A Multi-Disciplinary Research Project Addressing


Developing effective trafficking-prevention models requires studying and learning from the successful work of small, locally-run NGOs that use proven methods rooted in the wisdom of international development and other disciplines.

The findings of this research will then be used to help anti-trafficking programs understand what really works, adapt that knowledge to their local context, and apply evidence-based practice to create ethical, effective programs to end the vulnerability issues that form the root causes of exploitation and re-exploitation.

Project Scope

Partner with locally-run organizations and include local stakeholders to understand the issues facing their communities and their vision for how those problems can be solved

Conduct academic research

Develop evidence-based best practices

Multi-media and multi-language publication of results

  • Podcasts
  • Videos
  • Blogs
  • Ebooks
  • Online courses

Develop strategic pilot programs

Connect With Us

To find out more about a breakdown of costs, project specifics and how you can get involved please contact us.

Sourcing the wisdom of grassroots development organizations to prevent human trafficking

The local organizations that will be studied for this project understand what situations are making people vulnerable to human trafficking, what interventions are needed, and have developed programs that empower communities to address vulnerability in ways that are respectful and culturally appropriate.

The Roots Research Project Will:

Partner With Locally-Run Organizations

We will partner with local organizations to measure and evaluate what makes their programs successful and to document the social and cultural knowledge that led them to develop their programs.

Include Local Stakeholders

This project will approach local stakeholders as the experts on what is needed to reduce vulnerability in their communities, and what interventions are successful while respecting  of the rights and dignity of those in vulnerable situations.


Conduct Academic Research

The research will be conducted in accordance with academic and ethical best practices as developed by the independent ethical review boards of our partner institutions and organizations.

Use Multimedia Publication of Results

This project will prioritize using a multi-media storytelling approach to share the results of the research with the people working on the frontlines of the fight against human trafficking.

Develop Evidence-Based Best Practices

A significant outcome from this project will be the development of evidence-based best practices for reducing vulnerability and preventing human trafficking in Southeast Asia.

Develop Strategic Pilot Programs

Another intended outcome of this research project is the development of strategic pilot programs in partnership with communities by new partner organizations, and partner granting organizations.

Why Is More Research Needed?

Current attempts to prevent human trafficking are not adaquately addressing the social and economic issues that increase the risk of trafficking. Currently, the primary methods of fighting human trafficking focus on the criminal justice aspects of the issue and on rescuing and rehabilitating survivors. While these aspects are important they fail to address the injustices, inequalities, and absence of social support services that make families susceptible to human trafficking.

More research is needed to understand how communities can effectively address these issues. This research will also serve as a connection between community organizations and granting organizations focused on eliminating human trafficking.

Root Causes

These eight categories of societial issues include a majority of risk factors that make people and communities vulnerable to human trafficking.



  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Sexuality



  • Resilience
  • Vulnerability


  • Migration
  • Statelessness
  • Citizenship
  • Refugees/Asylum seekers
  • Law and policy


  • Culture
  • Religion
  • Patriarchy/Misogyny
  • Harmful Practices


  • Poverty
  • Economic inequality and injustice
  • Structural barriers 


  • Labor dynamics and policy (globalization/ migraton)
  • Barriers to job entry and success
  • Job creation and challenges
  • Social enterprise (employment vs. entrepreneurship)


  • Lack of access (status, e.g. female/non-citizen), location, cost, other barriers)
  • Quality
  • Relevance for job market


  • Human Rights
  • Conflict/War
  • Rights-Based Approach
  • Trauma-Informed Care

We Want To Learn

How do organizations identify and assess root issues and vulnerabilities?

How do organizations design and develop programs and how do they involve the community in the process?

How do organizations select beneficiaries and manage cases over time?

How do local organizations develop and manage government relationships and navigate political situations?

How do local organizations secure funding and how do they prioritize the use of funding?

How do local organizations manage staff education and training? What resources are available and what is still needed?

How are the efforts of these organizations perceived in their communities? Does the community feel that their needs are being addressed?

What have organizations learned about effectiveness from disciplines outside of the anti-trafficking field?

How can lessons gleaned from successful projects improve the anti-trafficking movement?

How We Will Share Our Findings

As the project progresses we hope to add additional language translations to our publications to better serve local language sectors of the anti-trafficking industry.

Publishing and Deliverables

Coming Soon