Trauma-informed care is crucial to the empowerment of survivors.

Making trauma-informed care the norm for survivors

Trauma-informed care is crucial to the empowerment of survivors. It ensures survivors are not re-traumatized during legal proceedings or while receiving recovery services; provides self-ownership over their own recovery; and helps them to lead safe and empowered futures. Yet, it is frequently not implemented by governments, law enforcement, judiciary, or care providers, who are frequently survivors’ first point of contact in the recovery process. GFEMS prioritizes trauma-informed care curriculum development and implementation to ensure that survivors have the tools and care they need for long term recovery and success.

In Maharashtra, India, GFEMS has partnered with International Justice Mission (IJM) to strengthen trauma-informed care in the state’s child welfare system. Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) are quasi-judicial bodies that support children in need of care and protection, including trafficking victims. IJM has trained all CWC members in Maharashtra on safe placement and case management, ensuring that stakeholders directly responsible for survivor rehabilitative care are equipped to make the best decisions in the interest of the child and operate as efficiently and responsibly as possible. To further build on this training, IJM has instituted a state-wide mentorship program with care experts, who have provided CWC members with guidance on over 260 cases. Facilitating regular case management roundtables, the project includes collaborative problem solving and case discussions for CWC members, ensuring that survivors receive comprehensive rehabilitation and support. The project has also made a series of infrastructure upgrades to selected CWCs, developing models for child-friendly spaces in the state.

By building the capacity of state institutions, including the CWCs, to deliver effective survivor care, the program is a blueprint for the provision of trauma-informed restoration that is replicable across other states in India and beyond. These types of care practices are needed globally to eliminate modern slavery and human trafficking for good.

This article and the project it references were funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of State.

Ethical recruitment practices are better for everyone, including recruiters themselves

Update: TERA is creating demand for ethical recruitment in India

GFEMS provides seed funding for ethical businesses to grow their market share, shifting demand away from exploitative recruitment to more ethical practices. Working with Seefar, we have created TERA (The Ethical Recruitment Agency), India’s first ethical recruitment agency.

TERA aims to reduce forced labor by pioneering research, making a business case on profitability of ethical recruitment, and piloting an ethical recruitment agency. Based in in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India, the pilot agency offers exploitation-free work opportunities to vulnerable communities. To date, Seefar has signed contracts with several large employers, published a guide for profitable ethical recruitment, and stress tested pre-departure trainings and worker welfare protocols.

Seefar is identifying large gaps in existing research including lack of:

  • A consensus on the definition and theory of ethical recruitment
  • Quantifiable impact
  • Understanding around unintended consequence.

Seefar’s research focuses on the effectiveness of ethical recruitment in reducing forced labor and the economic, social, physical, and mental effects of ethical recruitment on workers and their families. Preliminary findings from key informant interviews and case studies show overwhelming positive effects on workers and their families in the following dimensions: economic, social, physical and mental health, and human rights. Specifically, there is a direct relationship between lower recruitment fees, lower debt, and higher remittances to families and communities. Ethical recruitment can help migrant workers achieve upward social mobility in the long term and enhance their social status in their communities. Better customer service offered by ethical recruitment is a reliever of stress and concern at the individual and family levels. It also has important implications on mortality and morbidity of migrant workers abroad. Finally, ethical recruitment enhances knowledge of workers’ rights and safeguards those rights during, and often after, recruitment.

Seefar will continue The Ethical Recruitment Agency and accompanying research and offer evidence based and practical research to donors, governments, commercial actors and civil society members.

This project, and others in our portfolio like it, are working to show that ethical recruitment practices are better for everyone, including recruiters themselves. This shifts market demand for ethical recruitment agencies and ensures the long-term sustainability of ethical recruitment solutions.

We create innovative solutions for global brands

Bridging the buyer-supplier gap to root out forced labor in supply chains

Global supply chains are a major perpetrator of modern slavery. With over 16 million victims in the private sector, business involvement is key to sustainable, systems change that eliminates forced labor. In the apparel sector, a lack of transparency between buyers, suppliers, and manufacturers is what often allows modern slavery to go unnoticed.

International apparel brands, particularly those in the ready-made garment (RMG) or “fast fashion” sector, monitor their legally registered Tier 1 suppliers in India. Due to the low pricing and quick turnaround production pressures of the industry, Tier 1 suppliers often sub-contract to unauthorized and unregistered factories that are hidden from brands in order to meet demand. This creates a lack of transparency between buyers (brands) and suppliers, leading to poor monitoring of deeper supply chain operations and allowing forced and child labor to thrive.

