Global anti-trafficking report finds victims left out of funding

The Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women has released its annual report looking at how funds to combat trafficking are being used around the world. The summary and full report are available here but here are some highlights from the report:

  • The majority of funding dedicated to anti-trafficking initiatives is spent in either prevention or prosecution, and that a very small amount of funding is dedicated to victim assistance and/or reintegration services.
    Major donors don’t consult with people who have experienced trafficking as to how funds for anti-trafficking initiatives should be spent
  • Funding for re-integration programs needs to be consistent, and addressing the plethora of social vulnerabilities faced by people who have experienced trafficking are not considered a priority by funding bodies
  • There has been little research undertaken into the amount of funding the anti-trafficking industry attracts and virtually no research on the impact and effectiveness of funded anti-trafficking initiatives
  • Frontline workers report that funding for shelters and other assistance and re-integration services is notoriously difficult to access, whilst funding to attend or facilitate conferences exploring the issues surrounding anti-trafficking is much easier to access.
  • The social construct of anti-trafficking defines the policy response to the issue. Similarly, whether a person is recognised as a “victim” or “migrant” is defined by the media, who are influenced by policy defined by political expediency. Social constructs surrounding anti-trafficking –which are not internationally homogenous- define funding priorities. For example, in the United Kingdom, migrants and people who have experienced trafficking are referred to as “slaves” and those who facilitate migration are referred to as “criminals”: subsequently, the policy and funding response is based on principles of “law and order”. Whereas in the Ukraine, there is a greater emphasis on supporting and assisting people who have experienced trafficking, and policy and funding responses to trafficking issues are based on human rights principles.