The Senior Policy Operating Group (SPOG), established by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, as amended in 2003, brings together U.S. federal agencies that address all aspects of human trafficking. The following standing committees meet regularly to advance substantive areas of the SPOG’s work: Research & Data, Grantmaking, Public Awareness & Outreach, Victims Services, and Procurement & Supply Chains. The Grantmaking Committee includes representatives of the Departments of State, Justice, Health and Human Services, and Labor and the U.S. Agency of International Development. It assists in planning and coordinating agencies’ domestic and international anti-trafficking program activities, promotes evidence-based programming to build the knowledge base on trafficking in persons, and proposes solutions to enhance anti-trafficking activities.
The term “evidence-based practice” refers to any intervention that can be sourced back to methodologically-sound research demonstrating that it is effective and worthy of application on a large scale. At the present time, the knowledge base on effective anti-trafficking programming is limited. Most U.S. government agencies, however, have made significant progress in supporting research and evaluation of anti-trafficking activities. While the promising practices collected in this document correlate with positive results according to the federal staff who manage or oversee the work, there is not sufficient evaluation data to definitively demonstrate a causal link between the practice and positive outcomes. The federal government is, however, moving in the right direction with increased funding of randomized-controlled trials (RCTs) and other experimental designs.
Determining evidence-based practices among anti-trafficking programs is challenging. Impact evaluations help establish whether there is a causal link between a program or intervention and a set of outcomes; however, performing high-quality impact evaluations requires a significant amount of time, resources, and technical expertise that many counter-trafficking organizations lack. Moreover, impact evaluations should be conducted by independent, outside evaluators. External evaluators’ independence and impartiality make findings more credible, as well as reduce biases and conflicts of interests. Given limited resources and scarce funding streams dedicated to anti-trafficking research and evaluation, many program implementers and donors are not able to fund formal evaluations of all anti-trafficking programs funded through the government.
Furthermore, anti-trafficking evaluations require data that are reliable, valid, and accurate; however, simply enhancing data collection techniques and methodologies is too often insufficient. The challenges of determining evidence-based practices are further compounded by the inherent difficulties of identifying effective, culturally responsive outreach strategies to ethically and equitably engage people with experience of human trafficking in research. In addition, the baseline data on the nature and extent of human trafficking against which to measure future change or program achievements remain largely unavailable. Finally, monitoring yields data that are a critical resource in conducting impact evaluations. Ongoing monitoring efforts are common and enable implementers to assess progress in achieving their objectives. While monitoring plays a key role in project management, it is distinct from evaluation and should be treated as such.
This compendium builds upon the Promising Practice Resource developed by the SPOG Grantmaking Committee in 2012 and reflects a decade of learning in the grantmaking and anti-trafficking field. The U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking, in its 2016 and 2017 annual reports, called on the Grantmaking Committee to identify promising practices along the “3P” – prevention, protection, and prosecution – model that may include survivor-informed, trauma-informed, and culturally competent approaches as described in the “Definitions” section of this resource. In addition, a fourth “P” – for partnership – serves as a complementary means to achieve progress across the 3Ps. The Grantmaking Committee, in collaboration with consultants from the Department of State’s Human Trafficking Expert Consultant Network, developed this framework and solicited submissions from federal grantmaking agencies for inclusion in this resource.
The promising practices detailed in this report highlight programs globally that address all forms of trafficking in persons, including sex and labor trafficking involving adults or children, domestic and international. While this collection of promising practices is by no means exhaustive and only reflects a limited sample of the U.S. government’s grantmaking portfolio, it provides an important starting point upon which to build anti-trafficking programming. Additionally, while the promising practices collected in this document correlate with positive results, there is not sufficient evaluation data to definitively demonstrate a causal link between them and positive outcomes. In reading this resource, the Grantmaking Committee hopes practitioners and other key stakeholders will identify ideas and approaches for combating trafficking that are worth testing in their own countries and communities, and that spur greater collaboration.
Finally, given the scale and scope of the myriad anti-trafficking federal awards made through the federal grantmaking agencies, there is no way for the SPOG to systematically and rigorously evaluate them all without a corresponding increase in dedicated funding to do so. The projects described in this document should be considered examples of promising practices across the 4Ps. Readers are encouraged to further explore human trafficking programs and projects on the SPOG Grantmaking Committee agencies’ websites:
- Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP Office)
- U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
- Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime (OVC)
- Department of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs’ (DOL/ILAB)
- Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Administration for Children and Families (ACF)
Evidence-Based Practice: An evidence-based practice refers to any intervention that can be sourced back to methodologically-sound research demonstrating that it is effective and worthy of application on a large scale.
Promising Practice: A promising practice should be based on evidence or sound programming principles and be complete or near completion. A promising practice will have several of the following characteristics: activity was well-executed and met reasonable goals, reached a good quantity of the appropriate target audience, has the potential to be sustainable, and can be increased in scope without losing impact.
Trauma-Informed Approach: A trauma-informed approach recognizes signs of trauma in individuals and the professionals who help them and responds by integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, practices, and settings, and by seeking to actively resist re-traumatization. This approach includes an understanding of the vulnerabilities and experiences of trauma survivors, including the prevalence and physical, social, and emotional impact of trauma. A trauma-informed approach places priority on restoring the survivor’s feelings of safety, choice, and control. Programs, services, agencies, and communities can be trauma-informed.
Survivor-Informed Approach: A program, policy, intervention, or product that is designed, implemented, and evaluated with intentional leadership, expertise, and input from a diverse community of survivors to ensure that the program, policy, intervention, or product accurately represents their needs, interests, and perceptions.
Cultural Competence: The ability of an individual or organization to interact effectively with people of different cultures. This includes drawing on knowledge of culturally based values, traditions, customs, language, and behavior to plan, implement, and evaluate service activities. Some organizations use the terms “cultural accountability” or “cultural responsiveness.”
