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Selecting the indicators

Indicators have two not necessarily mutually exclusive functions—as ‘signals’ or signs of where a specified behaviour or event is or might be happening and as guides to the kind of information that could be included in a specific data collection (Aronowitz 2009). There are no definitive rules as to which point during data development indicators should be drafted, although it is preferable that data availability is not the sole, defining factor in the final establishment of the indicator set. It is equally important though that the selection of indicators does not resemble an expansive ‘shopping list’ of information items that cater to measuring every conceivable facet of the area of focus without an assessment of the ultimate usefulness of the indicator in question.

The proposed indicators

In selecting indicators, the following tenets should ideally be considered; that the data are:

  • practical (in that individual indicators can be easily measured and where data is not available, it is conceivable that data might be available in the future);
  • unambiguous (it is clear what the indicator is measuring and what it is telling us); and
  • informative (ie the measure makes a genuine contribution to understanding the phenomenon in question).

These criteria have been applied in the proposed indicator set shown below (see Table 16). The indicator set is deliberately not exhaustive, for the reasons outlined above, and is modelled on indicator compilations proposed for or used in other monitoring programs. It was determined that this monitoring effort should not ‘reinvent the wheel’, particularly given the relatively few human trafficking and slavery cases in Australia compared with other countries undertaking monitoring programs. Rather, the program should be based on measures that had already been tested elsewhere. This is not to imply that these indicators simply replicate what has been collected in other countries and regions. The AIC has selected and refined measures from the available indicator ‘smorgasbord’ to compile a composite set of indicators that would work well in the Australian context.

It is important to note, however, that the monitoring program is not intended to be an evaluation or performance measurement mechanism for any particular department, agency, non-government organisation or collaborative body.

The proposed indicators are listed in Table 16. Most of these indicators fall within the Incident and Response conceptual elements, in part to follow the recommendation that data collection should focus on compiling information about the victim, the offender, the trafficking process, responses and the outcome of the intervention (Aronowitz 2009). A sample group of indicators have been included under Context to illustrate data on personal factors that might be obtainable from Australian data sources (and were recommended for inclusion in the EU Human Trafficking Reporting System). Given the potential breadth of contextual factors, data for this component of the conceptual framework will be collected and treated using environmental scans or similar qualitative approaches rather than developing discrete indicators.

  1. Potential, generic data sources for listed indicators is also provided in Table 15, as is a measure of the likelihood of the proposed indicator could be populated with either quantitative or qualitative data. This scale is based on whether:
    • data for the proposed indicators is routinely collected in administrative byproduct or similar data sources by consulted agencies;
  2. score of 2 if data is routinely collected and 0 if it is not;
    • data for the proposed indicators is not routinely collected (see a) but may be available from other sources and/or additional effort would be required by the data provider or custodian to locate or extract the data (eg from hard copy files or court transcripts);
    • score of 1 if data may be available from a non-administrative data (not applied if indicator was given a score of 2 in earlier step);
  3. score of 0 if data is not available from another source;
    • the proposed indicator is included in at least one of the international data collections described earlier;
    • score of 1 if the indicator is included in an existing data collection;
    • score of 0 for if it is not currently included.

For (a) and (b), these include indicators specifically drawn from Australian cases. For (c), these include indicators from international datasets; that is, indicators on which data is routinely collected and can be used to compare Australian data with that collated overseas.

Of the 100 proposed indicators, a third (n=33) had a score of three (3)—the highest obtainable. An additional indicator, unique to Australia—number of victims referred to the Support for Trafficked People Program—was added to this collection. Of the 34 indicators that might be confidently included in the first iteration of a monitoring program, 21 referred to the Incident element (one to Action and means, four to Exploitation, ten to Victim and six to Offender), 12 to the Response element and one to Impacts and Outcomes. These indicators described victim and offender characteristics, the exploitation experienced, criminal justice responses, visa status and some information on victim support.

Many of the indicators that were given a score of two for data availability were also, not surprisingly, collected in other human trafficking data collections. However, most of the indicators achieved a score of one as measures that might be supported if data was available but were not routinely collected in other human trafficking data collections. These indicators largely described actions and means for trafficking events, contextual factors, informal support provision and outcomes—all areas identified as requiring further information.

The scoring system can be applied to guide the selection of indicators for inclusion in the first iteration of the data collection tool and identify which indicators may be introduced in the future. The latter process will be informed by further consultation and update from data providers as their own systems evolve and additional assessment about the strength of each measure and the validity of the data is evaluated. However, the potential limitations of even the higher scoring indicators, particularly the problem of aggregating data from different sources and the representational accuracy of the captured population(s), cannot be overlooked. An intensive period of data development is thus recommended if the monitoring program goes ahead, to further refine the collection and identify remaining issues.

