Launching a Research Collaborative for Operational Guidance to Overcome Trafficking among Migrants during Humanitarian Crises

June 2018

Humanitarian crises drive population movement, which presents opportunities for human traffickers to exploit migrants. Despite the growing scope and recognition of these abuses, good data on human trafficking in humanitarian crisis settings are extremely limited. Furthermore, there are currently few resources offering operational guidance for humanitarian workers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and United Nations (UN) agencies on, for example, how to detect, respond to, and prevent human trafficking. Humanitarian aid workers, especially organizations working directly with displaced urban populations, are well-positioned to identify and intervene in cases of human trafficking. NGOs and UN agencies are instrumental in managing service delivery and coordinating overall humanitarian responses in crisis settings. Thus, helping these organizations and individuals respond to human trafficking presents a valuable opportunity to protect individuals who are highly vulnerable to being trafficked. Our initial exploratory seminar evaluated the current state of responses to human trafficking, smuggling, and exploitation of migrants in urban humanitarian settings, and considered opportunities to develop and apply operational guidance to enhance the humanitarian responses to trafficking in crisis-affected settings. This follow-on workshop will form important links between academics and practitioners to create an action plan to gain the evidence needed to inform operational guidance to prevent and respond to human trafficking among urban migrants in humanitarian crisis settings.