U.S. Department of State (State)
The Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP Office) awards grants to combat all forms of human trafficking – including sex trafficking and labor trafficking – according to the “3P” paradigm of prosecuting traffickers, protecting and assisting trafficking victims, and preventing trafficking in persons. A fourth “P” – for partnerships – is also critical to the TIP Office’s work. The Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report provides a diagnostic assessment of the efforts of governments to combat human trafficking and shapes our foreign assistance priorities.
As of September 2022, the TIP Office had 114 open anti-trafficking projects in 95 countries in addition to 15 global projects, totaling more than $222 million. In FY 2022, the TIP Office awarded more than $66 million to fund 52 projects (both new projects and cost extensions for existing projects) worldwide that address both sex and labor trafficking. Programs supported by the TIP Office include projects that build the capacity of actors to identify victims and individuals who are at risk of becoming trafficking victims and projects that train officials and others on the provision of comprehensive, trauma-informed services. TIP Office programs also help prevent human trafficking in global supply chains by funding research and providing assistance to build capacity, increase awareness, and protect vulnerable workers.
Given the scale and scope of TIP Office anti-trafficking projects, there is no way for the SPOG to systematically and rigorously evaluate all of them. The TIP Office offers three examples of programming below and suggests that readers explore the full range of TIP Office anti-trafficking programming and projects on the TIP Office International Programs page. Additional information about the TIP Office’s International Programs and TIP Office funding opportunities is also available.
Uganda Trafficking in Persons Criminal Justice Enhancement
Implementer: Human Trafficking Institute (HTI)
Timeframe: April 2019 – March 2023
Funding Amount: $1,332,290 (including $732,290 cost share)
Project Description: One practice included in HTI’s model to increase victim-centered human trafficking investigations and prosecutions is providing daily technical assistance through embedded specialists (former investigators and prosecutors who have worked human trafficking cases) within Ugandan criminal justice system agencies, including case consultation on individual investigations and prosecutions through in-person and remote guidance on investigative methods, review of evidence, and prosecution strategies. Additionally, embedding an experienced prosecutor in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to provide on-the-job training to officials advances learnings from HTI classroom trainings.
Project Outcome/Results/Impact: HTI’s model to improve Uganda’s response to combat trafficking resulted in the creation of specialized law enforcement anti-trafficking units, the design and roll out of a human trafficking data collection and reporting mechanism, over 601 victims identified and referred to services, 1,272 investigations, and 1,111 prosecutions. Additionally, HTI advanced the concept of plea bargaining as a tool to address the backlog of cases in the court system, resulting in 102 convictions to date.
Promising Practice 4Ps (Prosecution): The promising practice highlighted to advance prosecutions is embedding experts to work with dedicated investigators and prosecutors daily on cases to encourage prosecution-led investigations that stop traffickers and remove victims from exploitation. The other promising practice to advance prosecutions is the introduction and advancement of plea bargaining to address the backlog of cases in the Ugandan court system. Plea bargaining reduces the re-traumatization of victim-witnesses by resolving the case without the victim-witness having to testify and by reducing the length of trials, thereby increasing the number of traffickers convicted and sentenced. The increased convictions, which are a form of accountability for human traffickers, serve as a deterrent to potential traffickers and prevent the traffickers from exploiting more individuals, ultimately reducing the prevalence of the crime. Plea bargaining has also resulted in victim restitution and compensation for many victims, which also helps to alleviate current and future vulnerabilities.
SADC Strengthening Anti-Trafficking Efforts
Implementer: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
Timeframe: December 2011 – June 2016; September 2017 – January 2021
Country/Region: South African Region, including Lesotho
Funding Amount: $98,000 specific to Lesotho
Project Description: The project seeks to ensure counter-trafficking laws in Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states align with the Trafficking in Persons Protocol and the effectiveness of counter-trafficking policies/strategies and action plans. Under this regional initiative, UNODC worked from 2012-2014 with the Government of Lesotho to draft the first National Strategic Framework and Action Plan (NSFAP). In 2018, after the first NSFAP concluded, UNODC facilitated an evaluation and learning session with the Government of Lesotho on the promising practices and lessons learned from the NSFAP’s design and implementation. Drawing on the promising practices and lessons learned from the evaluation and learning session, UNODC supported the Government of Lesotho to develop a more robust second NSFAP, including a monitoring and evaluation system to track progress against targeted indicators.
Project Outcome/Results/Impact: The Government of Lesotho officially launched the first NSFAP in July 2014 and the second NSFAP in April 2021. The efforts to identify promising practices and lessons learned on the action plans in this program led Lesotho to make extensive progress with other foreign assistance funds in line with the goals of their action plan, including allocating a budget for victim support, conducting awareness raising activities, establishing district multisectoral committees, improving identification at points of entry, finalizing Standard Operating Procedures and a National Referral Mechanism, and harnessing partnerships across various departments.
Promising Practice 4Ps (Prevention and Partnership): Change takes time; it may take at least five years to begin to see change and 10 years or more to build on and sustain that change. By establishing a long-term initiative to support the government in establishing a plan, implementing the plan, reviewing the progress, and revising the plan, this fosters a hands-on learning and mentorship approach that can create sustainable long-term change and country ownership over programming deliverables. The incorporation of capacity building through long-term mentorship and monitoring, evaluation, learning, and reporting provides an opportunity to identify promising practices, challenges, and key trends, as well as address those to overcome obstacles to progress in the long-term.
Improving Victim-Centered Investigations and Prosecutions of Human Trafficking Cases in Mongolia
Implementer: The Asia Foundation (TAF)
Timeframe: April 2017 – September 2019
Funding Amount: $750,000
Project Description: TAF partnered with Mongolia’s Law Enforcement University, Mongolia’s official law enforcement training school, to provide trainings on conducting victim-centered trafficking in persons investigations for police cadets. Additionally, TAF trained a pool of master trainers at the Law Enforcement University, ensuring that these trainings would continue to be taught after the end of the project.
Project Outcome/Results/Impact: TAF’s efforts resulted in 1,968 police cadets being trained on victim-centered human trafficking investigations by the end of its program. More importantly, its curriculum continues to be used at the Law Enforcement University, even though the program has ended.
