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Assessing Trafficking in Persons and Health

by on July 30, 2016

Photo by Wayne Hoover, MEASURE Evaluation

CHAPEL HILL, NC—An estimated 21 million people, including 5.5 million children, are victims of human trafficking (UNICEF). Trafficking in persons (TIP) is a human rights violation with serious public health consequences. Unfortunately, assessing TIP and its health sequelae rigorously and reliably is challenging due to TIP’s clandestine nature, variation in definitions of TIP, and the need to use research methods that ensure studies are ethical and feasible.

On World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, MEASURE Evaluation announces the publication of a systematic literature review of 70 peer-reviewed, published articles to help guide practice, policy, and research to assess TIP and health. The review, published in Trauma, Violence, and Abuse, helps (a) identify TIP and health research methods being used, (b) determine what we can learn about TIP and health from these varied methodologies, and (c) determine the gaps that exist in health-focused TIP research.

Results revealed that there are various quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis methods being used to investigate TIP and health. Furthermore, findings show that the limitations of current methodologies affect what is known about TIP and health. In particular, varying definitions, participant recruitment strategies, ethical standards, and outcome measures all affect what is known about TIP and health.

Findings also demonstrate an urgent need for representative and nonpurposive recruitment strategies in future investigations of TIP and health as well as research on risk and protective factors related to TIP and health, intervention effectiveness, long-term health outcomes, and research on trafficked people beyond women trafficked for sex. The article offers recommendations for research, policy, and practice based on review results.

Access Trafficking and Health: A Systematic Review of Research Methods.

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