To enhance monitoring and make supply chains more visible to buyers, GFEMS and ELEVATE, a business risk and sustainability solutions provider, are creating innovative apparel brand monitoring and remediation systems in India.

ELEVATE has built and tested a predictive analytics tool to detect risks of unauthorized sub-contracting and forced labor practices. The tool uses institutional knowledge, third-party data supply chain data, and new procurement audit data to identify which Tier 1 suppliers are at high risk of using unauthorized contracting to meet their production orders.  Along with identifying high-risk suppliers, ELEVATE has also developed remediation processes for brands, Tier 1 suppliers, and informal/unauthorized factories to collaborate to improve labor practices, ensuring that factories are incentivized to participate and remain transparent.

Despite a slowdown in the apparel industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, ELEVATE has already generated significant brand interest in hosting social compliance audits. To date, the project has:

  • Established partnerships with four key global brands
  • Completed 22 on-site assessments
  • Generated 13 supplier reports on risk of unauthorized sub-contracting.

Five monitored suppliers have indicated varying levels of extreme to medium risk of unauthorized sub-contracting. Two of those suppliers have agreed to deliver a remediation plan, including onsite capacity building with suppliers.

By offering both modern slavery risk identification and effective remediation plans for suppliers who are at risk, the tools developed in this project both allows buyers to make smarter decisions about their suppliers, and provides suppliers with plans to improve their practices and continue operating. Both are essential for generating and maintaining systems level change that eliminates forced labor from supply chains.

This project was funded through a grant made by the U.K Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO). Any opinions in this article do not reflect the opinions of FCDO.

GFEMS and IJM partner to strengthen justice delivery in Kenya

GFEMS and IJM partner to strengthen justice delivery in Kenya

As a part of our partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, GFEMS is excited to share the launch of our new project with International Justice Mission (IJM). The project aims to build community and survivor confidence in the criminal justice system and increase capacity of local law enforcement to investigate and prosecute child sex trafficking. The project is specifically targeted in Kilifi, Kwale, and Mombasa counties in the southern coastal region, a major child sex trafficking hotspot. 

Sex trafficking is a key focus of the Fund’s efforts. Working within our intervention framework, we target reduction in supply of vulnerable individuals, demand for sexual exploitation, and the enabling environment that allows modern slavery to persist and traffickers to operate with impunity. This project specifically targets the supply of vulnerable individuals and the enabling environment. 

On the supply side, the project will conduct community engagement efforts that aim to increase the reporting of instances of child sex trafficking. The project will provide education and outreach to community members, teachers, and the Boda Boda Safety Association of Kenya on the available referral mechanisms for instances of exploitation, with the goal of increasing trust and collaboration between community members and the justice system. 

See more of our work combatting sex trafficking.

To reduce vulnerability, it is also important to improve coordination between actors in the justice delivery process, and ultimately ensure this improved coordination results in improved prosecutions. In support of this, the project will work with civil society, the Department of Child Services (DCS), and police to help assess and diagnose barriers related to access and use of the existing hotline and the national referral mechanism (NRM) and identify solutions at the community level. 

In addition, working through Court User Committees and DCS Child Protection Centers, the project will collaborate with government and civil society stakeholders to develop new victim-centered standard operating procedures for victim case management and coordination. Training, mentorship, and technical assistance on trauma-informed care and interdisciplinary case management will also be provided to civil society and government service providers. These efforts will decrease the risk of re-traumatization during prosecution and put the survivors at the center of their own cases.

To address the enabling environment, the project includes activities that work toward increasing victim-sensitive investigations and prosecutions (with survivor participation) to deter traffickers in the future. Accordingly, the project will train, mentor, and provide technical assistance to police, prosecutors, and magistrates on trauma-informed prosecution practices. In working with police, we will also build police officer capacity to effectively arrest perpetrators of child sex trafficking and seek justice for victims. Training and collaboration with prosecutors and magistrates will also focus on increasing the effectiveness of prosecutions and adjudications through increased understanding of sex trafficking crimes and application of existing legal frameworks. 

GFEMS looks forward to providing updates on this project and sharing our learnings with the anti-trafficking community. For updates on this project and others like it, subscribe to our newsletter, or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn

This article and the IJM project were funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of State.