Promising Practice 4Ps (Prosecution): The promising practice highlighted to advance prosecutions is the importance of working with existing training structures. By working directly within existing training frameworks, TAF was able to ensure the long-term sustainability of its project, as well as secure the active commitment of the host government.
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
Since 2001, U.S. Agency for International Development has provided more than $340 million in assistance to 83 countries and regions to fight human trafficking. USAID integrates its counter-trafficking efforts across USAID Bureaus and sectors in coordination with U.S. Government interagency and external stakeholders. USAID’s Counter-Trafficking in Persons (C-TIP) approach follows the 4Ps: prevention of trafficking, protection of victims and survivors, prosecution of traffickers, and partnerships for a strengthened response.
Given the scale and scope of USAID anti-trafficking projects, there was no way for the SPOG to systematically and rigorously evaluate all of them. USAID offers four examples of programming below and suggests that readers explore the full range of USAID counter-trafficking programming and projects on USAID’s website. Information about USAID Funding Opportunities is also available.
Mali Justice Project (MJP)
Implementer: Checchi and Company Consulting
Timeframe: March 2016 – March 2023
Funding Amount: 31,880,958 ($800,000 C-TIP)
Project Description: The Mali Justice Program works with the formal and informal justice sectors and civil society to advance institutional reforms, increase access to justice, and reduce corruption, ultimately to enhance delivery of justice services in Mali. This project includes improving the capacities of key justice sector institutions and increasing availability of information and assistance related to legal services, citizen rights, and justice reforms. The program also provides targeted legal and advocacy services along key trade routes to reduce the level of corruption; and it incorporates education materials in paralegal training curricula to enhance community sensitization and policy advocacy on trafficking in persons.
Project Outcome/Results/Impact: Key achievements have included the reform of the Code of Criminal Procedure and Criminal Code; the drafting of the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) Orientation and Programming Act; and the adoption by the MOJ of human resources management tools and public financial control mechanisms. Nearly 700 paralegals have been trained and deployed in ten regions of Mali; and more than 250,000 people have been reached through awareness campaigns, legal information and advice, referral to specialized institutions, and dispute resolution services. MJP has also created regional platforms for fighting corruption and promoting the free circulation of persons and goods. For example, bureaux de plaidoyer citoyen (BPCs) in Sikasso and Koury are serving as a resource for citizens who have witnessed or been subject to corruption at borders, where control agents are being trained to identify and report suspected cases of human trafficking or payments to facilitate the movement of trafficking victims. A national framework has been created by MJP to assist its partners in advocating to national authorities about corruption issues in commercial corridors.
Promising Practices 4Ps (Prevention, Protection, Prosecution, and Partnership): The promising practice highlighted to advance prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnership is to leverage community members’ expertise to promote community buy-in and facilitate an environment where community members work together to combat human trafficking. MJP counters human trafficking through training for judicial and non-judicial actors, legal assistance for trafficking victims, anti-trafficking legislative reforms, and institutional support to the government through the national committee for the fight against trafficking in persons. In addition to raising awareness of human trafficking at the community level through outreach by paralegals, MJP trains citizen groups to improve identification of and reporting on trafficking and supports civil society organizations to engage with the government in policy advocacy on trafficking-related issues. Through grants to national nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), MJP brought legal assistance to the victims of trafficking in persons.
Ghana Fisheries Recovery Activity (GFRA)
Implementer: Tetra Tech ARD
Timeframe: May 2021- May 2026
Funding Amount: $17,881,665 ($200,000 C-TIP per year)
Project Description: The Ghana Fisheries Recovery Activity establishes a durable basis for the recovery of the small pelagic fisheries sector, building on existing cooperation to combat child labor and trafficking in the coastal regions where it is most prevalent. While building effective cooperation between local government, community structures, and activists on district planning and budgets, the activity addresses the socio-economic drivers of child labor and trafficking by promoting improved prevention, detection, social welfare, and livelihoods for vulnerable households.
Project Outcome/Results/Impact: A key practice in accomplishing this goal is empowering the Ghanian government with reliable information. In 2022, GFRA conducted a child labor and trafficking vulnerability assessment to explore and understand the nature, scope, and drivers of child labor and trafficking in Ghana’s fishing communities. The assessment highlighted that poverty and child labor and trafficking in fishing communities form a vicious cycle; without tackling one, the other cannot be eradicated. Through its close relationships with communities and community leaders in Ghana’s fishing sector, GFRA is uniquely positioned to address children’s vulnerability to child labor and trafficking. The assessment laid the foundation for GFRA’s anti- child labor and trafficking interventions, which include: supporting Zonal Officers in the Fisheries Commission to mainstream child labor and trafficking prevention and response in their activities; working with fisher associations, community leaders and relevant state institutions to form circles of support for child labor and trafficking prevention and response; developing audio-visual materials on child labor and trafficking prevention and response; and hosting local media discussions and broadcasting jingles on child labor and trafficking prevention and response.
Promising Practices 4Ps (Prevention and Partnership): The promising practice highlighted to advance prevention is to promote financial inclusion by identifying and implementing diversified livelihoods and supporting actors throughout the value chain to improve their products to reinforce socioeconomic well-being. The promising practice to advance partnership is to advance good governance of the targeted sector by helping institutionalize resource laws, regulations, and programs and strengthen the ability of key beneficiaries – including women and youth – to manage and build a more sustainable sector.
Safe Migration in Central Asia
Implementer: Winrock International
Timeframe: September 2019 – September 2024
Country/Region: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
Funding Amount: $15,000,000
Project Description: The Safe Migration in Central Asia project strengthens the mutual accountability of all stakeholders, including governments, NGOs, and the private sector, to become more self-reliant in efforts to prevent trafficking in persons, protect survivors of human trafficking, and promote safe migration.
Project Outcome/Results/Impact: From 2020-2021, the project, alongside its NGO partners, reached over 700,000 people across the region by raising awareness of migrant issues through virtual events; trained more than 600 government and civil society employees on how to effectively respond to human trafficking cases; and provided humanitarian assistance and pro bono legal advice to nearly 2,000 migrants who faced difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Promising Practices 4Ps (Protection, Prevention, Prosecution, and Partnership): The promising practices highlighted to advance protection, prevention, prosecution, and partnerships are to promote survivor empowerment; work with local groups, community leaders, and governments to improve data and policies; influence social norms to decrease trafficking risks; and establish systems and services that protect at-risk groups.
