Involving Key Stakeholders as Partners and Participants in the Process of an International Research Study on Child Sex Trafficking

Charles Hounmenou, MSW, MA, MEd, PhD | September 20 | 2:45-3:45 PM

Topic: Research, International | Knowledge Level: Advanced | Location: Room 3020

Whereas stakeholder involvement in policy implementation and service provisions to victims of human trafficking is substantially documented in the literature, there is almost no study on stakeholder input in the process of research on this global problem. Yet, input from stakeholders is critical for most studies about human trafficking. Stakeholders are individuals, organizations, or communities that have some interest or concern in the process and outcomes of a project, program, study, or policy (Brugha & Varvasovszky, 2000). Based on an international research study on child sex trafficking conducted in three countries in the West African region, the presentation examines the key ways stakeholders were successfully engaged in the research process from the preparatory stage to the translational stage, as well as their involvement as respondents in the study. A total of 133 stakeholders from 120 organizations in 13 major categories (international, governmental, non-governmental, community, policymakers, service providers, criminal justice, educators, etc.) were involved in the research process; 64 of these stakeholders were also research participants. The presentation shows how engaging various stakeholders in the key phases of the research helped improve its outcomes, and most important, helped increase the likelihood of acceptance and dissemination of the findings. The presentation discusses cases of programs that have been developed based on the recommendations of the study findings. Recommendations for collaborative initiatives and participatory research are discussed.

Presentation Objectives:

·  Describe successful strategies to engage stakeholders (international, governmental, non-governmental, community, policymakers, service providers, educators, etc.) in the process of research on human trafficking and as research participants

·  Describe roles stakeholders can play in the key phases of a study on human trafficking, including problem formulation, research design, data collection, and dissemination of study findings, and implementation of study recommendations

·  Discuss key lessons for engaging community partners in program and policy development, and in research about hard-to-reach populations

About the Presenter