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GFEMS partners with IAWJ to Strengthen Justice Delivery in Kenya and Uganda

GFEMS partners with IAWJ to Strengthen Justice Delivery in Kenya and Uganda

As a part of our partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, GFEMS is excited to share the launch of our new project and partnership with International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ), IAWJ – Kenya Chapter (IAWJ KC), and the National Association of Women Judges Uganda (NAWJU). Coupled with other efforts in the portfolio, the project objective is to strengthen judicial and law enforcement response to cases of trafficking, improve coordination between anti-TIP efforts in Kenya and Uganda, and develop shared victim-centered resources for identifying, prosecuting, and adjudicating trafficking cases. 

Migrant labor trafficking is a complex, cross-border phenomenon. To ensure that each relevant stakeholder has the knowledge and tools to assist victims and prosecute traffickers, robust multi-sectoral responses are required. Information gaps and lack of coordination among law enforcement and judicial stakeholders hamper effective identification and prosecution of traffickers and prevalence of reduction efforts. These gaps exist within both Kenya and Uganda and across borders.  

Cross-border dialogues are a critical component of effective TIP prosecutions in Kenya and Uganda. There are many reported cases of victims being trafficked from Uganda to Kenya or transiting through Kenya to a final destination. As these cases implicate both countries, criminal justice stakeholders need to understand how the criminal justice system works in each country, learn which agencies have responsibilities for supporting TIP victims, and identify relevant points of contact. Providing a forum to share this information facilitates a more victim-centered and effective justice-sector response. This project aims to transform the enabling environment of trafficking and slavery in Kenya and Uganda by creating such a forum.

Focusing on capacity to develop and deliver victim-centered training, the project works to ensure that national institutions have the human and informational resources to offer comprehensive TIP training on a continuing basis and to address significant training needs in both Kenya and Uganda. The training offered as part of this project will be tailored to the specific needs identified by front-line practitioners, who are grappling with human trafficking cases. 

By improving the judicial and law enforcement response to labor trafficking in the region, the project aims to ensure more effective prosecution of traffickers, raise the price of the crime, and ultimately deter traffickers.

GFEMS incorporates rigorous learning and evaluation agendas into all projects. This project will focus on identifying some of the challenges the judiciary has faced in effectively identifying, protecting and supporting trafficking victims.

GFEMS looks forward to providing updates on this project and sharing our learnings with the anti-trafficking community. For updates on this project and others like it, subscribe to our newsletter, or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn

This article and the IAWJ  project were funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of State.

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GFEMS and IOM Partner in Kenya to Foster Ethical Recruitment by Private Recruitment Agencies

GFEMS and IOM Partner in Kenya to Foster Ethical Recruitment by Private Recruitment Agencies

As a part of our partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, GFEMS is excited to share the launch of our new project with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Coupled with other efforts in the portfolio, the Fund’s objective in this project is to create sustainable business models for the recruitment of migrant workers in Kenya, consistent with international ethical recruitment standards.

IOM staff conduct a workshop in Kenya
Photo courtesy of IOM.

Ethical recruitment is a key focus of the Fund’s efforts. Working within our intervention framework, we target reduction in supply of vulnerable individuals, demand for cheap goods and services, and the enabling environment that allows modern slavery to persist and traffickers to operate with impunity. This project includes elements that specifically target the demand and the enabling environment.

Read about a similar work in Uganda.

Addressing the demand for cheap goods and services through risk reduction, this project will focus on building and incentivizing  ethical recruitment practices. GFEMS and IOM will work with private recruitment agencies (PRAs) in Kenya, accredited and certified by the Government of Kenya through the National Employment Agency (NEA), to provide training, tools, and support to shift towards ethical recruitment, using IOM’s International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS).

In addition to general outreach to PRAs, IOM will conduct recruitment integrity training for targeted PRAs annually and provide one-on-one interaction and guidance on a regular basis. These regular interactions and capacity-building initiatives are designed to help PRAs progress towards IRIS certifications as ethical recruiters. By improving ethical business practices, the project also aims to remove exploitative recruitment as a driver of trafficking within Kenya.

To address the enabling environment, GFEMS and IOM will work closely with the Government of Kenya to establish and pilot an oversight mechanism through which illegal or unethical recruitment recruiters can be identified and reported. This mechanism will monitor the Kenyan recruitment industry as a whole and identify PRAs and subagents who expose migrants to the risks of modern slavery. It will also provide a platform for communities to report suspected trafficking cases or PRAs practicing unethically. The Government will publish the list of reported PRAs and information on trafficking to alert migrants of dangerous recruiters and deter unethical practices.  Long term, the project aims to reduce cases of migrant worker trafficking by creating demand for ethical recruitment in targeted communities in Kenya.