Implementer: Winrock International
Timeframe: September 2017 – September 2027
Funding Amount: $12,000,000
Project Description: The project aims to reduce trafficking in persons and to better protect the rights of trafficked persons in Thailand by reducing demand and incentives for using trafficked labor, empowering at-risk populations to safeguard their rights, and strengthening protection systems for survivors. Thailand CTIP prioritizes sectors most vulnerable to human trafficking, including the fishing sector, to address trafficking risks in partnership with companies working in targeted provinces. One component of the project incorporates activities driving positive change in the seafood and fishing industry by partnering with Mars Petcare to support sustainable and ethical practices. The partnership is piloting a communication technology to improve connectivity and safety for fishers while at sea, establishing an effective response protocol for the industry, and promoting industry adoption of ethical recruitment practices.
Project Outcome/Results/Impact: The pilot, which began in late 2020, is already generating promising small-scale results. The team installed connectivity equipment on 20 recruited vessels and equipped 45 users – owners, captains, clerks, and workers. Vessel owners recognize that the new solution enhances their business communication as well as workers’ safety and well-being by keeping them connected. The partnership is also developing a digital platform to help migrant workers from Cambodia and Burma navigate the processes required to work legally in Thailand. Through this application, migrant fishers are able to store their work documents on their phones, facilitating access to legal protection and appropriate services. Also, a Migrant Workers Development Center was established in Phuket in early 2020 with grantee, the Diocesan Social Action Centre. This fisher center supports the connectivity-at-sea pilot by responding to incoming communications from workers on vessels, providing information about worker’s rights to vessel workers and owners remotely and in the port, and serving as a resource on fair labor for relevant stakeholders. As a result, workers at sea are able to stay connected to their families and report information, while digital tools and increased connectivity create a pathway for more legal employment – all of which prevent trafficking in persons.
Promising Practices 4Ps (Prevention, Protection, and Partnership): The promising practice highlighted to advance prevention, protection, and partnership is to focus on the private sector and use technology to empower workers vulnerable to human trafficking. This project promotes an industry-wide effort to improve the safety and well-being of workers and reduce their vulnerability to human trafficking and exploitation. At-risk groups are empowered through strengthened access to reliable information and tools.
U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
The U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) is committed to enhancing the Nation’s capacity to assist crime victims and to providing leadership in changing attitudes, policies, and practices to promote justice and healing for all victims of crime. To enhance capacity to identify and assist all victims of human trafficking, OVC leads the nation in supporting victim-centered and trauma-informed programs, policies, and resources that promote justice, access, and empowerment.
As of October 1, 2022, OVC manages more than 500 anti-trafficking awards totaling more than $350 million, which is the largest amount of funding across the federal government dedicated to responding to human trafficking. Most of OVC’s anti-trafficking funding authorized through the Trafficking Victims Protection Act is dedicated to developing, expanding, or strengthening victim service programs for victims of trafficking. OVC strives to provide all survivors access to safe shelter, advocacy services, counseling, and other assistance without exclusions based on actual or perceived sex, age, immigration status, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, mental health condition, physical health condition, criminal record, involvement in commercial sex, income or lack of income, or the age and/or sex of their children.
OVC anti-trafficking programs support the delivery of direct services such as case management, housing, and legal assistance, as well as multidisciplinary collaboration and state-level approaches to identifying and serving victims of human trafficking. In addition, through contracts and cooperative agreements, OVC manages a broad array of training and technical assistance for anti-trafficking victim service providers, law enforcement, and allied professionals, with a focus on enhancing the quality and quantity of services available to trafficking victims and building capacity. To ensure effective and responsive anti-trafficking programming and policies, OVC engages in ongoing interagency and intra-agency collaboration and seeks out opportunities to learn from survivors, service providers, and other frontline stakeholders throughout the country. Additionally, OVC collects comprehensive performance measures from its grantees and works closely with the National Institute of Justice to support anti-trafficking research and evaluation.
Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) Program
Implementer: OVC’s training and technical assistance providers
Timeframe: Ongoing; 36-month award periods
Country/Region: United States
Funding Amount: Varies by fiscal year and purpose area
Project Description: Through its cadre of TTA providers, OVC provides practitioner-driven, evidence-based TTA that is responsive to the specific needs of victim service providers and system stakeholders, their communities, and the victims they serve. These providers strengthen the victim assistance responses to human trafficking, support multidisciplinary task forces and cross-sector collaboration, and build stakeholder capacity and leadership in identifying human trafficking victims and connecting them to services. While the focus area and target audiences vary, OVC’s TTA providers seek to implement survivor-informed, trauma-informed, and evidence-based projects in a variety of ways. One illustrative example is provided below, but more information about particular TTA projects is available on OVC’s website and/or the TTA project website. Project TRUST (Trauma Response to Uplift Survivors of Trafficking) is a national training and technical assistance (TTA) program funded by DOJ/OVC that supports agencies as they integrated a trauma-informed approach. It was a partnership between USCRI, The Sanar Institute, and Brandeis University’s Institute for Economic and Racial Equity. Project TRUST offered regular peer-to-peer engagement events, specialized webinars, and individualized training and technical assistance. The Project TRUST team created a library of resources to support service providers, published key findings, and helped organizations to think creatively about how to solicit meaningful input from clients in every aspect of service delivery.
Project Outcome/Results/Impact: Over the course of the project period, Project TRUST developed and delivered a broad range of training and technical assistance to the anti-trafficking field. These include the Building and Integrating Trauma-Informed Engagement in Direct Service Delivery, a self-guided intensive training on integrating trauma-informed responses into work with trafficking survivors; 58 tailored technical assistance supports; 10 webinars averaging 185 attendees per webinar; and the publication of several resources, such as the Human Trafficking Outreach Toolkit. A final report, Project TRUST Report: Trauma-Informed Practice in the Field: Recommendations for Human Trafficking Service Providers, presents recommendations for providers and organizations, TTA providers, and policymakers to improve the implementation of trauma-informed practices that support human trafficking survivors.
