Preventing Human Trafficking – What Have We Learned?

Regional Workshop on Human Trafficking Prevention in the Context of Increased Connectivity and Mobility in Asia
11 May 2011 ADB Headquarters
The views expressed in this paper are the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), or its Board of Governors, or the governments they represent. ADB does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this paper and accepts no responsibility for any consequence of their use. The countries listed in this paper do not imply any view on ADB's part as to sovereignty or independent status or necessarily conform to ADB's terminology.

Just among trafficking prevention interventions we have, for example…
Mass Media

Awareness raising

Community level Government officials At destination Micro-credit Vocational Training Scholarships Pledges to keep children in school Migrant Information Reporting Trafficking Improved migration policies Protection at destination

Income generation/ poverty alleviation Education

Safe Migration Labor management Border/ transportation management

Workplace Inspections
Monitor recruitment companies Border interception Out-reach at transport hubs

VULNERABILITY TARGETING. Who are the most vulnerable, and are we reaching them? Can they be reached on the origin side? On the destination side? What makes them vulnerable?

IMPACT & COST-EFFECTIVENESS. Awareness raising, microcredit, scholarships, safe migration…what is most effective for a particular environment or population? Cost-effective?

Vulnerability targeting
• One of the poorest regions of Myanmar (Dry Zone) • Extreme seasonal drought which has led to long-established patterns of seasonal labor migration • Labor migration patterns over time have shifted from predominantly domestic (to mines in northern Myanmar, as well as more urban areas) to also cross-border, into Thailand and Malaysia

How many of you have at least one family member who has migrated from the village in search of a job?

• Long-established patterns of seasonal labor migration have led to expansive social networks supporting migrants, as well as a level of migrant ‘savviness’ in dealing with brokers, recruiters, and transport, particularly domestic

• Migrants were male and female, single and married, less wealthy and more wealthy – but predominantly young and single, or newly married with young children
• Risks are only when migrants shifting to jobs in Thailand and Malaysia end up in exploitative labor situations – in factories, on farms, and for women and girls in sex – but for Pakkoku villagers this was extremely rare, and brought us to the conclusion of wanting to focus on Thailand and Malaysia.

Vulnerability targeting

• Initially targeted due to having all the assumed risk factors – in one of the poorest provinces of Laos, Hmong ethnic minority, low education and literacy • Location was a 3-hour walk from the main road, on steep slopes (upland rice farmers)

• Low risk of being trafficked, due to distance from road, no presence of traffickers, and in general not much interest or aspiration in another lifestyle • Difficult to persuade some that this was a poor candidate for trafficking prevention programs, because they were “so poor” and “ethnic minority”

Elsewhere in Laos…among lowland Loum ethnic majority…microfinance
Question to beneficiary: “What is the relationship between your microcredit loan from the Village Development Fund, and human trafficking?” Answer: “Migrants go to Thailand and earn money. Then, their family can afford to join the VDF!” Question: “Who goes to Thailand?”

Answer: “The young kids. Rich or poor, they want to go from what they hear on the radio – they want the modern life.”

Scholarships to prevent /reduce child labor

• Poor urban squatter area with high levels of child labor (vending on the beach, in the tourism industry) • Families were given scholarships for one child by a child trafficking prevention program, and asked to sign contracts promising that they would not have their child work

• The project focused on girls due to the emphasis of the donor, and left out boy vendors whom locals felt were equally vulnerable to exploitation • Parents felt obligated to keep kids in school due to honoring their contract, but with no livelihood assistance to parents to offset household income decreases, some families of scholarship beneficiaries actually lost their homes because they could not afford to pay their rent • The project did not look at the welfare or outcomes of siblings of scholarship beneficiaries, but anecdotal evidence suggested that trade-offs were being made…

What has worked…targeted awareness raising at destination

How have you learned to protect yourself from trafficking and abuse? We travel around the beach in groups now. If a customer says they have to get money in their hotel room, we do not go with them!

What has worked – scholarships at destination
• Located in key destination province in Thailand for Burmese migrant workers and their families • Large settled migrant population, however, fear of deportation often keeps children in workplaces – better to earn money for return rather than learn language which will be of no use on return • Thai government policy in 2006 promises ‘Education For All’ •Local NGO advocates the advantages to all parties

Large numbers of children entering the formal education system due to: • Advocacy on the benefits of education • Understanding of the policy • Support for transportation and meals • Support to schools for initial education of migrant children • Continued need for protection of children in schools and monitoring of the situation of children still in workplaces • Short-term nature of migrant registration policy keeps children vulnerable to return to work

What has worked – labor monitoring

• Collaboration with government authorities in monitoring workplaces and potential exploitation sites • Establish migrant self-support networks • Community leaders, volunteers, and advocacy groups providing ‘watchdog’ role

More on targeting to maximize cost-effectiveness…

…and not just geographic targeting… Targeting by gender:
1. Women tend to migrate cross-border and leave their villages with family members, and not so much with non-family or brokers ; we have seen how family members can be protective factors in the migration process. Men are much more likely to migrate cross-border with groups of friends, pay higher broker fees, and utilize more brokers in the process; we have seen how friends have no protective effect, and brokers have a very negative effect generally.


Most migration and trafficking occurs along the major highways linking Cambodia and Thailand

INDIVIDUAL & FAMILY FACTORS Sex Age Number of brokers used Going into debt to pay migration costs Pre-existing knowledge and ideas about Thailand
Marital status Years of education Previous job Number of dependents Ill or recently passed away family member Sibling or child who needs school fees Forced to go to Thailand by family member Violence in the family Recent flood, drought, natural disaster

Significant risk factor     

Not a risk factor

        

How to know what works best?
Knowledge → Attitude change → Behavior change, ie – a measurable action
What are the ways in which human trafficking can be prevented? Even though it takes steps and time, ultimately we have to either: Change the behavior and decision-making of 1. Vulnerable people, 2. Traffickers / exploitative employers / brokers, or 3. Protectors of vulnerable people; or, Reduce the factors that create vulnerability for particular individuals, families, communities, or sub-sets of society (proxy)

Points to consider
1. To change behavior • We need to understand why more knowledge does not always lead to safer behavior • Understanding barriers to changing behavior requires two-way communication

2. To reduce the factors that create vulnerability we need to: • Understand what these really are; and • Focus on what we can realistically change 3. To measure success, we first need to be clear about our objectives

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