Please find below projects funded by IPA's Human Trafficking Research Initiative (HTRI).

Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices on Trafficking in Persons in Haiti
Researchers: Nicola Pocock, Carl Stephan St-Louis, Chris Cuthbert
Country: Haiti
Program Area: Human Trafficking
Partners: Lumos Foundation & London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Type of Project: Existing Data Analysis / Project Idea Building ​/ Literature Review

Internal and cross-border trafficking of people in Haiti remains an important challenge, with an estimated 59,000 Haitians living in situations of modern slavery. Children are regularly trafficked to residential institutions as well as for child domestic servitude (CDS), a socially normative practice known as restavek. Researchers will analyze previously gathered project survey data and conduct interviews with the general population, vulnerable families, and police officers and judges to understand practices around child domestic servitude. The research team will examine the attitudes and practices of people who place children in residential institutions, place children in child domestic work, or employ child domestic workers in their homes. The findings from this research will be used to provide conceptually-grounded insights to inform an anti-trafficking Behaviour Change Campaign scheduled to take place in late 2021 through mid-2022.

Trafficking Prevention Research Development
Project Coordinators: Veerawit Tianchainan, Lucy McCray
Country: Thailand
Program Area: Human Trafficking
Partner: The Freedom Story
Type of Project: Travel/ Exploratory Grant

The Freedom Story has been working to prevent child trafficking in Northern Thailand for 13 years, with projects in Chiang Rai and Nan provinces in Thailand, both rural trafficking hotspots with high rates of poverty, low levels of education, and social isolation (including issues such as family breakdown, child abuse, and statelessness). The goal of this grant is to identify and develop relationships with researchers who can support the development of studies, impact evaluations, or other rigorous research designs to measure the impact of The Freedom Story’s programs and help them replicate and scale their programs in new locations and with new populations. These efforts will build on annual surveys implemented for the past three years by The Freedom Story to monitor knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to trafficking and the risk of trafficking among the organization’s target populations.

A Community-led Livelihood Intervention to Overcome Human Sex Trafficking in India
Researchers: Meredith Dank, Sheldon Zhang
Country: India
Program Area: Human Trafficking
Partners: Praxis Institute for Participatory Practices
Type of Project: Travel/Exploratory Grant

Almost 20 percent of victims of human trafficking globally are sexually exploited (ILO and Walk Free Foundation 2017). In India’s sex industry, many young women and girls come from impoverished, low-caste communities, including Nomadic, Semi-Nomadic, and Denotified tribes. They can be often trafficked at a young age, making it difficult for them to choose to leave the sex industry and find different livelihood options. The Praxis Institute for Participatory Practices, a social development organization based in India, has enrolled young women into an intervention program to build their skills and confidence, promote agency and decision making, and provide them with educational and skills building opportunities to expand their choices of livelihood options. Researchers are collaborating with the Praxis Institute to explore and design a rigorous randomized evaluation to measure the effectiveness of the Institute’s interventions.

Using Social Media to Provide Information and Support for Migrant Workers about Illegal Recruitment Practices in Hong Kong and the Philippines
Researcher: Lucy Jordan
Country: Hong Kong, the Philippines
Partners: Migrasia Global Solutions
Type of Project: Pilot Research Project

Migration intermediaries play a legitimate role in the efficient matching of labor supply and demand across borders. However, exploitation and forced labor can occur when unethical intermediaries, such as employment agencies, training centers, and medical clinics take advantage of information asymmetries to charge exorbitant fees to migrant workers for their services, who often take on substantial debt and risks to finance recruitment related costs. Migrasia, a think tank devoted to migration in Asia, has used social media to overcome information barriers and improve the identification, protection, and empowerment of migrant workers and increase accountability of malicious recruitment agencies and other migration intermediaries. Building on past research that indicates that social media can be useful in spreading awareness where information barriers exist (Özdemir 2012), researchers are assessing the feasibility and suitability of conducting a randomized evaluation to determine the effectiveness of Migrasia’s social media campaigns in reducing the incidence of migrant worker exploitation. The campaigns aim to prevent workers from being overcharged on recruitment fees and related costs and provide support and access to redress for those who have been financially exploited by recruitment agencies and other intermediaries across Asia, with a focus on the Hong Kong-Philippines migration corridor.