Promising Practices 4Ps (Protection and Partnership): The promising practices highlighted to advance protection and partnership are to provide concrete support to service providers assisting trafficking survivors across the country; to conduct a landscape analysis of service provision practices, challenges, and opportunities and to publish key findings; and to help organizations to understand the impact of trauma on service delivery through a partnership between implementing organizations and the Project TRUST Advisory Council.
Promising Practices for Trauma-Informed, and Survivor-Informed Approach: The promising practice highlighted to advance trauma-informed approaches is to give victim service providers practical tools on how to be trauma-informed in their day-to-day work with human trafficking survivors. This ranges from practical guidance on developing trauma-informed outreach materials to considerations for trauma-informed service delivery in virtual settings to an in-depth, on-demand virtual learning exploring trauma, trauma responses, and recommended approaches. The promising practices highlighted to advance survivor-informed approaches are utilizing feedback from survivor focus groups and an Advisory Council composed of representatives from across the country; promoting the inclusion of survivors with different experiences and backgrounds; compensating survivor members at a standard consultancy rate; accommodating survivors’ partners and staff as other subject matter experts to be compensated; and accommodating survivors who wish to remain anonymous.
Services for Victims of Human Trafficking Program
Implementer: OVC’s anti-trafficking victim services grantees
Timeframe: Ongoing; 36-month award periods
Country/Region: United States
Funding Amount: Varies by fiscal year and purpose area
Project Description: The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 authorized funding for DOJ to support organizations to develop, expand, or strengthen victim service programs for victims of human trafficking, positioning OVC to provide national leadership in victim identification and assistance; OVC made its first anti-trafficking awards under the act in 2003. Activities include provision of a broad range of services to meet the individualized needs of victims of human trafficking; collaboration with and training for local partners to ensure trafficking victims are properly identified and referred for appropriate services; assistance or referrals to other essential services for victims of human trafficking; and data collection and participation in evaluation activities to determine if the program is meeting stated goals and objectives.
Project Outcome/Results/Impact: For the one-year period from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022, 157 OVC grantee organizations implementing 192 awards providing direct services to trafficking victims across the country reported 5,620 new clients who began receiving OVC-funded services for trafficking victims and 10,770 existing clients from previous reporting periods who required ongoing services. The 16,390 total clients represent an increase from the 10,070 clients reported by OVC grantees in the previous 12 months. Also, for the one-year period from July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022, grantees implementing these 192 awards reported conducting 1,967 trainings and training 68,058 professionals representing schools and educational institutions, medical and public health providers, victim-service providers, social-service providers, and state and local law enforcement agencies.
Promising Practices 4Ps (Protection and Partnership): The promising practice to advance protection and partnership is to enhance victims’ access to diverse services that victims of labor and sex trafficking often require to address their needs and to increase the quality and quantity of the identified specialized service to assist victims of all forms of human trafficking.
Promising Practices for Trauma-Informed, Survivor-Informed, and Culturally Competent Approach: The promising practice to advance trauma-informed, survivor-informed, and culturally competent approaches is to allow organizations the flexibility to develop and implement victim services programs that reflect the specific needs of survivors in their community. Grantees may implement a range of trauma-informed approaches, from peer support or mentoring programs to case management practices centered on empowerment and choice. Likewise, programs may be survivor-informed in a variety of ways, from survivor advisory boards to staff with lived experience. Finally, grantees under this program engage in culturally responsive practices. For example, grantees dedicate funds to support language access, and during the July 2019-June 2020 reporting period, over 14,000 incidents of services were provided specifically for interpreter/translator services. By allowing grantees to propose the approaches that best meet the needs of their community, by encouraging grantees to remove barriers to services, and by not setting time limits to services, OVC supports all three approaches.
U.S. Department of Labor
The Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs’ (DOL/ILAB) is currently funding 19 international grants worth $100.5 million to support projects to combat human trafficking, including forced labor and human trafficking involving children. ILAB-funded projects address abusive labor practices in global supply chains and promote trade partners’ compliance with the labor requirements of U.S. trade agreements and preference programs. DOL/ILAB conducts performance evaluations of all its projects combating child labor and human trafficking, including forced labor, and has learned many lessons from these evaluations. Since it is not possible to describe all of the results of DOL/ILAB’s projects here, DOL/ILAB offers five examples drawn from some of its past and current programming below and encourages readers to explore DOL/ILAB’s online repository for project-related information, known as the Knowledge Portal. Information about DOL funding opportunities is also available.
Consolidating and Disseminating Efforts to Combat Forced Labor in Brazil and Peru (Brazil/Peru forced labor project)
Implementer: International Labor Organization (ILO)
Timeframe: December 2012 – December 2018
Country/Region: Brazil and Peru
Funding Amount: $6,800,000
Project Description: The Brazil/Peru forced labor project strengthened efforts to address forced labor in Brazil and Peru. In Brazil, the project supported the Projeto Ação Integrada (PAI), a state-of-the-art program to assist individuals and communities vulnerable to forced labor in Mato Grosso state.
Project Outcome/Results/Impact: The project provided employment and livelihood opportunities to more than 1,000 workers and households vulnerable to forced labor. As a result of PAI’s success in Mato Grosso, the states of Bahia, Maranhão, and Rio de Janeiro set up similar programs. In October 2021, the Brazilian government adopted PAI’s roadmap to provide social services to forced labor survivors as a national policy. A 2017 independent livelihood assessment funded by DOL found that PAI participants increased their access to formal jobs and secured stable incomes as a result of their participation in the program. The employment rate among participants rose from 31 percent at the start of the program to 51 percent at the end. Through the program, more participants became involved in work in the formal sector, from 28 percent at the beginning to 44 percent at the end. According to the assessment, PAI’s awareness-raising component had a long-term impact beyond employment and income. Program participants reported that knowing about their labor and human rights will help them cope better with economic crises and prevent reentry into forced labor.
