will often depend on who that trafficking victim first encounters—whether a police officer, immigration agent, or labor inspector.

Unfortunately, this Report is replete with examples of how government officials unevenly apply anti-trafficking laws. Additionally, it highlights how few relevant government officials have the training they need to proactively identify victims, and as a result, wait in vain for victims to self-identify. To make matters worse, even when trafficking victims are able to escape and seek help, some governments punish victims or condition care on the high burdens of proof that should apply to defendants rather than victims. Case after case has emerged in which government officials come in contact with a trafficking victim and fail to recognize the characteristics of the crime. Officials often fail to recognize male victims of forced labor, even when they describe the severe exploitation they endured, because the officials assume that trafficking only happens to women. Labor inspectors or immigration officers sometimes are confronted with indicators of human trafficking but fail to recognize the indicators as such or don’t see trafficking as falling under their authority. Maritime officials focus on whether the condition of a fishing vessel and its equipment complies with environmental or safety regulations and miss the gross abuses inflicted on the crew. Vice squads and judges may see people in commercial sex as irredeemable and fail to look beneath the surface or acknowledge their suffering.

To prevent such lapses, government efforts to identify victims must go well beyond laws guaranteeing certain mechanisms, rights, or status. Governments need to seek to implement proactive systematic identification strategies designed to fit the wide range of settings and circumstances in which victims have been or might be found.

Formal anti-trafficking training is essential to ensure that law enforcement, prosecutors, the judiciary, first responders, and other government officials have a common understanding of the elements of trafficking crimes, the evidence necessary for a conviction, and factors for special consideration such as trauma and dependency. Protocols and training curricula should align with this shared understanding. Training efforts should be based on policies and procedures that provide trainees with clear guidance for action: what to do when encountering an individual who may be the victim of human trafficking or a situation characterized by indicators of trafficking.

Also essential is collaboration among agencies with overlapping areas of responsibility and with social services agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and international organizations (IOs) that provide assistance to victims. Sound policies on victim identification must include planning for access to comprehensive services.

Law Enforcement: On the Front Lines of Victim Identification

Human trafficking is first and foremost a crime, so it is appropriate that law enforcement agencies lead most trafficking interventions. Victim identification efforts are enhanced through the support of high-ranking officers, protocols, and targeted training. Law enforcement officers are also better able to identify victims when they adopt proactive methods to detect and investigate trafficking. Given the complexity of trafficking cases, specialized anti-trafficking units have proven effective because they allow investigators to receive and apply in-depth training, and to learn from experience with multiple cases. These specialized units are most effective when they have broad authority to investigate trafficking cases. For example, trafficking units located within vice units are limited to or focused primarily on, vice crimes and, while they may be able to identify sex trafficking cases, are unlikely to find cases of forced labor.

While specialized units are important, anti-trafficking responsibilities cannot be limited to a single unit’s jurisdiction alone. Human trafficking victims and offenders are more likely to come in contact with local, non-specialized officers, so it is important for such front line officers and their supervisors to be able to recognize trafficking crimes and understand the basics of responding. Continuous targeted training on the characteristics of a crime improves police officers’ ability to recognize and report the crime; conversely inadequate training cripples law enforcement efforts and timely and accurate victim identification.

Training is an ongoing challenge for law enforcement agencies because of changes in personnel due to rotations, promotions, and turnover. To overcome these challenges some governments have institutionalized anti-trafficking training and offered it on an ongoing basis, with different levels of training depending on the role and level of experience of the specific group of trainees. Considering the complexity of this issue, effective anti-trafficking training includes case problem-solving, hands-on experience, and opportunities for expert consultation on casework. Measuring the effectiveness and impact of training by gathering metrics about cases investigated and prosecuted by those attending the training has also proven essential to assessing whether modifications to training curriculum are needed. Another good practice is evaluating training based on whether it produces results and is accompanied by an expectation on the part of commanders that enforcement activities should reflect the practices and knowledge conveyed in such training.