Table 16 Proposed indicators and data population score
Indicator Potential data sources Score Total
Data routinely collected Data might be collected Data collected in international programs
Context
Victim pre-departure situation Case management files, court transcripts, research data (victim interviews)  
Living situation 0 1 0 1
Employment status 0 1 0 1
Income 0 0 0 0
Perception of economic status 0 0 0 0
Motives to migrate 0 1 0 1
Risk  
Incidence of human trafficking and slaverya Law enforcement (incident reports), CDPP (conviction rates) 2 0 2
Prevalence of human trafficking and slaveryb

Victims—Service providers (population group receiving support services)

Offenders—Law enforcement (population group charged/arrested); DPP (population group convicted)

2 0 2
Community understanding of human trafficking Attitude and awareness surveys 0 1 0 1
Stakeholder understanding of human trafficking Sector-specific awareness surveys 0 1 0 1
Community confidence in identifying a victim of human trafficking Attitude and awareness surveys 0 1 0 1
Incident
Action and means Law enforcement, immigration and DPP administrative byproduct data, court transcripts, case management files, research data (interviews, consultations, surveys)  
Country of recruitment 0 1 0 1
Method of contact 0 1 0 1
Method of recruitment 0 1 0 1
Relationship with recruiter 0 1 0 1
Money requested/paid 0 1 0 1
Means of transportation 0 0 0 0
Duration of transportation 0 0 0 0
Number of transit countries 0 0 0 0
Use and type of legal/fraudulent documents 0 1 0 1
Visa status/application on entry into Australia 2 1 3
Visa sponsors 2 0 2
Movement within destination country 0 0 0 0
Exploitation Law enforcement administrative byproduct data, court transcripts, case management files, discrete research data (interviews, consultations, surveys)  
Type of exploitation 2 1 3
Duration of exploitation 0 1 1 2
Sector/industry of exploitation 2 1 3
Location(s) of exploitation 2 1 3
Services/benefits provided 0 1 0 1
Means of control 2 1 3
Seizure of documents 0 1 0 1
Use of violence and abuse 0 1 0 1
Debt incurred 0 1 0 1
Victim Law enforcement, immigration and DPP administrative byproduct data, court transcripts, case management files (government and non-government assistance), research data (victim interviews)  
Gender 2 1 3
Age 2 1 3
Country of birth 2 1 3
Country of residence 2 1 3
Citizenship 2 1 3
Education 0 1 0 1
Marital status 2 1 3
Children 2 1 3
Socioeconomic status (at time of recruitment) 0 1 0 1
Employment status 2 1 3
Income (at time of exploitation) 0 1 0 1
Visa status 2 1 3
Revictimisation status 2 1 3
Offender Law enforcement and DPP administrative byproduct data, court transcripts, discrete research data  
Gender 2 1 3
Age 2 1 3
Country of birth 2 1 3
Citizenship 2 1 3
Prior status as a victim 0 1 0 1
Previous convictions 2 1 3
Legal status at time of detection 2 1 3
Member of network or organised crime group 0 1 0 1
Number of perpetrators in group 0 1 0 1
Role in trafficking/exploitation process 0 1 0 1
Relationship with victim(s) 0 1 0 1
Response Case management files (government and non-government assistance); research data (victim interviews)  
Disclosure and referral mechanisms  
Method(s) of detection 0 1 0 1
Source of disclosure 0 1 0 1
First assistance referral 0 1 0 1
Informal responses Case management files (government and non-government assistance); research data (victim interviews)  
Support received 0 1 0 1
Disclosure to authorities 0 0 0 0
Criminal justice response Law enforcement and DPP administrative byproduct data, court transcripts  
Number of referrals 2 1 3
Number of assessments 2 1 3
Number of investigations 2 1 3
Proportion of assessments that proceed to investigation 0 1 0 1
Investigation outcome 0 1 1 2
Charges at arrest 2 1 3
Brief and committal outcomes 0 1 0 1
Charges proceeded against 2 1 3
Offence outcome 2 1 3
Sentence imposed 2 1 3
Conviction appealed 2 1 3
Grounds for appeal 0 1 0 1
Offence outcome at appeal 2 1 3
Length of time between filing and disposition (first instance and appeal) 2 0 2
Victim support Case management files (government and non-government assistance); research data (victim interviews)  
Type of agency 2 0 2
Number of victims referred to STPP 2 2
Support/assistance provided 2 1 3
Number of persons who were refused assistance 0 0 0 0
Number of persons who declined/accepted assistance 2 0 2
Length of time receiving assistance 2 0 2
Received services in the past 2 0 2
Visa support Immigration administrative byproduct data  
Number of victims/proportion of applicants granted visas 2 1 3
Victim compensation  
Victim compensation received 0 1 1 2
Legislative and policy response Anti-Trafficking Inter-departmental Committee  
New legislative and whole-of-government response initiatives 2 0 2
Information-sharing agreements 0 0 0 0
Implementation of crime prevention initiatives 0 1 0 1
Impacts and outcomes  
Criminal justice outcomes Research data (victim interviews)

 
Victim satisfaction with criminal justice outcome 0 1 0 1
Victim support outcomes Case management files (government and non-government assistance); research data (victim interviews)  
Health outcomes 0 1 0 1
Employment outcome 0 1 0 1
Education outcome 0 1 0 1
Residency outcome 0 1 0 1
Victim satisfaction with support received 0 1 0 1
Victim residency/repatriation outcomes Immigration administrative byproduct data, case management files (government and non-government assistance), research data (victim interviews)  
Permanent residency/repatriation status 2 1 3
Country returned to ? 1 0 1
Repatriation assistance provided 0 1 0 1
Intention 0 0 0 0
Re-entry Law enforcement and DPP administrative byproduct data, case management files (government and non-government assistance)  
Victims that re-enter criminal justice system 2 0 2
Victims that re-enter formal victim support systems 2 0 2
Offenders that re-enter criminal justice system 2 0 2

a: Incidence is the number of incidents of a specified crime for a defined population within a specified reference period

b: The number (or rate) of victims or offenders of a specified crime for a defined population within a specified reference period

Note: The UNODC Case Law Database was not included in the calculation of the scores because it is an archival record rather than a reporting system. The database’s lack of collection procedures and collection timeframe would make it difficult to extract comparable data.

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