To a large extent, anti-trafficking efforts operate without a sufficient evidence-base. Ten yearsafter the unveiling of the United Nation Human Trafficking Protocol there is still a dearth ofreliable information on the scope and nature of this highly globalized crime and horrendous violationof human rights. Information on its dynamics, on its interrelations with other crimes, on thevarious forms, on the trafficking routes, on the modi operandi of the traffickers as well as onhow trafficking in persons affects our societies and hampers good governance, is still limited.Although much money has been spent: hundreds of projects at national, regional and internationallevels have been carried out and recommendations formulated; identification-checklists andstandards for victim protection have been developed; training material has been produced andnational plans of action crafted; countless conferences, symposia, and meetings have beenorganized; a continuing stream of commentators, researchers and analysts have informed on theintricacy of the problem; and, many policy tools have been applied - surprisingly little is knownabout the impact of anti-trafficking responses, efforts, measures and activities.Data collection in the field of human trafficking must be improved. One of the most importantrequirements is to enable (and to fund) the production of qualitative knowledge that is as objectiveas possible. Apart from more specific research into the clandestine side of the crime, evaluationof all anti-trafficking responses, measures and actions must be undertaken.So far, evaluation has been little more than an afterthought and at best conceived as self-editedreporting on project outcomes by governmental and non-governmental actors alike. This is notenough. What is needed, is independent external objective evaluation; evaluation that is basedon professional methodology and standards, informed by trafficking expertise.Evaluation is the single most critical addition necessary to strengthen anti-trafficking work;resources for evaluation must be an integral part of all anti-trafficking projects.This report highlights the importance of comprehensive evaluation, and throws new light onevaluation as an essential means of preventing misdevelopment and – eventually – as an incentiveto avoid pouring good money after bad.
Helga KonradIndependent Consultant on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings