Sayara Maps Services for Victims of Trafficking in the Horn of Africa

Sayara International recently completed a research project funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa Better Migration Management (BMM) Project. Sayara mapped available services for victims of trafficking, as well as refugees and other vulnerable migrants in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somaliland and Sudan. The Horn of Africa is characterized by significant population movements through both regular and irregular channels. Most migrants and refugees from the Horn of Africa travel within the region, but many also find their way along several major migration routes through Kenya, Ethiopia, Somaliland and Djibouti heading toward Europe or the Gulf States. Along the way, many of these migrants are vulnerable to human trafficking, defined as the exploitation of human beings for purposes of profit. Men, women and children across the Horn of Africa are trafficked for labor in farms, homes, and construction sites; for sexual exploitation; for adoption; and for other purposes such as forced marriage.

The scope of the problem is difficult to quantify as trafficking generally takes place in the shadows and data collection is a challenge. Coordination in providing services to victims also is a significant challenge, as organizations struggle on limited budgets and under legal and policy regimes which are not always clear. The BMM Project, through implementer Expertise France, provided funding to conduct a mapping of agencies and organizations providing essential services to victims of trafficking across these countries. No comprehensive mapping focused on trafficking service providers had been conducted in any of the countries to-date, leaving service providers to work through informal networks and their mobile phone contacts lists.

Sayara’s team included migration experts and researchers from all five countries. Sayara worked closely with government and civil society stakeholders to examine the general landscape of migration service providers in each country. Focus group discussions, key informant interviews, and expert consultation informed Sayara’s design of a tailored data collection instrument to profile each service provider. Data collection covered services such as shelter, medical attention, psychological support, basic needs, economic empowerment, legal assistance, and specialized services for children. Across the five countries, more than 300 service providers were mapped and then vetted. Sayara developed a design concept that responded to the expressed needs of stakeholders for a user-friendly design based on icons that would provide easy searching, quick access to information, as well as adapt to different languages. The final outcome was a printed directory of service providers for each country that will be distributed to stakeholders so as to better enable referral of trafficking victims and other vulnerable migrants to the services they need. The data gathered by Sayara also will be compiled into online versions of each country’s directory, which will ultimately help to protect migrants, refugees in the East of Africa.