Research Services under the Climate Resilience Against Trafficking and Exploitation (CREATE) Project

International Organization for Migration

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) seeks to work with experienced researcher(s) (individual or organisation) to provide research services under the Climate Resilience Against Trafficking and Exploitation (CREATE) Project, funded by the UK Home Office. The CREATE project is a pilot initiative aimed at reducing risks of trafficking by supporting climate-resilient and trafficking-aware communities in hotspots in Ethiopia and the Philippines and building the evidence base on the climate change-human trafficking nexus.

To achieve the overall objective, the project will work across four outcomes:

  1. At-risk communities in key hotspots have more climate-resilient livelihoods;
  2. At-risk communities increase their knowledge and understanding of trafficking risks;
  3. Local disaster response frameworks in the Philippines mainstream counter-trafficking considerations through community-driven approaches (Philippines only);
  4. The evidence base on the climate change-human trafficking nexus and programmatic responses is enhanced;

The research study falls under outcome 4 of the project and seeks to generate evidence on how climate change may be impacting on risks of human trafficking in Ethiopia and the Philippines.
IOM seeks to work with a consultant to review existing evidence and data sets; design a research framework and implementation plan; co-design (with IOM) the methodology and tools; analyse findings; guide validation exercises; and write the research reports.

The research is expected to begin as soon as possible and complete by June 2024.

1. Rationale

Climate change puts a strain on livelihoods, worsening pre-existing socio-economic vulnerabilities and can lead to an increase in high-risk migration as a coping strategy among affected populations. This may include resorting to migrant smugglers and other agents, which in turn increases vulnerability to trafficking and associated forms of exploitation and abuse, particularly when knowledge about these risks is limited.

The impact of climate change, however, is rarely considered as a potential contributor to human trafficking and the nexus remains relatively unexplored. Evidence and understanding of the different impacts of slow and sudden onset hazards at the community level, as well as appropriate and effective responses is limited.

The CREATE project is a pilot initiative to explore this nexus in more detail. Working at the community-level in key hotspot locations in Ethiopia and Philippines, the project seeks to reduce risks of trafficking by supporting the communities to be more climate-resilient and trafficking-aware. The project draws on the theoretical and practical knowledge which has emerged from climate change adaptation projects, particularly resilient livelihoods (as well as disaster risk reduction and ecosystem management), applying these to a trafficking context. The project will also contribute to enhancing the evidence-base on the ways in which climate change can impact migration and vulnerability to trafficking and generate learning about potential responses.

Ethiopia and the Philippines have been chosen as target countries as they are both significantly impacted by both climate change and human trafficking. In Ethiopia, the climate impacts are usually characterised by slow-onset events and processes (such as drought), while in the Philippines, the climate change impacts are usually characterised by sudden-onset events (such as typhoons).

In particular, the project will focus on two communities within each country experiencing climate change impacts, as well as high levels of outward and return migration, where some of the migration dynamics can be characterised as high-risk, due to the use of smugglers / agents, or where there are known patterns of exploitation.

In the Philippines, two communities are being selected from Region V (Bicol), which is most prone to sudden onset events particularly disruptive typhoons, heavy rainfalls and floods, and where there is high dependence on climate-sensitive resources and livelihoods (such as fishing and agriculture), and which host a large number of Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) returnees.
In Ethiopia, two communities are being selected from the Oromia and Amhara Regional States, targeting Kebeles where livelihoods are primarily focused on agriculture and where there are high numbers of migrants and returnees, primarily who travelled to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, on routes which often involve abuse and exploitation.

2. Research Scope

The research will explore one broad research question with consideration to some subsidiary questions. The final questions will be determined during the inception phase.

3. How and to what extent do the impacts of climate change on livelihoods influence risks of trafficking and exploitation? How does this differ between different locations and climate change contexts?

  • What impact is climate change having on livelihoods and how does this differ by community/country?
  • What resilience capacities currently exist and/ how are people already responding through livelihood adaptation and diversification?
  • Do people in the areas of interest use migration as a coping mechanism or adaption strategy in response to climate change and livelihoods degradation (or are they planning to)? What types of migration are considered / undertaken (short term/ seasonal, long term, internal, international, regular, irregular, which destinations)? Do these migration patterns increase risks of trafficking / exploitation? Does willingness to undertake ‘risky’ migration increase as strains on livelihoods increase? Do regular and/or safer migration options exist and are they accessible?
  • Are there other ways in which changes in the climate influence risks of trafficking and exploitation (e.g., unrelated to livelihoods)?
  • What other variables affect risks of trafficking and exploitation in the target communities? For example, other livelihood variables (not linked to climate change), other variables linked to migration (patterns of migration, available migration information and pathways, ability/ willingness to meet costs, ability to protect oneself during migration) or variables that are unrelated to these themes?

For more details about this consultancy, please visit our website:

How to apply

Interested parties should submit the following documents to [email protected] (referencing ‘CREATE research’ in the email subject line) by 13th June 2023:

• A technical proposal (not expected to be more than 10 pages) including: o A brief description of the individual research consultant(s) or organisation outlining recent experience on assignments of a similar nature o A description of the proposed approach, methodology (both quantitative and qualitative) and an indicative workplan (with comments and suggestions if any on the Terms of Reference)
• A financial proposal including all costs associated with the assignment (broken down by main activity) – if IOM is required to hire local research consultants to support this ToR, the financial proposal should be reduced accordingly.
• CV for each proposed researcher;
• Samples of previous relevant work (minimum two pieces).

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