A trafficking victim’s escape or exit from exploitation is a significant moment. It signals
safety, freedom and a way back to one’s life, family and community after months and even
years of exploitation and abuse. But “moving on” from trafficking is not uncomplicated.
Rather, it is, commonly, a complex, taxing and complicated process that involves significant
challenges and setbacks along the way. This paper explores the different levels at which
reintegration takes place – individual, family and community – and the (often different,
sometimes contradictory) actions and reactions within families and communities over the
course of recovery and reintegration. It also outlines some of the tensions, issues and
challenges faced within family and community settings during reintegration, issues that are
often multi-layered, mutually reinforcing and coterminous.
Tensions and issues within the family center around financial problems (no remittances and
the burden of debt); being stressed and distressed following trafficking; feelings of shame
and being blame; and damaged or destroyed personal relationships. Community tensions are
tied to failed migration and not returning with money; criticism of victims’ “ambition”;
victims’ stressed or “problematic” behavior once home; discrimination because of
“unacceptable” behaviors (e.g. prostitution, pregnancy); and jealousy about victims being
assisted. The study also identifies sites of resilience and support within the family and
community, which support, bolster and galvanize reintegration success.
This paper is part of a research series of papers produced in the context of the NEXUS
Institute’s longitudinal research project Protecting the Unassisted and Underserved.
Evidence-Based Research on Assistance and Reintegration, Indonesia, which aims to
enhance the evidence base about successful reintegration of trafficked persons in Indonesia.
Read the full report here.