Collaboration Across Government: A Cross-cutting Approach

Agencies other than law enforcement also play an important role in identifying human trafficking. Officials working on immigration, labor, social welfare, health, education, maritime, and other issues may come into contact with victims in the course of their work, but might not recognize them as trafficking victims because of inadequate victim identification procedures. Each relevant agency should therefore assess its mission to see where victims might be encountered, and adopt appropriate protocols and procedures designed to deal with such a situation. While trafficking can occur in any number of areas, screening protocols generally are designed, at a minimum, to address populations especially vulnerable to trafficking, such as irregular migrants, asylum seekers, and deportees; along with areas in which traffickers have long operated, including manufacturing, agriculture and fishing, as well as the commercial sex trade. Approaches to victim identification by government agencies are more effective when backed by strong political will and when they do not overlook less frequently identified populations such as male victims, forced labor victims, and victims of internal trafficking.

Systematic screening and information sessions in countries of origin and screening upon arrival in destination countries, return, or both can help identify migrant victims of trafficking. A robust example of proactive systematic screening in Taiwan, where screening is done at airports, encourages workers to complete an online survey to identify potential labor trafficking, labor abuse, or withheld wages. Additionally, assistance is offered when potential victims are identified through the survey. Foreign workers are also screened at detention centers for indicators of trafficking. If individuals are identified as potential trafficking victims, they are offered services in a shelter and a day-long reflection period to decide whether they want to come forward as a trafficking victim. If they do self-identify and are confirmed by Taiwan authorities as trafficking victims, they remain at the shelter and receive comprehensive services, including help obtaining employment outside of the shelter and long-term immigration status. This combination of screening, follow-up, and victim care that allows work and freedom of movement is a best practice worthy of adoption in other jurisdictions.

While labor inspectors are responsible for enforcement of labor laws, which may include detection of labor abuses, such responsibility often does not extend to criminal offenses such as human trafficking. Most labor inspectors are often authorized to issue only civil or administrative penalties such as fines, and most labor inspectors do not have authority to arrest suspects. But, among government officials, labor inspectors often have the greatest access to worksites where trafficking occurs. Inspections that mainly focus on wage issues and living conditions can make it seem that a garment factory is free of forced labor, but if the inspectors do not confront large debts, fraud, or passport confiscation, the larger issues go unaddressed and the abusive employer simply shrugs off any fine as the cost of doing business. When advance notice of inspections, whether done by governments or social auditing companies, is provided to employers, they are able to hide trafficking by keeping children at home, returning passports, and coaching workers on what to say about their working conditions.

Identification and investigation of human trafficking in regulated places of work requires coordination between labor inspectors, law enforcement, and NGOs that provide victim assistance services. If labor inspectors have adequate government support, are trained to recognize signs of modern slavery, and have protocols to follow when human trafficking violations are recognized, the inspectors can play a critical role in identifying victims of forced labor. While carrying out their mandates related to occupational safety and health, wage and work hours, and illegal employment, labor inspectors have an opportunity to review documentation of pay and hours, speak to workers, and observe the conditions in which they work and live. This information may reveal problems that governments should investigate further, and labor inspectors must be trained to recognize the characteristics of forced labor.

Adequate training is critical in other fields too. Because children and adolescents who are enrolled in school may be victims of sex trafficking or forced labor, teachers, school counselors, and administrators also need anti-trafficking training. Social workers and counselors also need to be informed, because children who have been abused at home, have run away, are alcohol- or drug-dependent, or are in the care of child-welfare agencies are at high risk for human trafficking. Traffickers will bring their victims to health-care facilities for a variety of problems, including sexually transmitted diseases, injuries, respiratory, or other systemic illnesses. In these cases, traffickers often exert control over the victim and the situation by speaking directly to the health-care provider, completing the paperwork, and hovering close to the victim during treatment. Doctors, nurses, and technicians need training and protocols to recognize and act in the best interest of the victim.

However, owing to different bureaucratic cultures, many officials have little experience working collaboratively with law enforcement to confront modern slavery. Interagency task forces are one possible solution to this challenge. If well-structured, such task forces can combine the resources of relevant agencies to help ensure that enforcement efforts are collaborative and comprehensive, accounting for a wide range of factors, whether planning for the conduct of a raid, screening of possible victims, or developing provisions to protect survivors after they have been taken out of harm’s way.

