Better evaluation needs better design — harnessing accumulated knowledge to reduce human trafficking

Since the adoption in 2000 of the UN Trafficking in Persons Protocol, which signalled renewed international interest in combatting human trafficking, progress on this issue remains somewhat limited.

Commissioned by the UN Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons (ICAT) to produce a paper on the state of evaluation in the counter-trafficking sector, RCG Director Phil Marshall and associate Jacqueline Berman found that the value added by evaluations was significantly limited by repeated and ongoing shortcomings in project and program design, in particular a failure to draw on accumulated knowledge from within and outside the sector.

In response, the RCG team developed a toolkit aimed at improving program design through harnessing this accumulated knowledge. The toolkit highlights key lessons learned and a series of questions to consider when developing different types of counter-trafficking activities. The team believes that use of the toolkit could save the counter-trafficking sector millions of dollars a year by steering program design away from common pitfalls toward more promising types of interventions.