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Reliable data on human trafficking has long been recognized as a gap undermining informed anti-trafficking interventions. In an effort to help fill this information gap, UN-ACT conducts and supports rigorous research on human trafficking in the Greater Mekong-Sub-region. In this section, you will find resource materials related to various research initiatives on trafficking in persons, including those unrelated to UN-ACT. The collection of work is not exhaustive, but presents selected materials based on quality and relevance.

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The Myanmar Dilemma: Can the garment industry deliver decent jobs for workers in Myanmar?

Keywords: garment, Myanmar,

Research focusing on 12 factories located in and around Yangon, Bago and Pathein, with more than 400 workers having been interviewed. It analyses human rights and labour rights risks and actual violations of labour rights in the export-oriented garment industry in Myanmar (Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO), Action Labor Rights (ALR), Labour Rights Defenders and Promoters (LRDP), 2017)

Report on Human Trafficking, Forced Labour and Fisheries Crime in the Indonesian Fishing Industry

Keywords: Fishing, Indonesia,

Research based on 285 interviews with trafficked fishermen and other data sources providing a glimpse into a far-reaching and well-entrenched criminal industry operating alongside the legitimate fishing industry, and often overlapping (Coventry University, Government of Indonesia, IOM, 2016)

Hit & Run: The impact of anti-trafficking policy and practice on sex workers' human rights in Thailand

Keywords: sex work, Thailand,

Research identifying and documenting the impact of the current Thai anti-trafficking law, policy and practice on sex workers in Thailand; strengthening knowledge and awareness amongst the sex worker community about their legal and human rights; and seeking to build skills to design, carry out and collate research for use in human rights advocacy (EMPOWER, 2012)

Moving Towards Decent Sex Work

Keywords: sex work, Thailand,

Research applying existing definitions and recognized standards of decent work, forced labour, unacceptable forms of work and others to the current real working conditions in the Thai sex industry, and extrapolating the number of sex workers working across that continuum (EMPOWER, 2016)

Apparel & Footwear Benchmark Findings Report

Keywords: exploitation, Forced Labour, supply chain,

This benchmarking report examines 20 major apparel and footwear companies (including Adidas, Primark, and Prada) on their commitment to combatting forced labour and exploitation in their supply chains. Company efforts were measured across seven themes such as worker voice, monitoring, and remedy (KnowTheChain, 2016)

Food & Beverage Benchmark Findings Report

Keywords: exploitation, Forced Labour, supply chain,

This benchmarking report of 20 major food and beverage companies (including Coca-Cola, Kellogg, and Hershey) explores their commitment to combatting forced labour and exploitation in their supply chains. Company efforts were measured across seven themes such as purchasing practices, recruitment, commitment and governance (KnowTheChain, 2016)

The Great Palm Oil Scandal: Labour Abuses Behind Big Brand Names

Keywords: exploitation, Indonesia, Labour, palm oil,

This report investigates the palm oil industry in Indonesia and the human rights abuses and labour exploitation that lie therein. The report outlines the experiences of those who work in this industry, as well as how many international corporations are complicit in allowing these conditions to prevail (Amnesty International, 2016)

High Rise, Low Pay

Keywords: Construction, exploitation, Thailand, Women,

This exploratory study examines working conditions of migrant women in Thailand's construction industry and identifies specific decent work defects and gender-specific challenges. Interviewing 125 people, the report specifies areas for reform in migration governance (ILO, 2016)

Worker, helper, auntie, maid?

Keywords: domestic work, Domestic Workers, Malaysia, Thailand,

This research report focuses on the links between the working conditions as described by migrant domestic workers, and attitudes to migrant and domestic workers as expressed in the media and by employers. The mixed method study employs both quantitative and qualitative data collection tools in order to explore this subject (ILO, UN Women, 2016)

Worker Exploitation in New Zealand: A Troubling Landscape

Keywords: Debt bondage, exploitation, Forced Labour, GMS, New Zealand,

This study investigates worker exploitation in New Zealand. The project comprises of a desk review of secondary sources as well as 105 semi-structured interviews with workers – predominantly temporary migrant workers, including those from the GMS region – from a range of industries (University of Auckland Business School, 2016)

Getting Away with It: The Treatment of Rape in Cambodia's Justice System

Keywords: Cambodia, prosecution, sexual abuse,

This report is based on an analysis of data on rape cases gathered by LICADHO during the last three years. It reveals serious and systemic flaws in the prosecution of rape cases resulting in a disturbingly low number of convictions. The report ends with a series of practical recommendations to the Cambodian government which will enable the process of change to begin (LICADHO, 2015)

