Anti-Trafficking Measures and Human Rights Impact

If we to reduce them to their essence, international development groups and non-profit organizations work to make lives better and more just for the populations they serve.  But sometimes the desire to help can create unintended consequences that may actually be harmful, or even lead to human rights violations.

As anti-trafficking groups become more visible and focus their publicity campaigns almost exclusively on sex trafficking, there has been some debate about the human rights impact of the policies and services that are meant to protect women and girls from trafficking and to punish traffickers. Evidence of this harm, and the fact that service providers and law enforcement officials don’t always know the needs of the people they are trying to help, has recently popping up in international media. This month, a group of Chinese women who had been trafficked to the Congo (they’d been trying to get to Paris to work) resisted rescue by Chinese authorities. And in October, sex workers who were “rescued” in India rioted at a rehabilitation center that was meant to help them get out of prostitution.

To address the complexities inherent in creating good policies and programs against sex trafficking, the Human Rights Initiative has created a tool, The RighT Guide, which helps NGOs assess the human rights impact of anti-trafficking measures. The guide helps organizations self-evaluate their programs to discover if they are unintentionally violating the human rights of sex trafficking survivors. Organizations that use the tool can then use the evidence-based outcomes to advocate law or policy reforms that respect human rights of all persons, with strategic support from the Human Rights Initiative.

Check out the video preview of the tool below. To learn more and download the tool as a PDF in English or French, click here.



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