Global Need for Data     |     Recommendations

The Global Need for Data

Requires collaboration with stakeholders.
Collecting data ​to identify and document what is and isn't working on the frontlines.
Sharing the data to help combat sex and labor trafficking.

The following quotes are general recommendations to improve data collection for anti-trafficking work
​and in no way reflect support for United Against Slavery nor the National Outreach Survey.

"Empirical research on human trafficking is limited. Particularly lacking are studies on larger, more potentially representative samples of trafficked people, and longer-term studies to better understand post-trafficking health changes. Empirical data on trafficking of men, their health needs and service access, is especially scarce."
World Health Organization
Report: "Understanding and addressing violence against women - Human Trafficking" (page 5)

"The availability of reliable, high-quality data is critical for designing the most effective strategies and interventions in the global fight against human trafficking. Primary data is extremely difficult to gather, however, and much of the limited data that is collected remains inaccessible. While some governments and a few large, well-funded organizations manage sophisticated databases, the cost of building and maintaining such systems can be prohibitive. Instead, most organizations maintain case files that rely on basic databases, spreadsheets, and paper files, thus the form, quality, and type of data stored can vary widely. The lack of effective data collection and management results in:

1. Poor data management practices and systems. Organizations without the funding or capacity to develop well-designed, modern practices and systems cannot easily search and analyze their own data.​2. Weak privacy protections. The privacy of individual trafficking survivors may be compromised by inadequate data management practices and systems susceptible to intrusion or corruption.

3. “Siloed” data. Most data are accessible only to the collecting organization and, in some cases their funders, and not to other researchers, academics, practitioners, and policy-makers unless those organizations have developed effective strategies to share data while also ensuring privacy protections.

4. Lack of standardization. Data sets are often not standardized within or across organizations and may be incomplete and incompatible."

Department of State Report: "2019 Trafficking in Persons Report" (page 16)

"In 2009, under the auspices of the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT), UNODC published a report that included global and regional statistics on trafficking in persons. This report concluded that internationally standardized data were still not available at that time. Other global studies also reported on how research and data on this crime were sparse. However, numbers and estimates referring to the supposed global magnitude of the phenomenon proliferated."
UNODC
Report: "2018 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons" (page 15)

"There is a need for more data on the health consequences of trafficking for forced labor."
Department of State - Bureau of Public Affairs
Report: "Health Consequences of Trafficking in Persons" (page 1)

"It is widely acknowledged that measuring modern slavery is a difficult undertaking, not least because no single source provides suitable and reliable data on all forms of modern slavery."
Global Slavery Index
Website: "2018 Global Slavery Index"

"Research in the field continues to evolve and has focused almost exclusively on the victims. Reliable data are needed, especially about the characteristics of victims and perpetrators, the mechanism of operations, and assessments of trends. In addition, law enforcement officials must overcome substantial legal, cultural, and organizational barriers to investigating and prosecuting trafficking cases. These barriers, and strategies to overcome them, are still being identified."
National Institute for Justice
Website: "Overview of Human Trafficking and NIJ's Role

The National Outreach Survey (NOS) is not designed to replace existing anti-trafficking research. Instead, the NOS is designed to be an innovative research tool to provide comprehensive empirical frontline data that will be accessible to the public-at-large for further dissemination, to help combat all forms of human trafficking in the United States and around the globe.

70 Countries -  2016 Pilot.jpg

Demand for Global Research

Our 2016 Pilot Study started as a research project for participants in the United States but quickly expanded across the globe. Activists around the globe wanted their voices to be heard as well.

At the completion of the study, we had 47 states and 70 countries represented. These participants confirmed the need for global stakeholders to participate in future data collection efforts.