Unveil the Hidden Presence: Trafficking in Women and Children

A Leadership and Innovation Lab

How can we use our spheres of influence and new action-oriented partnerships more effectively to center stage the issue of trafficking in women and children?

Human trafficking occurs in virtually every country in the world and often across borders. Women and girls account for about 70 percent of the victims; two out of three trafficking victims are girls.

Trafficking in persons is a gross human rights violation and strongly connected to other topics such as humanitarian action, security, violence against women and children, migration management and refugee protection, business responsibility and supply chain accountability, and economic development.

Consequently, in September 2015, the international community adopted the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and defined goals and targets to combat trafficking in persons – thereby making a clear link between the fight against human trafficking and sustainable development.

Dates and Locations

In some [other] workshops, the facilitators speak and the participants sleep. In this Lab, you really made us listen to each other and work together.”



The Lab is designed for leaders and change agents from the worlds of policy-making, media, business, academia and civil society. Special focus is given to participants from source, transit, and destination countries of trafficking in persons in Europe and Africa.
We will bring together over 30 selected individuals from diverse socio-cultural backgrounds, nationalities and professional expertise.



Burundi, Cameroon, Croatia, Estonia, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, USA.

Belgium, Burundi, Cameroon, Croatia, Republic of Djibouti, Dubai, Ethiopia, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritania, Nepal, The Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, USA.

The process

Together we will work on approaches to increase awareness on and prevent trafficking in women and children with the specific focus on the African context. Outcomes of the Lab are expected at different levels: individual, organizational (for the institution or companies represented) and at the systemic level by contributing to international discussions and commitments as well as fostering social change in the domestic contexts of the participants (see flyer).

The Lab is a multi-stakeholder dialogue process. We provide an enabling space for all participants to explore one another‘s perspectives and experiences. Participants engage in dialogue and jointly develop new approaches to increase awareness on and prevent trafficking in women and children. We acknowledge that different groups such as survivors, civil society organizations, media representatives and journalists, donors, community and religious leaders, academics, governments and businesses have complementary skills, experiences and motivations to jointly drive innovation and sustained progress. Throughout the whole process, participants are encouraged to develop specific action, to initiate and shape transformation in their home contexts and on a global level. We design a process including face-to-face and online exchange, individual and action-related coaching.

The Lab aims:

  • To create a global network to increase awareness and publicity on trafficking in women and children
  • To foster exchange and dialogue among the different stakeholders, their roles and experiences and approaches to combat trafficking in persons
  • To develop innovative strategies and change projects in the stakeholders institution or country to increase awareness on trafficking, particularly of women and children

Insight Reports

The process entails online exchange and coachings to share, learn and develop ideas further as well as two face-to-face meetings.

Insight, Lab meeting 1

Nairobi in Kenya, from 25th to 28th June 2018

In June 2018 the Lab Unveil the Hidden Presence: Trafficking in Women and Children kicked off with a meeting in Nairobi. Participants from governments, academia, media and civil society of 25 countries around the globe met in person for the first time. Over the course of four days, participants opened up to a mixture of interactive co-creation and self-reflection methods, including amongst others journaling and exploring ones social atom, speed dating, peer-counselling methods, small and large group work as well as open spaces.


Many of the participants did not have intensive experience with the self-reflective and open co-creative nature of the Lab process. Nevertheless, the carefully selected participants brought an electric energy to the dialogue. “Coming from a field where I am used to power point presentations, I learned just to immediately change my training delivery approaches.” stated one participant already on the second day.
Everyone connected on personal and professional levels, explored the different experiences and challenges in the fight against trafficking in women and children and learned about the conditions and synergies in connecting the different sectors and professions. “My greatest challenge now is going back as a single person.-” was one of the reactions after the deep experience.


Central to “unveiling the hidden presence” was, furthermore, the conversations on social media, on understanding the role of media and journalism, on identifying fake news and crafting messages. One participant working at Kenya’s Ministry of Interior and Coordination, reflected: “I realize now that we can no longer ignore the media!” Facing local reality through learning journeys contributed a lot to stimulating reflection on the topic. Part of the group went to HAART, currently the only organization that works exclusively on eradicating human trafficking and modern slavery in Nairobi including prevention, protection and prosecution services. The other half of the group visited the informal settlement Mathare where HAART conducts prevention work. Struggling to bring food on the table and to keep a roof over their heads, families often find it difficult to prioritize their basic welfare and safety. These precarious living conditions provide a fertile ground for traffickers. “We did not choose to come here but we ended up here.” explained one of the inhabitants.

Ahead of the learning journeys, participants were briefed on how to approach the visits, including re-examining the challenges they had identified, and keeping these in mind during the field visit. The briefing furthermore included how to identify specific story angles and campaign threads that they could incorporate into their own work. The field visits were a very intense experience; everybody was deeply moved by the work done by HAART.

The meeting in Nairobi concluded with thoughts about joint future project ideas and proposals as well as next steps to develop ideas further, to collect and publish stories and setting up communication and collaboration channels.

back home

Back home, participants already started to collect stories, stimulate conversations and organize meetings in the local communities sharing also the stories of other countries as well as  the experience of the Lab.

The vibrant energy and strong commitment continues.

The following actions evolved after the Nairobi meeting:  

  • Nurturing the strong Facebook and WhatsApp community developed by the participants, by regularly sharing information, news stories, messages, interviews, journalism guidelines, and other materials
  • Research on information gaps (mini funds)
  • A webinar series each month or bimonthly, open to all participants to ask questions and seek advice
  • Joint project development
  • Social media campaigning on the World Day against Trafficking in Persons (30 June)
  • Specific, tailored coaching and mentoring


Our Partners

We implement all our programmes in cooperation with our internationally renowned partners with whom we share our passion for dialogue and change and our commitment to high quality standards.

Our Convening Partner