GFEMS incorporates rigorous learning and evaluation agendas into all of its projects. In our IOM partnership, we will examine the implications of adopting IRIS standards for PRAs in Kenya, work to identify areas that the Government of Kenya can enhance its efforts to monitor recruitment practices, and assess the effectiveness and sustainability of the oversight mechanism. 

GFEMS incorporates rigorous learning and evaluation agendas into all of its projects. In our IOM partnership, we will examine the implications of adopting IRIS standards for PRAs in Kenya, work to identify areas that the Government of Kenya can enhance its efforts to monitor recruitment practices, and assess the effectiveness and sustainability of the oversight mechanism.

GFEMS looks forward to providing updates on this project and sharing our learnings with the anti-trafficking community. For updates on this project and others like it, subscribe to our newsletter, or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn

This article and the IOM project were funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of State.

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GFEMS and IOM to bolster ethical recruitment and protect migrant workers from Uganda

GFEMS and IOM to bolster ethical recruitment and protect migrant workers from Uganda

As a part of our partnership with the U.S. Department to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, GFEMS is excited to share the launch of our new project with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Coupled with other efforts in the portfolio, the Fund’s objective in this project is to create sustainable business models for the recruitment of migrant workers from Uganda, consistent with international ethical recruitment standards. 

Read about similar work in Kenya.

Ethical recruitment is a key focus of the Fund’s efforts. Working within our intervention framework, we target reduction in supply of vulnerable individuals, demand for cheap goods and services, and the enabling environment that allows modern slavery to persist and traffickers to operate with impunity. The activities in this project specifically target demand and the enabling environment. 

Addressing the demand for cheap goods and services, the project specifically targets strengthening commitments from private recruitment agencies (PRAs) to create consensus, cooperation, and an enabling environment for ethical recruitment across the sector in Uganda. GFEMS and IOM will work with PRAs in four key regions of Uganda to provide training, tools, and support to shift towards ethical recruitment. We will use IOM’s International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS) Labor Recruiter Capacity Building Program. In addition to general outreach to PRAs, IOM will collaborate with Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies (UAERA) to increase interest in ethical recruitment and the training and ethical recruitment certification support available through the project. 

To transform the enabling environment, the project works with multi-stakeholder groups to improve policy, regulatory, and enforcement frameworks at national and local levels to enhance migrant protection and promote ethical recruitment. IOM will facilitate capacity-building activities on ethical recruitment for the government, including tailored training on ethical recruitment, migrant workers’ rights, and harmonization of labor migration policies among different ministries within the Government of Uganda. To ensure widespread adoption, the materials will be translated into all five major languages spoken within Uganda. 

GFEMS incorporates rigorous learning and evaluation agendas into all of its projects. In our IOM partnership, we will 

  1. Examine the implications of ethical recruitment practices on business models in Uganda.
  2. Identify the factors and tools that enable Ugandan authorities to implement policies and regulations that promote ethical recruitment. 

We aim to determine if it is possible to create early warning systems at the District Local Government and sub-county lower local government level that allow stakeholders to identify those most at risk of facing unethical recruitment.

GFEMS looks forward to providing updates on this project and sharing our learnings with the anti-trafficking community. For updates on this project and others like it, subscribe to our newsletter, or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn

This article and the IOM project were funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of State

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GFEMS and Terre des Hommes Netherlands partner to tackle child sex trafficking

GFEMS and Terre des Hommes Netherlands partner to tackle child sex trafficking

As a part of our partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, GFEMS is pleased to share the launch of two new projects with our partner, Terre des Hommes Netherlands. The projects are based in Kenya and Uganda with a focus on skills development and livelihoods for survivors and community-based prevention of child sex trafficking, respectively. 

See more of our work combatting sex trafficking.

In Kenya, the partnership will focus on implementing community-based prevention methods, formal education for young survivors, vocational skills training, apprenticeships and job skilling for older survivors, and improvement of household livelihoods for the most vulnerable families of survivors of child sex trafficking. Targeting known sex trafficking hotspot locations in coastal Kenya, the project works to address both the supply of vulnerable individuals and the enabling environment that allows trafficking to persist. 

On the supply side, the project aims to reduce vulnerability of survivors and children to  exploitation. For young survivors, the project will reintegrate participants into formal education with additional support services such as provision of school supplies, access to social protection programs, and training for teachers on how best to identify and report instances of child sex trafficking and support survivors.

For older child survivors, the project will focus on job skilling and facilitate job placement with partner companies. This will include enrollment in vocational skills training or apprenticeship programs, market-based job placement and continued training opportunities, and coaching and mentoring for survivors. 

