Countering Trafficking in Persons

USAID and UNICEF funding programs helped rescue Aicha Khadidja from an abusive aunt who exploited her.
USAID and UNICEF funding programs helped rescue Aicha Khadidja from an abusive aunt who exploited her instead of sending her to school.
Andre Roussel, USAID/Benin

Trafficking in persons victimizes millions of men, women, and children worldwide. Although precise numbers are unknown, recent estimates of the number of people enslaved in sex or labor exploitation range from 12 to 27 million.  

Human trafficking is an egregious violation of human rights that reduces human beings to the status of commodities to be bought and sold. It is fueled by demand for prostitution and cheap labor.

Human trafficking is facilitated by:

  • Porous borders
  • Absent rule of law
  • Failure to prosecute traffickers
  • Complicity of corrupt officials
  • Modern communication technology

Trafficking in persons can impede efforts to improve health, increase economic growth, achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment and can pose a threat to lifetime prospects for youth.

In February 2012, USAID launched a new Counter-Trafficking in Persons Policy to reinvigorate and focus Agency efforts to combat trafficking (C-TIP) on concrete, measurable principles and objectives. We are also expanding investments in countries with global strategic importance and significant trafficking problems, and are strengthening C-TIP programming in conflict- and crisis-affected areas. Our programs draw upon innovation, technology and private-sector partnerships.

USAID released a Counter-Trafficking in Persons Field Guide to provide practical guidance to design, implement, monitor, and evaluate investments that implement the Agency’s 2012 C-TIP Policy. The Guide will also help educate USAID Mission personnel and partners about trafficking more broadly and includes recommendations for integrating C-TIP activities into larger development programs, tools for designing stand-alone activities, and evaluation techniques. 
USAID’s Counter-Trafficking Code provides training of USAID employees and holds them to the same high ethical standards with respect to trafficking in persons that federal law requires of U.S. Government contractors and grantees through the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). The Code prohibits employees from engaging in actions fostering trafficking in persons and sensitizes them to the requirement to report suspected cases.
USAID programmed $163.3 million in C-TIP activities in 68 countries and Regional Missions between 2001 and 2010 and continues to work around the world.
For example:
  • USAID supports a multimedia trafficking awareness campaign across Asia through a partnership with MTV Exit. Impact assessments of the campaign reveal people who have been reached are more aware of trafficking and its costs which correlates with a decreased risk of being trafficked.
  • USAID is integrating C-TIP activities into development programs across sectors. To prevent child trafficking on cocoa farms in Ghana, a C-TIP module was included in an agricultural program training cocoa farmers.
  • USAID is committed to strengthening regional approaches to combat cross-border trafficking. In South Eastern Europe, the Agency supported a cross-border referral mechanism for trafficking victims in 10 countries. The referral guidelines and protocols helped shape local laws, including National Action Plans to Combat Trafficking

Last updated: September 26, 2013

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