Anti-trafficking training for government officials and targeted professionals should go beyond awareness raising. Clear guidelines on how to proceed when someone suspects a case of trafficking, including whether and how to approach a possible victim, and what to expect if a case goes forward, greatly improve the effectiveness of victim identification efforts. While holding regular interministerial meetings are an important step, governments must also achieve measurable results, including in numbers of victims helped and traffickers brought to justice. That means not only developing anti-trafficking mechanism, but also meeting expectations and producing positive outcomes. Both a whole-of-government approach, and whole-of-government commitment are essential.

Enhancing Government Efforts Through Partnerships

While governments are ultimately responsible for identifying victims, protecting their rights, and providing support and services to survivors, NGOs and IOs are experts in victim protection and provide comprehensive trafficking victim assistance services. That’s why partnerships between government entities involved in victim identification, especially law enforcement and immigration agencies, and IOs, NGOs, and civil society groups are so important.

Many groups outside government have developed and implemented training that is essential for effective government action. Others operate national hotlines, usually in partnership with government agencies, to receive information about possible cases of human trafficking and relay that information to law enforcement. Additionally, governments often partner with NGOs that offer a safe place for victims to begin recovery, provide critical services, and help victims understand their rights and available options. This type of support is essential for victim recovery and also aids efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking cases: when victims feel that their needs and concerns are addressed, they are more likely to cooperate with police and prosecutors. Governments can enhance their efforts by ensuring such partnerships exist at all stages of victim protection.

Partnerships, however, need not be limited to civil society groups. Indeed, partnerships with survivors themselves can prove invaluable in designing, implementing, and assessing responses to human trafficking. Though survivors should not be required to do so, they can provide much-needed information about their experiences and input about the ideal interactions between government agencies and NGO service providers. Such input from survivors has led to a broader understanding of many of the crime’s complexities; from the way male victims are often overlooked by authorities, to how traumatizing a law enforcement raid can be for a victim of sex trafficking, to why some victims decline assistance. These details underscore the importance of tailoring the response to human trafficking violations to each specific victim of trafficking, beginning at identification and following through to the steps to offer protection and assistance.

Several anti-trafficking NGOs have adopted mechanisms to ensure that survivors have regular opportunities to provide input into the organization’s operation and oversight. Many female survivors of human trafficking have become activists and advocates and are recognized as leaders in the worldwide abolitionist movement. Trafficking survivors often attract significant media attention and help the public understand how people are victimized, how victims can obtain help, and what individuals and communities can do to combat this crime. In many countries, survivors have become articulate spokespersons at public hearings where governments consider their response to trafficking. More recently, male survivors of forced labor have also been recognized for their contribution to bringing attention to this crime. Many have dedicated themselves to helping other migrant laborers to know and understand their rights and to know where to turn if they experience exploitation.

Survivor advocacy highlights another key partner in this struggle: the public. Today, an Internet search for the term “human trafficking” yields more than 47 million references, including one of the most far-reaching public awareness campaigns, SlaveryFootprint.org. SlaveryFootprint, now expanded to include its companion NGO, MadeInAFreeWorld.org, has educated millions of people around the world about modern forms of slavery and how an individual’s lifestyle and consumer choices contribute to maintaining modern slavery. Such efforts are essential to increasing the public’s knowledge and understanding of how to recognize human trafficking as well as what to do if they see the “red flags” that may indicate a trafficking situation.

While public awareness campaigns alone are not a comprehensive anti-trafficking strategy, governments have an interest in raising awareness of this crime. Increased awareness can prevent some people from becoming victims and build community support for government action to address it. Effective public awareness activities are targeted: they deliver a message designed for a specific audience, using the medium that will reach that audience, and convey a call to action—helping the public to know what to do.

