series event

Getting to good human trafficking data

Getting to Good Human Trafficking Data: Assessing the Landscape in Southeast Asia and Promising Practices from ASEAN Governments and Civil Society

Despite tremendous progress in raising awareness of human trafficking, enhancing relevant legal norms, and ensuring more robust care for survivors, the anti-trafficking movement continues to struggle to evaluate the quality of approaches, interventions, and policies. Historically, calls for enhanced data related to human trafficking have focused rather exclusively on prevalence estimates and generalized statistics related to monitoring and evaluation metrics set by donors. From open source investigation to big data analytics, the widespread digitization of data combined with technological advancements and innovations in analysis have brought new opportunities to begin answering the call for a data-driven understanding of the complex problem of human trafficking – and an evidence-based approach to combatting it.

However, this is not the daily work of the great majority of anti-trafficking practitioners. As resources continue to be invested into new technologies and big data, the movement must likewise invest in the fundamental data infrastructure and skills training of civil society organisations and government agencies at the frontlines. Enhancing and aligning data standards and practices in support of interoperable systems and comparable data will help clarify the problem and make the movement better equipped to combat it.

Jessie Brunner is the Program Manager for the WSD Handa Center for Human Rights and International Justice and directs the Center's research portfolio on human trafficking. Her current research focuses on supporting the collection of higher-quality, responsible data in an effort to encourage an evidence-based anti-trafficking movement. with a focus on Southeast Asia. She also works programmatically on the issue at the local level as a member of the San Francisco Mayor’s Task Force on Anti-Human Trafficking and at the global level as a member of UN University's Knowledge Platform Reference Group, a component of Alliance 8.7, which helps set the UN agenda on Sustainable Development Goal 8.7 related to human trafficking and forced labour. Jessie has worked on human rights and post-conflict reconciliation in Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Chile, Cambodia, Indonesia, Rwanda, the Philippines, and Thailand. Jessie earned a MA in International Policy Studies from Stanford University and BA in Mass Communications at UC Berkeley.


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