Built On Slavery: Debt Bondage and Child Labour in Cambodia's Brick Factories

Keywords: Cambodia, Debt bondage, Labour,

A research report that examines debt bondage in the context of brick factories in Cambodia. Based on individual interviews, the report brings to light the widespread use of debt bondage in Cambodian brick factories and the role it plays in encouraging and sustaining child labour (LICADHO, 2016)

Human Trafficking Vulnerabilities in Asia: A Study on Forced Marriage between Cambodia and China

Keywords: Cambodia, China, Forced marriage,

Research report by UN-ACT, with support from Ratanak International and others, analyzing the experiences of 42 Cambodian women who experienced conditions of forced marriage in China (UN-ACT, 2016)

Employment available in exchange for debt: Working conditions in the Thai broiler industry

Keywords: Forced Labour, Myanmar, Thailand,

Research report examining the working conditions at Thai broiler chicken production facilities. It is based on interviews carried out in May and June of 2015 with migrant workers from six Thai factories. The focus is on migrant workers, who have come to Thai- land from Myanmar and are responsible for the majority of jobs in slaughter houses and processing plants (Finnwatch, 2015)

Same Same But Different: A Baseline Study on the Vulnerabilities of Transgender Sex Workers in Bangkok's Sex Industry

Keywords: Prostitution, Sexual Exploitation, Thailand, transgender,

Report drawing on 60 in-depth interviews with transgender workers in the sex industry in Bangkok. It documents vulnerabilities to and cases of exploitation and debt bondage, and the physical and sexual abuse that transgender sex workers endure on a daily basis. The report also provides recommendations to the government, religious and community groups, and social researchers on the development of social programs and services to meet the needs of such groups (Dton Naam, Equitas and Love146, 2016)

The Global Slavery Index 2016

Keywords: Global,

Research report providing an estimate of the number of people in modern slavery, the factors that make individuals vulnerable to this crime, and an assessment of government action across 167 countries (Walk Free, 2016)

Best Response: Auditors' Insights on Child Labor in Asia

Keywords: Asia Pacific, child labour,

Report outlining child labor practices in the supply chains as encountered by auditors. It examines the findings from an auditor survey with 557 auditors from nine countries in Asia, together with the qualitative results from interviews with 40 selected auditors who participated in the survey. The report also identifies the gaps and challenges in preventing and responding to child labor (Center for Child Rights & Corporate Social Responsibility, 2016)

The Human Cost of Conflict Palm Oil

Keywords: Indonesia, palm oil,

Research examining living and working conditions of labourers on palm oil plantations owned by Indofood, and documenting various exploitative practices carried out by the company. The report also provides recommendations to Indofood, partners and customers of Indofood, financial institutions that engage directly with Indofood, and also the Indonesian government to stop the exploitation of workers on palm oil plantations (Oppuk, Rainforest Action Network & ILRF, 2016)

'The Harvest is in My Blood': Hazardous Child Labor in Tobacco Farming in Indonesia

Keywords: child labour, Indonesia, tobacco,

Research including interviews with more than 130 children working on tobacco farms in Indonesia, and documenting major risks that could have long-term consequences on the health and development of child workers. It also discusses the responsibilities of the government as well as tobacco companies in preventing human rights abuses in the tobacco industry (Human Rights Watch, 2016)

Made in Taiwan: Government Failure and Illegal, Abusive and Criminal Fisheries

Keywords: Fishing, Taiwan,

Research examining acute and enduring problems in Taiwan’s fishing industry, particularly in its distant water fleet, the global impact of its behaviour, and the official response to those problems. Concerns centre on the environmental impacts of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, labour conditions on Taiwanese-flagged vessels, human rights and labour abuses at sea, and overfishing (Greenpeace, 2016)

Ethical Audits and the Supply Chains of Global Corporations

Keywords: Global, supply chain,

Research based on 25 interviews with ethical auditors, business executives, NGOs and supplier firms as well as a number of factory visits, and examining whether audits are effective in identifying non-compliance and driving up standards (University of Sheffield, 2016)

Modern Slavery in East Asia: Protecting the rights and promoting the autonomy of domestic migrant workers from Indonesia and the Philippines

Keywords: domestic work, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore,

Research giving insights into the business of migrant domestic work and providing evidence of the systematic exploitation of workers heading to two important destination countries. The report evaluates the experiences of migrants in all steps of the migration process, and analyzes how these experiences have shaped migration outcomes (Farsight, 2016)