Addressing the enabling environment, community leaders will be trained to engage through community-led dialogues to address the deep rooted negative social norms that contribute to child sex trafficking.

In Uganda, GFEMS and Terre des Hommes Netherlands are focusing on community-based prevention of child trafficking, including child sex trafficking, by establishing and enforcing child protection regulatory frameworks from the national level to the community level. Targeting the Karamoja region, the project aims to reduce the supply of individuals vulnerable to child trafficking and address the enabling environment in the region.

On the supply side, the project works to:

Draft and lobby for the ratification of the Child Protection Ordinance

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In addition, the project will draft and lobby for by-laws in four sub-counties of Napak District, Karamoja.

 

Identify and train Child Protection Champions

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This includes community leaders, religious and cultural leaders, and local private sector actors. They will serve as models for child protection and support awareness-raising initiatives.

Support more than 30 schools

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The project will help schools build their capacities to identify, respond to, and follow up on cases of child sex trafficking and to promote child protection and empowerment more broadly.

Promote community awareness of child sex trafficking

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In addition, the project will promote positive behaviors through a variety of mixed-media interventions addressing the following topics: 1) Awareness-raising on child trafficking and prevention programming, 2) the popularization of the ordinance and by-laws, and 3) the promotion of child-friendly social norms.

Addressing the enabling environment, the project will work to counter the negative social norms that perpetuate and support child trafficking, through interconnected community dialogue and engagement activities. Subjects addressed will include the importance of education for children, especially girls; what communities and families can do to protect children, and how to prevent stigma and discrimination against survivors. Male involvement in these dialogues is key, as men are the “consumers/clients” of child sex trafficking and the primary household decision makers, especially regarding education. 

Incorporated into the programming agenda, throughout the course of the project, GFEMS and Terre des Hommes Netherlands will seek to understand whether targeted community engagement can effectively promote positive behavior change.

GFEMS looks forward to providing updates on this project and sharing our learnings with the anti-trafficking community. For updates on this project and others like it, subscribe to our newsletter, or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn

This article and the Terre des Hommes Netherlands projects were funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of State.

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How GFEMS and Willow International are partnering to empower survivors, build resilience in Uganda

How GFEMS and Willow International are partnering to empower survivors, build resilience in Uganda

As a part of our partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, GFEMS is pleased to share the launch of our new project with Willow International. Coupled with other efforts in the portfolio, the Fund’s objective in this project is to build resiliency against exploitative recruitment among vulnerable populations in Uganda. This includes not only pre-labor migration support, training, and resources, but also rehabilitation and reintegration services for survivors, reducing their risk of re-trafficking. 

Ethical recruitment is a key focus of the Fund’s efforts. Working within our intervention framework, we target reduction in supply of vulnerable individuals, demand for cheap goods and services, and the enabling environment that allows modern slavery to persist and traffickers to operate with impunity. This project specifically targets reduction of the supply of vulnerable individuals.

children's feet

The project will expand a range of pre-migration and survivor services, including holistic survivor care services, legal support, and educational, vocational, and economic training and opportunities for survivors and at-risk individuals. These services aim to empower workers with the skills and resources they need to recognize risky employment situations and create sustainable livelihoods within their communities and families. 

Willow’s trauma-informed survivor care program is a multi-faceted rehabilitation program helping survivors heal from trauma, be free from re-victimization, reconcile with family, and eventually reintegrate into the community. Willow will work with survivors to provide the tools and support necessary to learn a vocation, start a business, or pursue education to re-enter society as fully engaged

productive members. The survivor-led approach reintegrates survivors and at-risk individuals into the economic fabric of Uganda by providing a choice of alternative livelihood pathways, including connection to jobs in growth sectors. 

Rehabilitation and reintegration for survivors is critical to sustainable success of anti-slavery interventions. It can have a ripple effect throughout the community – ending interlocking cycles of abuse, poverty, and exploitation. 

GFEMS incorporates rigorous research and evaluation agendas into all of its programs. In our partnership with Willow in Uganda, we will: 

  1. Measure the effectiveness of aftercare services in meeting the needs of survivors,
  2. Evaluate the impact of training and education on survivor participation in the economy and how the provided services decrease victims’ vulnerabilities to re-trafficking, 
  3. Assess how Willow International’s Community-Based Care Program differs from traditional shelter-based models and how this affects the reintegration process for forced labor victims.

GFEMS looks forward to providing updates on this project and sharing our learnings with the anti-trafficking community. For updates on this project and others like it, subscribe to our newsletter, or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn

This article and the Willow International project were funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of State.

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