Raising public awareness about human trafficking also helps enhance victim identification. Traffickers maintain control over victims through violence and coercion, threats of harm to them or their families, false promises of future pay for work already done, threats of arrest or deportation with no pay and crippling debt, and manipulation of an individual’s disability or alcohol or drug dependency. Victims are often kept hidden away behind locked doors or chained fences, but they also sometimes come into contact with the public when they are exploited in less confined settings, such as begging on the street or laboring in fields, restaurants, hotels, or construction sites. When the public is aware of the indicators of human trafficking and whom to contact if they see such indicators, victims can more readily be identified and helped. Countless survivors in many countries have been discovered because an interested person recognized their circumstances and contacted authorities. This person can be a neighbor, a school official, or a store owner. And as unsettling as it may be, sex trafficking victims have been helped to leave brothels and strip clubs because a client saw an anti-trafficking message and decided to do the right thing. Public awareness can help break the information monopoly that helps traffickers keep their victims isolated and enslaved.

Myths About Victim Identification

In recent years, some government officials have voiced concern that stepped-up efforts to identify victims of trafficking will have negative consequences. For example, if more victims are identified, it will be interpreted as an upswing in the amount of trafficking in the country or a sign that the government is not doing enough to address it. An increase in the number of victims identified, however, is often considered a measure of progress in efforts to identify trafficking victims, rather than a measure of an increase in trafficking. Efforts to enforce trafficking laws in many countries are quite new and, with training and experience, responsible agencies will identify more cases and successfully investigate and prosecute traffickers and assist victims.

Another concern is that offering a package of protection and assistance to victims of trafficking will promote fraudulent claims that will overwhelm government resources. Countries such as the United States, Belgium, and Italy, which offer comprehensive victim support packages including a reflection period, temporary residence, or even long-term permanent status, have not found false claims to be a problem. Rather, these countries have found that investigations prompted by identification of victims typically result in charges under trafficking statutes and, in those that do not, victims can still be assisted. Rather than leading to fraudulent claims, a robust system of victim protection and immigration benefits appears to bring trafficking victims out of the shadows, and improve law enforcement outcomes.

Effective Victim Identification in Practice: the Victim-Centered Approach

Even after governments have enacted anti-trafficking laws; established protocols, structures, and institutions to implement these laws; and built partnerships to identify victims, they face the challenge of making victim identification successful in practice. That success requires incorporating victim identification into an anti-trafficking strategy in which the plight of victims is recognized, patterns and tactics of traffickers are understood, and victims are offered and ensured protection and assistance. This can only be accomplished if police, labor inspectors, immigration personnel, and others who may come into contact with victims of trafficking are well trained on the characteristics of the crime, its impact on victims, and victim-centered responses. They need to know precisely what steps to take when they recognize modern slavery, and those specific methods and procedures should follow the victim-centered approach that guides all effective anti-trafficking efforts in accordance with the 3P paradigm.

Placing the victim at the center of the prosecution means considering the rights, needs, and requests of the person who has been trafficked before, during, and after an investigation and prosecution. In practice, this approach gains the trust and cooperation of the victim. It begins when a victim is identified and continues through initial steps to establish physical safety and meet the victim’s immediate needs. The victim-centered approach helps prevent secondary victimization that can occur when individuals or agencies do not treat the victim with appropriate sensitivity or, even worse, behave in a heavy-handed manner that resembles the coercive methods of traffickers, risking re-traumatization.

From the fight against domestic violence and sexual abuse over the last 35 years, we have learned much about the effect of long-term victimization and dependency, and the lessons of those efforts have enabled us to understand the needs of trafficking victims and how to incorporate survivors into the process. The physical and emotional injuries that many trafficking victims endure are likely to affect their ability to concentrate, to make sound decisions, to recall events, and to respond to questions about their experiences. It is important that government officials take these factors into consideration when designing and implementing trafficking victim identification protocols. Time to recover in a safe, comfortable place is essential. Victims should also be able to communicate in their own language and be given written information about rights and available services.

