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Reintegration Services for Survivors of Human Trafficking: A Feminist Analysis of the Challenges of Advocacy Facing Non-Government Organisations

Tue, July 10, 4:00 to 5:30pm, Room, 11A 33


The third sector plays a vital role in providing reintegration services for survivors of human trafficking. Non-government organisations (NGOs) have been working to rehabilitate, re-empower and reintegrate survivors of human trafficking (Jayagupta, 2009). While it can be argued that the bulk of responsibility for human trafficking survivors is left to NGOs, these organisations rely heavily on public funding (Surtees & de Kerchove, 2014; Hoff, 2014; Ucnikova, 2014). Cooperation between state and third sector responses gets complicated when funding is contingent on political agenda. Davy (2015) highlights the need for a partnership approach to anti trafficking innitiatives, requiring various organisations to work together to better combat human trafficking. Financial support for many anti-trafficking NGOs remains unstable because social contracts are required to maintain political donations (Hoff, 2014). The debate between liberal and radical feminist discourse has infiltrated political discourse, particularly surrounding sex industry policy and organisations working with sex trafficking survivors (Phillips & Cree, 2014; Phipps, 2016; Sloan & Wahab, 2000; McKinnon, 2011). Strong competing feminist viewpoints prevent robust action against human trafficking. Phillips (2015) identifies the importance of an NGOs underlying agendas and conceptualisations of feminist strategies which are important in initiating social change, however often overlooked. Therefore, successful and coordinated anti trafficking initiatives between state and third sector organisations must acknowledge the disagreement surrounding sex work policy throughout contemporary feminist discourse. The current research addresses modern slavery for the purposes of sexual exploitation through a lens which identifies the competing feminist arguments which inform the bulk of the anti-trafficking discourse.
Third sector agents such as NGOs straddle a critical chasm between policy and practice. For this reason, they are perfectly positioned to contribute valuable experiential knowledge to better support reintegration, and address risk factors for re-trafficking. Informed by a feminist framework, the methodology of the research involves a qualitative design, utilizing a combination of discourse analysis, and interviews with survivor support service staff and volunteers throughout non-government organisations. The research questions which will inform the semi structured interviews are: What post-trafficking services are available for survivors of human trafficking? And; What is the role of the state and NGOs in delivery of services? The comparative discourse analysis will include grey literature such as NGO and government reports and policy statements regarding anti-trafficking initiatives. The discourse analysis will be informed by the following questions: What are the feminist arguments influencing these relationships/services/roles? And; How can these competing perspectives come together to improve outcomes for the survivors, post trafficking experience? This study utilises critical third sector partnerships and recognizes the vital role which NGOs may play in illuminating gaps in prevention, protection, prosecution and partnership initiatives (Davy, 2015). Therefore, the research is conducted with the goal of informing improved coordination and cooperation throughout state and third sector post-trafficking services. Field work is expected to take place early 2018, and therefore preliminary findings will be reported upon.