The New Slave in the Kitchen: Debt Bondage and Women Migrant Domestic Workers in Asia

Keywords: Debt bondage, domestic work,

Research outlining the concept of debt bondage and examining how the situation of women migrant domestic workers often leads into debt bondage and slave-like conditions. It also discusses how governments and other institutions do or don't deal with debt bondage, and provides guidance on the way forward (APWLD, 2011)

Coming Clean: The prevalence of forced labour and human trafficking for the purpose of forced labour amongst migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong

Keywords: domestic work, Forced Labour, Hong Kong,

Report on a quantitative research based on interviews with over 1,000 migrant domestic workers (MDWs) in Hong Kong and estimating the prevalence of forced labour and human trafficking for the purpose of forced labour amongst over 336,000 MDWs in the city (Hong Kong Justice Centre, 2016)

Transparency Snapshot: A Pilot Benchmark Report

Keywords: supply chains, transparency,

A pilot study examining the transparency and disclosure statements of select companies with regards to human trafficking and forced labour (Know The Chain, 2016)

The Role of Recruitment Fees and Abusive and Fraudulent Recruitment Practices of Recruitment Agencies in Trafficking in Persons

Keywords: Recruitment agencies,

Research examining the relationship between recruitment fees and other abusive and fraudulent practices of recruitment agencies and trafficking in persons, with a particular focus on criminal justice measures to address this relationship and whether states use their anti‐trafficking legislation to prosecute persons involved in such recruitment practices (UNODC, 2015)

Unacceptable Forms of Work: A Global and Comparative Study

Keywords: Global, Labour,

Study identifying unacceptable forms of work (UFW) and devising targeted social and economic policies that aim to eliminate or transform such jobs. It aims to construct a robust conception of UFW that can be operationalized for research and policy intervention. The report has a particular focus on renditions of unacceptability in legal and regulatory spheres and therefore regulatory concepts, mechanisms, and outcomes (ILO, 2015)

An Exploratory Study on the Role of Corruption in International Labor Migration

Keywords: corruption, Labour, migration,

An exploratory research examining three illustrative transnational migrant worker recruitment corridors – Nepal to Qatar, Myanmar to Malaysia, and Myanmar to Thailand – to identify the points in the recruitment process where bribes or illicit payments are solicited and paid; the entities implicated; the range and nature of such payments; and the corresponding benefit that accrues to the employers of migrant workers (Verite and The Freedom Fund, 2016)

Psychosocial and Mental Health Service Provision for Survivors of Trafficking: Baseline Research in the Greater Mekong Subregion and Indonesia

Keywords: GMS, health, Indonesia, IOM, migration, Service provision, trafficking,

This is a report prepared by Sean Devine for the International Organization of Migration, Regional Office Bangkok on the Psychosocial and Mental Health Service Provision for Survivors of Trafficking: Baseline Research in the Greater Mekong Subregion and Indonesia (IOM, 2009).

Border Control in the Greater Mekong Sub-region: Baseline, challenges and opportunities to build effective law enforcement response to organized crime along land borders

Keywords: Border control, GMS, Law enforcement, Organised Crime, UNODC,

This is a report on the baseline, challenges and opportunities to build effective law enforcement response to organized crime along land borders in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (UNODC, 2013).

A Report of Migrant Children & Child Labourers and Seafood Processing in Thailand's Fishing Industry

Keywords: child labour, Children, Fishing, Migrants, seafood, Thailand,

This is a report produced on the prevalence of migrant children and child labourers in the Thailand seafood processing and fishing industries (terre des hommes Germany and LPN, 2015).

Summary of Regional and Sub-Regional Structures and Initiatives to Counter Trafficking in Persons, December 2010

Keywords: regional, trafficking,

This is a Summary of Regional and Sub-Regional Structures and Initiatives to Counter Trafficking in Persons based on submissions received from regional mechanisms in response to questionnaire of the UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, the Special Rapporteur’s 2010 Report to the Human Rights Council and more recent submissions (UNHCR, 2010).