Countries that are NOT States Parties to the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking In Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime

Afghanistan
Andorra
Angola
Bangladesh
Barbados
Bhutan
Brunei
Comoros
Congo, Republic of
Czech Republic
Eritrea
Iran
Japan
Korea (DPRK)
Korea, Republic of
Maldives
Nepal
Pakistan
St. Lucia
Sierra Leone
Singapore
Somalia
South Sudan
Sri Lanka
Sudan
Thailand
Uganda
Yemen
Zimbabwe

Interviewing Victims

The determination of whether someone is a victim of human trafficking is usually based on the individual’s account of what happened. Victims, however, often do not provide information about their trafficking experience immediately following law enforcement intervention. In fact, victims who are rescued in a police raid—even in a raid that is carried out well—often suffer from shock and confusion. Trauma may impair their ability to process information and make choices. The threats traffickers used to maintain control may be foremost in their minds. These difficulties often persist through the first few hours, days—even weeks, months, and years—after being freed or escaping, as victims adjust to being outside of their traffickers’ control and reintegrate into society.

Initial high-stakes victim identification by law enforcement is often stymied by months or years of traffickers conditioning victims for that exact moment. Traffickers often coach their victims to lie to the authorities, and convince them that police will arrest them for breaking immigration, prostitution, or labor laws. To victims, a rescue and a raid may actually look like what their traffickers have taught them to expect and their fears combined with the shock of a law enforcement intervention may well lead victims to provide false or misleading information in hopes that by so doing, they are protecting themselves or their families.

Law enforcement, immigration, and other officials who interview victims of trafficking must understand the traumatic impact of being trafficked and factors that influence what a victim may say in response to questioning. It is optimal for this reason that cases are built, whenever possible, on a variety of sources of evidence to take some of the pressure off victims.

More than a decade of experience has revealed effective practices for establishing rapport and conducting interviews with people who may have been victims of trafficking:

• Victims need to feel safe before they will discuss what happened to them, and most victims disclose more details of their experiences over time. Thus, it is important that victims be allowed time to recover from physical, sexual, and psychological injuries in a safe and comfortable place with access to support services. Neither detention with the threat of deportation nor being charged with a crime is conducive to a victim’s disclosure of the trafficking experience.

• Interviews conducted in a safe, private, and comfortable place—not where the exploitation took place and not in the presence of other victims or suspected traffickers—are most effective. An interpreter should be provided, if needed, and victims should be given the opportunity to speak with a victim advocate as soon as possible.

• Interviewers should work to build the trust of the victim. This can be difficult if there is artificial time pressure, as traffickers use fear of authorities as a tactic to maintain control over their victims; victims of trafficking rarely view police as a source of assistance. The interviewer should dress in civilian clothes and make sure any guns or other weapons are hidden from view.

• At the beginning the interviewer should be up-front about who he or she is, what the victim should expect during the interview, what is expected of the victim, whether an interpreter will be used, and the likely duration of the interview. The interviewer should answer the victim’s questions, and provide any other information needed to clarify how the interview will be conducted. The interviewer should ensure that the victim can rely on what the interviewer says.

• Active listening techniques, such as being non-judgmental and non-confrontational, showing empathy, giving the individual time to answer, and not interrupting are helpful.

• Interviewers should provide opportunities for victims to tell their story in their own words, pausing to give them time to formulate their answers, and using a sensitive and caring tone of voice.

Looking Forward

With the relatively small number of victims identified around the world, it will be critical in the years ahead for governments to focus on identification as a critical part of their anti-trafficking efforts. But the approaches described in this Report should not be expected to eliminate trafficking on their own. The techniques described here, when applied effectively, show results. But victim identification is just the first step in a long process of survivor protection. An effective government response must follow through by helping survivors restore the lives they choose.

At the same time, because so much of human trafficking remains hidden in the shadows—so many millions toil unseen—the need for further innovation is clear. In the years ahead, governments and their partners should therefore keep doing what works, but also dedicate themselves to developing and supporting new approaches and practices that will help shine a brighter light on this phenomenon. Part of government’s responsibility in effectively identifying victims—in carrying out all aspects of the fight against modern slavery—is to learn as much as possible about modern slavery and to fill in the vast gaps in knowledge and research about this crime. Those next steps require dedicated leadership and political will at all levels of government—the commitment to move forward with this struggle. With such leadership, the movement to eradicate modern slavery will only continue to gain momentum.



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