Promising Practices 4Ps (Protection): The promising practice highlighted to increase protection is to integrate formal employment and livelihood opportunities as part of protection services offered to survivors while conducting prevention activities at the individual, household, and community levels. Using the PAI roadmap developed by the project, PAI combined vocational training, entrepreneurship opportunities, and the creation of cooperatives with raising awareness about labor and human rights and psychological services to forced labor survivors.
From Protocol to Practice: A Bridge to Global Action on Forced Labor (The Bridge Project)
Timeframe: September 2015 – March 2023
Country/Region: Malaysia, Mauritania, Niger, Nepal, Peru, and Uzbekistan
Funding Amount: $18,745,138
Project Description: The Bridge Project seeks to effectively eliminate traditional forced labor systems and to significantly reduce contemporary forms of forced labor. The project contributes to strengthening global efforts to eliminate forced labor by improving countries’ capacity to address the issue through awareness-raising, policy and legal reform, improved enforcement, research and data collection, partnerships with workers and employers, and increased access to remedies for forced labor victims.
- Within two months of training, each trainee from the national agency responsible for land transport in Peru had identified an average of 10 cases for investigation, using the ILO indicators of forced labor and related crimes.
- The project’s collaboration with social media influencers in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Malaysia on social media videos covering different indicators of forced labor resulted in the videos being played 97,843 times, shared 472 times, and attracted 7,879 likes and 265 comments in the first month.
- In Mauritania, social dialogues increased workers’ and employers’ awareness of the problem; by incorporating forced labor into their negotiations, the parties increased their institutional commitment to action to prevent and protect workers from forced labor.
Promising Practices 4Ps (Protection and Prevention): The promising practice to advance protection and prevention is partnering with a broad range of organizations and communities, including those not typically enlisted in efforts to address forced labor, to expand the project’s reach and impact. Another promising practice to advance prevention is the use of negotiation, consultation, and information exchange between representatives of workers and employers to establish standards for working conditions that will reduce forced labor risks.
Nepal and China, Vulnerability to Child Labor and Forced Labor: Experimental Interventions Using Mass Media to Change Norms and Behaviors
Implementer: Dr. Cecilia Mo, University of California, Berkeley
Timeframe: December 2014 – June 2020
Country/Region: Nepal and Hong Kong
Funding Amount: $999,993
Project Description: The project included three studies that used a randomized-controlled trial evaluation methodology to examine the effects of various mass media campaigns on norms and behaviors related to vulnerability to human trafficking, including forced labor, in Nepal and Hong Kong.
Project Outcome/Results/Impact: The studies demonstrated that awareness-raising campaigns can be effective tools in changing knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors regarding human trafficking, but that some changes may be short lived. The studies also showed that changes vary across targeted populations and that some messages and formats are more effective than others. Two studies in Nepal found messages focused on empowerment generally performed better than fear-based messages. One of the studies in Nepal found stories that described how individuals became trafficked resulted in an increase in victim-blaming among police. A third study in Hong Kong found that for the general population, a video campaign had a larger effect than a poster, and that the effects were more pronounced for employers of migrant domestic workers than for the remainder of the general population. The largest impacts were on increasing knowledge about human trafficking, including forced labor.
Promising Practices 4Ps (Prevention): These research projects highlight two promising practices to promote the prevention of human trafficking. The first is conducting randomized-controlled trials to enable researchers to determine whether an intervention caused or contributed to a particular outcome, and in this case, allow the anti-trafficking community to assess what works to prevent these crimes. The other promising practice is the use of empowerment messages in awareness-raising campaigns rather than fear-based messages.
Paraguay Okakuaa (Paraguay Progresses)
Implementer: Partners of the Americas
Timeframe: November 2015 – September 2021
Funding Amount: $7,499,558
Project Description: In partnership with the Paraguayan Ministry of Labor, Paraguay Okakuaa strengthened the enforcement of labor laws in agriculture in the Department of Guairá and provided educational and livelihood opportunities for families vulnerable to child labor in indigenous communities, particularly young women. In 2018, in response to an increase in the government’s political will to address forced labor, the project expanded efforts in the Chaco, a significant cattle and beef exporting region.
Project Outcome/Results/Impact: Paraguay Okakuaa provided almost 3,500 children with educational services, over 1,500 households with services to improve their livelihoods, and over 2,000 adults with employment or business training. As part of its outreach to indigenous communities, Paraguay Okakuaa and the Ministry of Labor provided information to workers about where to file complaints of labor violations. A newly established Ministry of Labor office in the Chaco went from receiving no visitors to fielding dozens of complaints about issues such as unpaid wages. The office received more than 100 workers who visited to lodge a complaint or learn about their labor rights during a year. Of the 65 cases of labor rights violations reported, two went to court, and the Ministry of Labor worked with employers and workers to resolve all other cases. The project developed the Espacios para Crecer curriculum that was adapted to the context and published in the indigenous languages of Guaraní and Nivaclé, opening the opportunity for hundreds of indigenous children in Paraguay to participate in the program with the potential to reach many more. In partnership with the Paraguayan Ministry of Labor, Paraguay Okakuaa developed awareness-raising campaigns on labor rights to reach a wide range of communities in the Chaco. As an example of the awareness-raising activities, Paraguay Okakuaa ran radio spots on decent work in nine different languages in the Chaco.
Promising Practices 4Ps (Prevention): The promising practice highlighted to advance prevention is to conduct outreach to marginalized communities.
Promising Practices for Culturally Competent Approach: The promising practice highlighted to advance cultural competence is to publish information and material in the languages of marginalized populations.
