Through the Underserved Victims initiative, UNIAP works with its partners to provide immediate support to victims of trafficking and in turn highlights these trafficking patterns to advocate for a broader understanding of human trafficking. It is well recognized that the majority of victims are not formally identified as such and are then unable to access support services they may require. Such victims are the focus of this initiative who are not provided formal support through state or other NGO provision. It is targeted to those areas where the scale of the problem is more severe and there are not sufficient options available to exploited and trafficked persons, or those services that are available are not reaching the populations or do not meet their needs.
One group of trafficking victims that is often underserved is male victims of labour exploitation, forced to work on boats or in plantations or factories. While laws and policies have been revised across much of the Greater Mekong Sub-region recognizing male victims of trafficking, there remains a lack of provision of services. Further populations include those recruited through formal channels into unpaid and forced domestic work, or sex workers who entered the sector willingly and were then exploited, but not regarded as trafficked and cannot therefore access appropriate assistance. Often they are instead treated as criminals, or return home in considerable debt.
UNIAP directs much of its Support to Underserved Victims to grassroots organisations which have the knowledge and capacity required to provide support to the victims. These organisations are selected based on their location in hotspot areas, their effective identification of the populations in need and their ability to provide assistance to these populations. UNIAP’s support is coordinated with other partners in the region, including NGOs and international organisations such as IOM and ILO, and through the development of referral networks, including relevant government agencies.
Support to underserved victims of trafficking under this initiative to date has supported the following NGOs in undertaking the projects below:
Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO) Project title: Support to trafficked Cambodian fishermen (July 2008 – July 2009); and, Assistance to victims of labour trafficking, including support to follow up investigations (2010 – 2011)
Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF) Project title: Legal support to pursue justice for trafficked persons in Thailand; focusing on cases of labour trafficking onto fishing boats (July 2009 – September 2010)
Tenaganita Project title: Developing the counter-trafficking response in Malaysia, particularly with regards to support provided to Cambodian victims in Malaysia; direct support in rescuing victims, coordinating with government and NGO partners (June 2009 – May 2010)
Center for Studies and Applied Sciences in Gender, Women, Family and Adolescents (CSAGA) Project title: Provision of hotline services to provide counseling and referrals to victims of human trafficking and exploitation in Vietnam (November 2009 – October 2010); and, To improve access to support services for victims of labour trafficking; including research on the prevalence of trafficking for labour exploitation in Vietnam and provision of legal aid (Dec 2011 – Feb 2013)
Counselling Research and Life Psychology (SHARE) Project title: Reintegration support for trafficked persons returning to Nam Dinh province, Vietnam; improving delivery of existing services and capacity building (November 2009 – October 2010)
Blue Dragon Project title: Eliminating child trafficking from Hue province, Vietnam; supporting law enforcement to identify and rescue trafficked children; reduce vulnerability of local children; and educating the local population about the problem (November 2009 – October 2010)
Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) Project title: To provide services to returned victims of trafficking to meet their psycho-social needs, in Cambodia; running a hotline counseling service and providing direct counseling services in target areas as well as capacity building, in partnership with KWCD and LSCW (August 2010 – July 2012)
Khmer Women’s Cooperation for Development (KWCD) Project title: To provide services to returned victims of trafficking to meet their socio-economic and livelihood needs, in Cambodia; through direct provision, referrals and through capacity building, in partnership with LSCW and TPO (August 2010 – July 2012)
Legal Support for Children and Women (LSCW) Project title: Responding to trafficking and abuse of Cambodian migrant workers (May 2009 – September 2010); and, To provide services to returned victims of trafficking to meet their legal needs; through case investigations and legal counseling, in partnership with KWCD and TPO (August 2010 – July 2012)
Labour Rights Promotion Network (LPN) Project title: To rescue and support victims of labour trafficking among migrant workers in Thailand; providing direct assistance to trafficked persons and supporting implementation of multidisciplinary approaches (Dec 2011 – Nov 2012)
Pattanarak Project title: Thai-Lao border anti-human trafficking initiative, in Thailand; including providing a drop-in center, radio show for awareness-raising and safe migration materials to reduce vulnerability of Lao migrants (Dec 2011 – Nov 2012)
Cambodian Center for the Protection of Children’s Rights (CCPCR) Project title: Transit Center for children and youth victims of trafficking, sexual abuse and exploitation, returning from Vietnam; providing a transit center, rehabilitation services, reintegration support, and strengthening networking and collaboration between local government and NGO stakeholders to improve delivery of services to victims (Dec 2011 – May 2013)