Using Knowledge Management Skills to Curb Human Trafficking

Presented by Sammy Mwangi, the Coordinator of Consolation East Africa, during FBO and CSO Counter Human Trafficking Symposium held on 22nd to 24th November 2011

Knowledge management is defined as a conscious strategy of getting the right knowledge to the right people, at the right time and helping people share and put information into action in ways that strive to improve effectiveness. Knowledge increases its values when managed and shared. Effective knowledge systems in countering human trafficking allow organizations to maximize the impact of their work. All organizations working to counter human trafficking should take great importance on knowledge management and sharing its resources.

Information management deals with the structuring, organizing, classifying and controlling of information throughout its life cycle. It supports knowledge management by enabling people to access, share and make sense of codified and tacit information. The challenge of knowledge management in countering human trafficking is to determine what information qualifies as valuable to the specific target group. However general or basic information on human rights issues could befit all targets.

Existing situation

The existing situation is that since the adoption of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Protocol and a corresponding increase in anti-trafficking initiatives which have had significant impact on trafficking remain few. With progress being made in many areas, valuable resources continue to be used sub-optimally e.g. when activities are designed with little or no evidential basis or unnecessarily duplicate work already done. There is great need to merge all available information to support a better coordinated and evidence-based approach and harness the combined inputs and resources of all stakeholders.

  Benefits of knowledge management in countering human trafficking

  • Considerable time, money and efforts are saved through learning from others’ experiences to find solutions more quickly.
  • Knowledge management develops understanding of the challenges and solutions for the organizational improvement.
  • Support timely professional development by developing skills.
  • Using the knowledge to provide a foundation for new work hence improving results.
  • Counter human trafficking networks are strengthened as people across the networks can learn from each other.

Way forward

Knowledge management constituent aim to ensure that anti-trafficking interventions are based on the best available information and evidence, including information on existing programmes, emerging trends and new approaches from all involved actors.

It will ensure maximum accessibility of information and knowledge for actors across the anti-trafficking organizations, not only through its appropriate dissemination, but also through translation of the important documents into different languages and communication through a broader variety of media.

Knowledge base on human trafficking will be expanded, identification and filling of gaps in understanding and keeping knowledge up-to-date and dynamic in order to get information to the people who need it most.

It is the responsibility of all the actors whose mission is to accomplish this through their powers and capacities to fight human trafficking in all its manifestations as an ethical, moral and political imperative.

The difficulties in collecting information about human trafficking may result from the diversity of information resources, originating from public entities or from civil society, all of which have quite distinct intervention goals, such as research, the fight against this crime and the people who profit from it and support and protection to the victims. It is therefore essential to gather indicators which can be used as the basis for the definition of policies in order to develop more appropriate and effective intervention practices.

As the crime of human trafficking is supported by networks, often organized at a global scale its transnational nature makes it even more important to establish interconnection with international organizations, promoting knowledge and the sharing of information. There is a great need to combine the information gathered from different actors that provide support to the victims, including judicial and police authorities, FBOs, NGOs and international organizations.

It is important to understand the victims of trafficking and their scale of trafficking experiences that is from trafficking routes to recruitment practices; causes of trafficking to experiences of exploitation and experiences of identification and assistance.

Concrete, reliable information on human trafficking is an essential basis for all good interventions, policy and legislation. In the absence of this information it is impossible to know the extent or the true nature of the trafficking problem and understand the complexity of the issues involved. This result in the policymakers and practitioners less able to act effectively which in turn has direct and very serious implications for the lives of the trafficked persons their families and their communities. It also negatively affects the development of a country and well being of its citizens. In addition, with the illegality of the trafficking of human, failure to act or to act inappropriately may lead unintended consequences for trafficked persons and in some cases to the anti-trafficking personnel. Concrete, verifiable information is needed about all aspects of trafficking in persons.

To effectively combat this complex and multifaceted reality an integrated approach which always underlines the human rights perspective is critical in developing of strategies centered on the prevention, support, empowerment and inclusion of trafficking victims.

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