We know it is impossible for our survivor care programs to personally care for every single one of the millions of children who have been enslaved. We know that we need to find out what effect our efforts to help survivors have in the long term, after they leave our programs.
That’s why we are passionate about research. Through the research we are doing and fueling in partner organizations, we can bring all that we’re learning to the table and share it with others providing care to boys and girls who have been trafficked.
We’re really excited about one such research project in Cambodia — a decade-long study of a group of exploited children and an analysis of the support they’re receiving as they reintegrate back into their local communities or with their families. It is called the Butterfly Longitudinal Research Project and it is currently in its fourth year. This research is unique because we are talking directly to survivors about their lives. We want to learn from them about their perspectives and experiences. This is a study listening to the voices of an often marginalized group.
In many ways, reintegration is one of the most crucial points in healing. And, if a survivor is then re-exploited, we must ask: Was the care effective? There are a lot of potential vulnerabilities to consider. For example, in our research, some children were referred back to their families and didn’t know how to respond when their parents pressured them to quit school and earn money for the family.
As Dr. Glenn Miles, director of our Asia Capacity Building program, shares, these findings mean organizations providing survivor care don’t have to “reinvent the wheel” when it comes to effective work.
“The information can be used by organizations to improve their practice. For example, there was really good discussion about the skills that clients need to survive in reintegration — such as coping with shame, anger management and conflict resolution. Through sharing some of these early findings, we have been able to get programs to look seriously at their child protection policies to make centers a safer place for survivors.”
We’re excited to support the global movement to care for survivors. Sharing research like this is vital if boys and girls who have been sexually exploited are to be given the level of care they deserve.
Thank you for helping us share
more research that is ending slavery.