Humanity Research Consultancy (HRC) is starting a new project with Winrock International, funded by USAID Asia CTIP, to conduct participatory research with trafficking survivor networks in Bangladesh. This research will improve understanding of practices that achieve effective bottom-up systemic change. In previous research projects, HRC identified survivor networks and survivor leaders as key contributors to the processes of victim identification and successful survivor reintegration after the experience of trafficking. We have also seen that survivor networks can be very effective at leading efforts to change local and more widespread systemic conditions that drive vulnerability to trafficking. However, not enough has been documented about the specific kinds of relational practices and strategies that lead to effective change.
In order to learn more about how survivors are building power and having an impact, this project will work with members of the survivor network ANIRBAN in Bangladesh. ANIRBAN is a survivor-led network established with the help of Winrock International that organises in communities facing vulnerabilities to trafficking in order to build power and better protect people. HRC will work closely with the ANIRBAN members in an action research process that will help both sides develop deeper critical understandings of successful organising practices.
Data will be collected to develop two additional planned outputs. The first will be a social network analysis (SNA), which will provide insights into the nature of ANIRBAN’s work in communities. Using the SNA approach, it will be possible to identify the extent of their reach, how many people they help directly and indirectly, the gaps of their reach, and the relationship between outcomes for those who are helped and outcome relationship to physical proximity and number of interactions. The second output will be an economic valuation of reintegration/rehabilitation support. We will build a model, using several evidence-based assumptions, of the government of Bangladesh’s economic costs of NOT helping survivors to reintegrate. This model will provide evidence to guide advocacy around victim protection legislation as well as demonstrate the cost effectiveness of survivor centred projects. It will draw links between efforts to support survivors now and long-term economic benefits.
The ultimate goal of this project is to support survivor networks’ organising efforts and to contribute to strengthening their capacities for understanding, documenting, and sharing their impacts, such as their contributions to creating systemic change. The evidence will be synthesised in order to support counter trafficking policy and practice, establish new networks to effectively support survivors and carry out other activities, such as rescues, identification, reintegration, and training. With this, the project will deepen our understanding regarding the complex systemic conditions in which network building happens, allowing us to get a sense of why it is successful in some places such as Bangladesh, but not in others – such as Cambodia, so far.