Forced Labor Indicator Project (FLIP)
Timeframe: December 2017 – September 2023
Country/Region: Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire
Funding Amount: $4,362,897
Project Description: The Forced Labor Indicator Project builds the capacity of governments, businesses, worker organizations, and civil society organizations to prevent, detect, and eliminate forced labor in supply chains. The project is helping expand and improve coordination around ongoing labor trafficking enforcement efforts in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. By putting the right tools in the hands of labor inspectors, business owners, workers, and service providers, the project is advancing greater supply chain transparency and accountability to ensure that production of cocoa, coffee, gold, and palm oil are free of exploitative labor. Verité is enhancing the ILO’s common framework on forced labor indicators by creating educational resources on forced labor; offering trainings on forced labor; consulting with stakeholders on the integration of forced labor indicators into monitoring systems; and training government labor inspectors.
Project Outcome/Results/Impact: A free online learning resource for FLIP launched in May 2020 features two courses: the Forced Labor Frameworks course, which lays the foundation for understanding forced labor as defined by international and local law; and the ILO Forced Labor Indicators course, which explains the ILO’s forced labor indicators, how the indicators can be operationalized, and how they relate to root causes of forced labor vulnerability. The project has trained 91 civil society and trade union members, 82 government representatives, and 84 private sector individuals in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire on how to identify and assess instances of forced labor. The project also developed an interactive, virtual training-of-trainers curriculum on forced labor in collaboration with the national government. Ten labor inspector trainers were trained in Ghana and those trainers trained all 160 current labor inspectors. Outside of the labor inspectorate, an additional 72 trainers were trained.
Promising Practices 4Ps (Partnership): The promising practice highlighted to advance partnership is the localized and non-sectoral adaptation of the ILO indicator-based framework and the integration of this framework into existing monitoring and enforcement systems. The project used qualitative and quantitative indicators of forced labor currently present in the cocoa, palm oil, and gold mining sectors of Ghana and in the cocoa and coffee sectors of Côte d’Ivoire to develop the project’s streamlined approach to non-sectoral forced labor monitoring. FLIP integrated this approach into existing systems and efforts, which encouraged coordination among stakeholders and provided labor inspectors with the tools and training they needed. Through this integrated approach, the project promoted a common understanding of the framework on forced labor indicators as well as scalable, streamlined models for monitoring and enforcement.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
The Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families’ (ACF) Office on Trafficking in Persons (OTIP) is responsible for the development of anti-trafficking strategies, policies, and programs to prevent human trafficking, build health and human service capacity to respond to human trafficking, increase victim identification and access to services, and strengthen health and well-being outcomes of trafficking survivors. OTIP advises the Assistant Secretary by providing subject-matter expertise and leadership of ACF’s anti-trafficking activities. OTIP collaborates with federal partners and other stakeholders to raise public awareness, identify research priorities for ACF’s anti-trafficking work, and make policy recommendations to enhance anti-trafficking responses. OTIP operates through three programmatic divisions focused on protection, prevention, and research and policy. As of November 2022, OTIP is funding 43 anti-trafficking programs across the United States totaling $25,092,291 million.
Given the scale and scope of OTIP anti-trafficking projects, there was no way for the SPOG to systematically and rigorously evaluate all of them. OTIP offers four programming examples and suggests readers explore the full range of OTIP programs and funding opportunities on OTIP’s website.
Trafficking Victims Assistance Program (TVAP)
Implementer: U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI)
Timeframe: September 2018 – September 2022
Country/Region: United States
FY 2021 Funding Amount: $14,240,131
Project Description: OTIP funds the Trafficking Victim Assistance Program (TVAP) to provide national coverage through three separate regional grants: TVAP ACF Regions 1-4, 5-8, and 9-10. TVAP funds case management services and other assistance for foreign national adults and minors who have experienced trafficking and are pursuing HHS certification. The grantee provides assistance through a network of sub-recipients throughout the country.
Project Outcome/Results/Impact: OTIP has observed a steady increase in the number of victims served through TVAP, particularly minor victims. From FY 2019 to FY 2020, OTIP observed a 113 percent increase in the number of minors served through TVAP. In response to the rising number of minors and youth referred to TVAP services, USCRI developed two specific resources for this population, including the Safety Planning with Foreign National Children and Youth Survivors of Trafficking, and the Trauma-Informed Case Management with Foreign National Children and Youth Survivors of Trafficking. Additionally, in FY 2022, OTIP launched the Aspire: Child Trafficking Victim Assistance Demonstration Program, to provide national coverage of comprehensive case management and other supportive services to foreign national children, with a new cohort of grant recipients delivering services in FY 2023. The existing TVAP program now focuses more directly on serving foreign national adult victims of trafficking.
Table 1: Trafficking Victims Served
|Fiscal Year||Total Victims Served||Adult Victims Served||Child Victims Served|
- FY18 to FY19 Percentage Increase in Total Number of Minor Victims Served: 37%
- FY19 to FY20 Percentage Increase in Total Number of Minor Victims Served: 113%
- FY20 to FY21 Percentage Increase in Total Number of Minor Victims Served: 66%
- FY21 to FY22 Percentage Increase in Total Number of Minor Victims Served: 75%
Promising Practices 4Ps (Protection): The promising practice highlighted to advance protection is to prioritize safety as central when working with human trafficking survivors. Participants define safety for themselves while providers guide participants in addressing physical and emotional safety in their environments. It is critical to work collaboratively in an ongoing, age-appropriate way when working with youth human trafficking survivors. These toolkits explore ways to assess the safety of foreign national youth, detail tips and tools to recognize and respond to crisis situations, and provide age-appropriate strategies for maintaining physical and emotional safety in early childhood and in children and adolescent youth.
Promise Practices for Trauma-Informed Approach: The promising practice highlighted to apply a trauma-informed approach is to interweave safety, trustworthiness and transparency, peer support, collaboration and mutuality, empowerment, voice and choice, and cultural, historical, and gender issues throughout case management with youth survivors of human trafficking. These toolkits explore the various ways that programs serving foreign national minors can best respond to the complex needs and realities of foreign national children who have been trafficked. USCRI provides a flexible framework for working with children who have been trafficked based upon the principles of trauma-informed care. They use notes, tips, and checklists to provide practical strategies that can be applied throughout the case management process.
