The journey from child migration to child trafficking - Consultancy

Terms of Reference

The journey from child migration to child trafficking

Analysis of the links between Child Migration and Child Trafficking in the Horn of Africa

Executive Summary

  • This proposal will follow up and build upon East Africa Migration Routes (EAMR) initiative currently being implemented by Save the Children (SC) in Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) – and be aligned with the four outputs agreed within the EAMR project proposal. The findings and recommendations of this study will subsequently be addressed through the EAMR implementation phase 2020-2023.
  • The Horn of Africa (HoA) is a source, transit, and destination country for irregular migration, including a high number of child migrants. Migrants using different routes in the region - towards South Africa, to the Gulf, and towards Europe transiting through the Mediterranean corridor.
  • There appears to be an increasing tendency for irregular international migration, including consensual smuggling, to transition into child kidnapping, detention and/or trafficking.
  • Despite the emergence of data collection and researches[1], the issue of children involved in smuggling and trafficking remains largely under-researched, reflecting a general under-representation of children in policy, programming and evidence on children impacted by migration. Likewise, existing policy and public response addressing smuggling of migrants and trafficking in human-beings generally lack child friendly approaches and adapted tools.
  • Save the Children proposes an innovative new study to provide a diagnostic and concrete recommendations (‘road map’) at programming and policy level to improve and inform national, transnational and regional interventions on child trafficking, and will, amongst others:
    1. Build a more detailed socioeconomic and protection profile of children at risk of trafficking and exploitation (i.e. domestic trafficking, on route and at destination), and understanding of key decision making and migratory patterns leading to said risks – including:
    2. Map migration routes, route conditions, risk exposure, and risk mitigation strategies employed by migrant children, youth and their families:
    3. Outline existing protective and preventive response to child trafficking (i.e. pre-departure, on route and at destination).
  • The geographical focus of the research will be Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt – with an emphasis in these countries on primary research. This will be underpinned by primarily secondary research in neighbouring countries and along key and related transregional migration routes, including a rapid comparative overview of the context and reality facing trafficked children in a small number of European destination countries.
  • The final output will ensure that the findings and recommendations are 1) primarily directed towards providing clear findings and recommendations relevant to the four agreed outputs of the EAMR project and shaping subsequent interventions and engagement, and 2), to wider global discussion and learning on child trafficking

Context Description and Problem Statement

“The Horn of Africa and Yemen region stands at the very start of a migration transition[2]”. East Africa is characterised by rapid population growth and blessed with a youthful population. Approximately half the region’s population is below 18 years old, and about 15% under the age of 5.[3] This youthful population presents immense opportunities for the region. However, it also poses significant challenges. Most children leaving the Horn of Africa originate from Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea, with available figures suggesting a rise in the numbers of child migrants, and children travelling alone from, and within, the region.[4]

International migration and cross-border refugee movements present serious hazards for child safety and security with many children facing serious protection risks when crossing borders and during their journeys.[5] The impact of human trafficking and migrant smuggling has negatively affected the physical safety and livelihoods of children, endangering their social and psychological wellbeing. The correlation between Human Trafficking and migrant smuggling also poses an expanding and complex security threat to the Horn of Africa region and beyond the region to transit and destination countries and has evolved into a context where grow the activities of international criminal syndicates.

Trafficking and exploitation of children, youth and their families take place during both internal and cross border migration. Recent data shows that two out of three victims of trafficking in Africa are children – and that the proportion of trafficked children is rising. Out of every three child-victims, girls account for two. Recent IOM research shows that almost half of identified cases of child trafficking begin with some family member involvement.

There is a common recognition that our understanding of the smuggling of children, youth and their family, their decision-making whilst traveling, and the exposure the risk of being trafficked remain under-documented, and that data are highly fragmented. Moreover, existing policy and public response addressing smuggling of migrants and trafficking in human-beings generally lack child friendly approaches and adapted tools to integrate children in their planning. Instead, they remain essentially focused to repressive responses without providing adequate protective and preventive measures.

The complex decision-making processes leading to child and youth being trafficked are particularly poorly understood. Families and communities, facing financial pressures, are often at the origin of the trafficking path as they encourage their children to move to urban areas, or abroad, in search of work, and placing them at risk of abuse and exploitation. Trafficking of children from the Horn of Africa includes the worst form of child labour (e.g. domestic labour, farming, weaving industry), forced recruitment by armed militia in conflict affected countries (i.e. Yemen, Libya, Sudan), involvement in petty criminal activities and sexual exploitation. Trafficking in human beings also affects children who are not directly exploited as one of both of their parents migrating for economic reason may be victims of exploitation and be trafficked, resulting in lasting negative psychosocial and economic effects for the child.

Recent studies have shown that the blurring lines between smuggling and trafficking networks result into increased child trafficking in the Horn of African region[6]. Consequently, one factor of particular interest is to analyse the point at which consensual smuggling transitions into child trafficking.

There is thus an urgent need, and clear opportunity, for new research to address this gap in understanding around the links between smuggling of migrants and child trafficking from and in the region, and to provide clear evidence-based recommendations for improved programming and policy response, and to add to the global learning on this issue.

Research approach and methodology

A solid analysis of stakeholders, the policy environment, and ongoing initiatives will be critical to inform engagement and pinpoint influencing opportunities via SDC’s funded East African Migration Routes (EAMR). EAMR long-term vision focuses on protection and building on self-reliance of children and youth in vulnerable displacement situations across eight countries in the region, but with a core focus in three countries: Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan. Information and analysis generated through this study will aim to complement learning to be developed through four thematic studies, currently being conducted under the EAMR project: political economy analysis; conflict sensitivity audit; mapping of child protection services and stakeholders; and girls on the move. Considering prevalence of child trafficking risks across the region, this study will serve to inform more tailored protection and risk prevention intervention for children, prior, during and upon arrival to destination country

Drawing on the successes and lessons learned from three key studies addressing child migration[7], and building on existing programmatic engagement in the focus countries, the study will identify strategic entry points to influence migration and trafficking-relevant policy change and increase knowledge on the intersect of child migration and trafficking. The work will build a deeper understanding of the profile and decision-making of migrant children and youth exposed to migration/trafficking, as well as the under-explored transition between consensual smuggling and coerced trafficking.