Trapped in the Kitchen of the World: The situation of migrant workers in Thailand's poultry industry

Keywords: Migrant Workers, Poultry, Thailand,

A study investigating the levels of social responsibility taken by Swedish stakeholders in their trade with Thai suppliers against the standards stipulated in Sweden's National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, including by analyzing Interviews with 98 migrant workers employed by four different Thai poultry producers (Finnwatch and Swedwatch, 2015)

A Raw Deal: Abuses of Thai Workers in Israel's Agricultural Sector

Keywords: Agricultural, Human righhts, Israel, Thailand,

This is a Human Rights Watch report into abuses of Thai workers in Israel's agricultural sector (Human Rights Watch, 2015)

Inaccurate Numbers, Inadequate Policies: Enhancing Data to Evaluate the Prevalence of Human Trafficking in ASEAN

Keywords: Data, trafficking,

This is a report written by Jessie Brunner and published by the East-West Center on Enhancing Data to Evaluate the Prevalence of Human Trafficking in ASEAN (East-West Center, 2015)

UN-ACT Research Strategy: Vulnerabilities, Trends and Impact

Keywords: Cambodia, China, GMS, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam,

Research strategy setting out the conceptual framework for UN-ACT's research work, the priority areas and methodological approaches. It also discusses the Project's efforts to help develop standards for research on human trafficking, and how it seeks to promote their application (UN-ACT, 2015)

Combating Trafficking in South-East Asia: A Review of Policy and Programme Responses. IOM (2000)

Keywords: South East Asia, trafficking,

Study based on the review of available studies, papers and proposals on trafficking in South-East Asia. The data were collected within documentation centres of IOM, ILO and UNICEF in Geneva, through exploration of relevant web pages and from resource people in Geneva as well as in South-East Asia.

An Honest Broker: Improving Cross-Border Recruitment Practices for the Benefit of Government, Workers and Employers

Keywords: labour migration, Recruitment agencies,

Report on a three-country research examining the laws and policies on migrant recruitment and analysing the experiences of both formal and informal migrants in Cambodia, Lao PDR and Thailand (ILO, 2008)

In African Waters: The Trafficking of Cambodian Fishers in South Africa

Keywords: Cambodia, fisheries,

Research on the experiences of 31 Cambodian men who migrated for work in the fishing industry through a legally registered recruitment agency in Cambodia - Giant Ocean - and ended up trafficked and exploited on fishing vessels off the coast of South Africa between 2010 and 2013 (NEXUS Institute & IOM, 2014)

Health and human trafficking in the Greater Mekong Sub-region

Keywords: GMS, health,

Survey report analyzing the health consequences of human trafficking as reported by 1,102 respondents in post-trafficking services in Cambodia, Thailand and Viet Nam (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, IOM, Anesvad, 2014)

Human Trafficking Trends in Asia: Migration Experiences of Lao workers deported from Thailand in 2013

Keywords: labour migration, Laos, Sentinel surveillance, Thailand,

A research report by UN-ACT analysing the migration experiences of Lao workers deported from Thailand, with a view to identifying potential cases of human trafficking. The study draws on a dataset collected in 2013 and makes comparisons with the experiences of Cambodian workers deported from Thailand as captured in a similar study published in 2015 (UN-ACT, 2015)

Human Trafficking Trends in Asia: Migration Experiences of Cambodian workers deported from Thailand in 2009, 2010 & 2012

Keywords: Cambodia, labour migration, Sentinel surveillance, Thailand,

A research report by UN-ACT analysing the migration experiences of Cambodian workers deported from Thailand, with a view to identifying potential cases of human trafficking. The study draws on three datasets collected in 2009, 2010 and 2012, thereby allowing for an analysis of trends over time (UN-ACT, 2015)

The Vulnerability Report: Human Trafficking in the Greater Mekong Sub-region

Keywords: GMS, migration,

A study by World Vision of migration-related knowledge and behaviors in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) to inform the organization's 'End Trafficking in Persons' (ETIP) program (World Vision, 2014)

Beneath the surface. Methodological issues in research and data collection with assisted trafficking victims

Keywords: Global,

A research paper by IOM/Nexus Institute discussing, on the basis of IOM's Counter-Trafficking Module (CTM), current trafficking research, lessons learned and suggestions for future research and data collection, including ethical and methodological considerations (IOM/NEXUS Institute, 2010)

Employment practices and working conditions in Thailand's fishing sector

Keywords: fisheries, Thailand,

Report on a survey of employment practices and working conditions within the commercial fishing sector in four coastal provinces of Thailand. The analysis draws on a stratified sample of almost 600 fishers employed on Thai boats fishing in national and international waters (ILO, 2013)

Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labour

Keywords: Forced Labor, Global,

Study seeking to estimate the profits generated through forced labour around the world. In doing so, it utilizes the numbers provided by the ILO's 2012 Global Estimate of Forced Labour, and looks at the correlation between forced labour and poverty (ILO, 2014)

