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Know Human Trafficking, Know Your Response: M&E Indicators for Trafficking in Persons and Health

by on December 10, 2014
Wayne Hoover, MEASURE Evaluation

Wayne Hoover, MEASURE Evaluation

Although awareness of trafficking in persons has increased significantly as a global concern with criminal justice, immigration, human rights, and economic ramifications, the health aspects and consequences of trafficking receive less attention. Individuals who have been trafficked experience a wide range of nega­tive health effects, including increased risk of gender-based violence, mental health problems, and poor sexual and reproductive health outcomes, including HIV[1]. Gender norms make both women and girls and men and boys vulnerable to different types of trafficking.

The MEASURE Evaluation project at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has published a new compendium, Trafficking in Persons and Health: A Compendium of Monitoring and Evaluation Indicators. The compendium provides guidance on measurement at the intersection of trafficking, gender, and health — connections that are crucial to understanding and addressing the health needs of trafficked persons. All stakeholders involved in counter-trafficking efforts, from emergency health personnel and program managers to national policymakers, must consider the nexus of gender, health, and trafficking to adequately address and com­bat this complex human rights issue.

The compendium is designed to assist health program managers and decision-makers to plan, monitor, and evaluate their response to trafficking and health. A menu of indicator options allows users to select indicators that are most applicable to their programs or facilities.

“Trafficking is a human rights issue as well as a health issue,” says Abby Cannon, lead author of Trafficking in Persons and Health at MEASURE Evaluation. “We developed the compendium as a tool for programs and countries to track the health dimensions of the problem, and use that information to prioritize and address the health of individuals that have been trafficked. Ultimately, human trafficking is harmful and exploitative. If we want to have a society that nurtures and empowers people, we must understand and address trafficking at all levels, including health.”

MEASURE Evaluation developed the compendium of indicators in consultation with technical experts in the field of trafficking, gender, and health. Experts from USAID, the U.S. Department of State, the National Institute of Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health, UNICEF, the International Organization of Migration, the International Labor Organization, research institutions, non-governmental organizations, and civil society provided input.

To access a copy of the new publication, visit:

[1] Zimmerman C, Hossain M, Yun K, et al. The health of trafficked women: a survey of women entering posttrafficking services in Europe. Am J Public Health. 2008;98(1):55-59.

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