The analysis will, in turn help practitioners identify specific initiatives addressing child trafficking and proposals to influence national-level policy initiatives in Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan. It will also generate a set of practical insights to inform future programming for Save the Children/other actors beyond the three focus countries, and improve global policy and learning on child trafficking.

The study will, to this end, providing specific analysis of existing evidence and knowledge gaps related to:

  1. Building a more detailed socioeconomic and protection profile of children at risk of trafficking and exploitation (i.e. domestic trafficking, on route and at destination), and understanding of key decision making and migratory patterns leading to said risks – including:
  2. Patterns and dynamics of drivers influencing children, youth and their families to migrate and use smuggling network – e.g. demographic pressure, climate change, access to service and quality education, urbanisation, conflict/post-conflict contexts.
  3. The impact of family structures and factors such as the lack of protection in pre-departure decision and trafficking factors – e.g. family abuse, neglect, child labour, etc.
  4. The role of formal and informal social structures that constitute push-pull factors for children, youth and their families– e.g. peer pressure and role of diaspora within smuggling and trafficking network.
  5. Influence of Information, Communication and Technology with regards to child trafficking – e.g. prevention, assistance and recruitment through social medias.
  6. Mapping of migration routes, route conditions, risk exposure, and risk mitigation strategies employed by migrant children, youth and their families:
  7. The geographical patterns and trends exposing children, youth and their families to be trafficked, including the mapping of corridor at risk – i.e. pre-departure, transit, destination.
  8. Financial factors of the migratory journey that expose children to trafficking - e.g. how children, youth and families finance their migration journey, the investment and contraction of debts by children, youth and families leading to trafficking.
  9. Level of information available to children, youth and family with regards to the risks of being trafficked (i.e. pre-departure, on route and at destination).
  10. Measures adopted by children, youth and their families to mitigate the risks (i.e. pre-departure, transit, destination).
  11. Level of knowledge on criminal networks involved in the smuggling and trafficking of children, youth and families (i.e. pre-departure, on route and at destination).
  12. Existing protective and preventive response to child trafficking (i.e. pre-departure, on route and at destination).
    1. Institutional governance and response to migrant smuggling and child trafficking (e.g. existing policy, legislation and gaps in addressing child trafficking (i.e. origin, transit, destination)
    2. Current level of inclusiveness of children and youth as part of the legislation, policy and institutional response to trafficking (i.e. countries of origin, transit and destination).
    3. Level and quality of protection services for children, youth and families victim of trafficking -i.e. before departure, along the route and at destination.
    4. Existing cross border, transnational and regional cooperation addressing protection and prevention children, youth and families trafficking.
    5. Opportunities for addressing policy, legislative and social gaps to strengthen protection capacity and address children needs with regards to trafficking and exploitation.

The study design will employ a mixed methodology - comprising, at an initial step, a detailed desk-based synthesis of existing data and knowledge, and identification of related knowledge gaps, of the following questions, further supplemented by expert key informant interviews (KIIs), with stakeholders, and relevant research focal points where appropriate. Stage 2 of the research will feature fieldwork in Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt to gather primary data from relevant stakeholders and beneficiaries.

Data collection will involve direct participatory consultation with children, both those that stay as well as a comparative analysis of children who returned. Testimonials and detailed first-person accounts will be examined, alongside programme documentation and related policies to map children’s experiences with the SC programmes and government services available to them. Consultations with key stakeholders will also include interviews with family members, peers, migration brokers, and others who play an influencing role in children’s decision-making around migration.

Geographic Scope

The focus of the fieldwork is in the three countries covered by the EAMR: Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan with supporting interviews in European destination countries (e.g. Switzerland, Spain). The research will include a regional component covering the Horn of Africa, key North African transit countries and major destination regions such as Middle East and Europe, where appropriate and relevant.

Secondary data will be collected through Save the Children network and stakeholders in countries of origin, transit and destination (i.e. Switzerland, Spain, Italy, United Kingdom, Federal Republic of Somalia, Djibouti, Kenya, Yemen, Eritrea, South Africa, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia).

Research Lead Consultant Profile

  • An advanced degree (Master’s degree, equivalent or higher) in Social Sciences or other relevant area of study.
  • Excellent proven research skills, including instrument design, qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis (particularly participatory approaches).
  • Strong expertise in child migration with defined focus on child trafficking, smuggling and protection.
  • Understanding/expertise in managing interviews with children, with strong emphasis on child safeguarding.
  • Expertise with current migration research and recognised migration theories.
  • Demonstrable experience leading a team, preferably on a field-based, research-led project
  • Demonstrable experience working on migration and/or displacement-related issues
  • Excellent oral and written analytical and reporting skills
  • Familiarity with project management tools (e.g., MS Project) and budgeting.
  • Good understanding of legal and policy frameworks relating to migration in at least one of study countries.
  • Knowledge of HOA and Egyptian migration context and key actors.
  • Fluency in spoken and written English.
  • Arabic desirable (not essential).


Job description:

Find out more about this role by downloading the job description here Job description

Date advertised: 17 Dec 2019

Closing date: 25 Jan 2020 - 02:59 +03

Location: Worldwide, Worldwide

Department: Programme Operations

Type: Contingent

Schedule: Full-time

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