Forced Labour in the Production of Electronic Goods in Malaysia

Keywords: Forced Labor, Malaysia,

Report on the findings of a research involving 501 electronics workers in Malaysia from 8 countries including Malaysia. The study applied a qualitative-quantitative mixed method approach seeking to identify cases of forced labour in the industry, and to explore particular aspects of vulnerability (Verité, 2014)

After Trafficking: Experiences and Challenges in the (Re)Integration of Trafficked Persons in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region (Summary Report)

Keywords: (Re)integration, Cambodia, China, COMMIT, GMS, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam,

Summary report on the COMMIT (Re)Integration Research Project, capturing and analyzing the (re)integration experiences of trafficked persons from across the Greater Mekong Sub-Region (COMMIT, NEXUS Institute, UNIAP, 2013)

Report on an Exploratory Research about Migration and Human Trafficking to China in Luang Namtha and Phongsaly, Lao PDR

Keywords: China, Laos,

Report on an exploratory research project between the Lao Academy of Social Sciences and UNIAP, seeking to identify and analyze cases of cross-border human trafficking from northern Lao PDR to China (UNIAP, 2013)

An Exploratory Research on the Experiences and Needs of Returned Vietnamese Overseas Migrant Workers

Keywords: labour migration, Recruitment agencies, Vietnam,

Report on a research project by the Center for Studies and Applied Sciences in Gender, Family, Women and Adolescents (CSAGA), seeking to understand the experiences and needs of returned Vietnamese overseas workers who encountered problems during their migration period (CSAGA, 2013)

After Trafficking: Experiences and Challenges in the (Re)Integration of Trafficked Persons in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region

Keywords: (Re)integration, Cambodia, China, COMMIT, GMS, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam,

Report on the COMMIT (Re)Integration Research Project, capturing and analyzing the (re)integration experiences of trafficked persons from across the Greater Mekong Sub-Region (COMMIT, NEXUS Institute, UNIAP, 2013)

Human Trafficking Sentinel Surveillance: Poipet, Cambodia 2009-2010

Keywords: Cambodia, labour migration, Sentinel surveillance, Thailand,

Research report on the migration experiences of irregular Cambodian migrant workers deported from Thailand, including an analysis on potentially non-identified trafficked persons (UNIAP, 2010)

Human Trafficking Sentinel Surveillance: Vietnam-China Border 2010

Keywords: China, labour migration, Sentinel surveillance, Vietnam,

Research report on the migration experiences of irregular Vietnamese migrant workers deported from China, including an analysis on potentially non-identified trafficked persons (UNIAP, 2011)

ILO Global Estimate of Forced Labour 2012: Results and Methodology

Keywords: Forced Labor, Global,

The 2012 results and methodology section of the ILO's annual Global Estimate of Forced Labour applying a revised research method and presenting the latest numbers and analysis (ILO, 2012).

Estimating Labor Trafficking: A Study of Burmese Migrant Workers in Samut Sakhon, Thailand (UNIAP Trafficking Estimates Competition)

Keywords: fisheries, labour migration, Myanmar, Thailand,

Research report establishing an estimate of labour trafficking of foreign migrant workers (primarily from Myanmar) in Samut Sakhon, one of the largest seafood processing industrial areas in Thailand (Labour Rights Promotion Network (LPN) and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2011)

Recruitment Agencies and the Employment of Cambodian Domestic Workers in Malaysia

Keywords: Cambodia, labour migration, Malaysia, Recruitment agencies,

Research report on the experiences of Cambodian maids who enlisted the services of recruitment agencies to work in Malaysia (UNIAP, 2011)  

Measuring the Extent of Sex Trafficking in Cambodia: 2008 (UNIAP Trafficking Estimates Competition)

Keywords: Cambodia, Trafficking estimates competition,

Research report on measuring the numbers and locations of women and children who are trafficked within or into Cambodia for commercial sexual exploitation (Thomas M. Steinfatt & Simon Baker, 2011)

A Quantitative Analysis on Human Trafficking: The Case of An Giang Province (UNIAP Trafficking Estimates Competition)

Keywords: Trafficking estimates competition, Vietnam,

Research report introducing a heat map of the Vietnamese An Giang province that highlights micro areas with numbers of suspected and identified trafficked persons, including trends over the years 2006, 2007 and 2008, as well as an analysis thereof (An Giang University, 2011)