Domestic Victims of Human Trafficking – Services and Outreach (DVHT-SO) Program
Implementer: J Bar J Youth Services
Timeframe: September 2020 – September 2023
Country/Region: United States/Central Oregon
FY 21 Funding Amount: $260,000
Project Description: OTIP funds the Domestic Victims of Human Trafficking – Services and Outreach (DVHT-SO) Program to build, expand, and sustain organizational and local capacity to deliver services to domestic victims of severe forms of human trafficking through the provision of comprehensive case management; outreach efforts to increase identification of victims of sex and labor trafficking; and training to service providers and community partners. J Bar J Youth Services serves as a member and co-chair of their local Continuum of Care (CoC), networks of people and organizations who help individuals and families secure transitional and permanent housing in a locally defined geographic area. CoCs establish coordinated entry systems to connect people experiencing homelessness with housing and services efficiently and effectively.
Project Outcome/Results/Impact: J Bar J Youth Services seamlessly implemented new U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Emergency Housing Vouchers made available to individuals fleeing human trafficking in the summer of 2021. They have placed six survivors using Emergency Housing Vouchers and have nine survivors with vouchers searching for housing. They plan to continue as long as vouchers are available.
Promising Practices 4Ps (Protection and Partnership): The promising practice to advance protection is to ensure stable, affordable, and safe housing for human trafficking survivors, especially when they are fleeing trafficking or are otherwise in crisis. This directly contributes to the security, economic mobility, education, and health of individuals and families. Housing affordability and stability also allows individuals and families to build savings and invest in themselves and in their communities. The promising practice related to partnership is to develop and engage in local networks of people and organizations who coordinate to help individuals and families secure housing and services.
Promising Practices for Trauma-Informed Approach: The promising practice highlighted to apply a trauma-informed approach is to place priority on assisting survivors to obtain safety, choice, and control through seamless access to Emergency Housing Vouchers for trafficking survivors. This is often the first critical step to reduce exposure to community violence and risk for exploitation, including human trafficking.
National Human Trafficking Hotline
Timeframe: September 2020 – September 2025
Country/Region: United States
FY 21 Funding Amount: $3,500,000
Project Description: The National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH) is a 24/7, confidential, multilingual hotline that provides information and referrals in more than 200 languages for potential victims, survivors, service providers, and community members to make requests for urgent assistance, receive and report tips to law enforcement about potential trafficking situations, and to make referrals to community-based organizations for assistance. Signals can take the form of calls, texts, online tip forms, live web chats, or emails.
Project Outcome/Results/Impact: Since its inception, calls to the NHTH have increased from an average of 200 per month in 2005 to 8,669 calls per month in 2019. After OTIP’s establishment in 2015, the number of potential victims and trafficking cases identified by the NHTH increased by 39 percent and 37 percent, respectively, as compared to the prior fiscal year. The NHTH continuously improves both its offerings and approaches to reach and identify potential victims. In FY 2020 and FY 2021, during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, the NHTH received record high numbers of incoming communications from potential victims. In FY 2022, signals from potential victims returned to pre-pandemic levels; the NHTH responded to 10,190 signals from potential victims, identified 16,775 potential victims and 10,013 potential trafficking cases, and reported 2,531 cases to law enforcement.
Table 2: Potential Victims
from Potential Victims
Promising Practices 4Ps (Protection and Partnership): The promising practice to advance protection and partnership is to provide crisis planning for individuals who are experiencing human trafficking and connect them with service providers across the country, including recipients of federal anti-trafficking grants. Service seekers and providers may contact the NHTH for referral information or may access the National Human Trafficking Referral Directory on the NHTH website to access local support.
Promising Practices for Trauma-Informed Approach: The promising practice to advance a trauma-informed approach is to ensure staff are trained in trauma-informed best practices, including protecting callers’ confidentiality, preventing re-traumatization, and providing linguistically responsive services.
Human Trafficking Youth Prevention Education (HTYPE) Demonstration Program
Implementer: DeKalb County School District
Timeframe: September 2020 – September 2023
Country/Region: Georgia, United States
FY 2021 Funding Amount: $600,000
Project Description: The Human Trafficking Youth Prevention Education (HTYPE) Demonstration Program funds local educational agencies (LEAs) to develop and implement programs to prevent human trafficking victimization through the provision of skills-based human trafficking training and education for school staff and students. LEAs are tasked with developing and implementing a Human Trafficking School Safety Protocol (HTSSP) in collaboration with local law enforcement that facilitates reporting trafficking concerns to the appropriate authorities, notifying parents, guardians, and caregivers, when appropriate; and referring students to supportive, person-centered, trauma-informed, culturally responsive, and linguistically appropriate services. DeKalb County School District (DCSD) is an LEA serving Georgia’s most diverse county and is Georgia’s third largest school system.
Project Outcome/Results/Impact: To date, DCSD has 133 schools implementing HTYPE for Educators and other staff, including 19 high schools implementing HTYPE for Students. DCSD has trained over 5,600 students and 22,000 educators and other staff under the HTYPE program. They have identified 6 students through the HTSSP as potential victims of human trafficking.
Promising Practices 4Ps (Protection and Partnership): The promising practice to advance protection and partnership is to establish a cohesive strategy, with the support of a partnered NGO and other key stakeholders, to provide comprehensive human trafficking education to students and school staff. DCSD partnered with Love146 to implement the Not a Number curricula, which was the only trafficking curricula given the highest possible rating by the Georgia Statewide Human Trafficking Task Force (GSHTTF). DCSD also partnered with their Department of Public Safety (DPS), which is the local law enforcement agency with jurisdiction in the 18 high schools implementing the Not a Number curricula and HTSSP.
Promising Practices for Trauma-Informed Approach: The promising practice to advance a trauma-informed approach is to create and implement a Human Trafficking School Safety Protocol (HTSSP) for handling suspected and confirmed cases of human trafficking in a person-centered, trauma-informed, and culturally and linguistically appropriate manner. The LEA engages law enforcement in the development of the HTSSP specifically to address the safety, security, and well-being of staff and students and to define the proper and effective role of school staff in responding to potential and confirmed cases of human trafficking, including notifying and engaging parents, guardians, or caregivers, as appropriate.