Consultant Trafficking in persons specialist at UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Terms of Reference

Consultant Trafficking in persons specialist

UNHCR/PPLA – Division of International Protection (DIP)

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is offering a consultancy positionwithin the Protection Policy and Legal Advice Section (Asylum and Migration Unit) in the Division of International Protection in our *Geneva Headquarters in Switzerland.***

UNHCR is a global organisation dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. Every year, millions of men, women and children are forced to flee their homes to escape conflict and persecution. We are in over 125 countries, using our expertise to protect and care for millions.

Title: Consultant on the international protection of victims of trafficking

Duty Station : Home-based

Duration : two months

Contract Type : Individual Consultant

Closing date : 06 October 2022

Start date : ASAP

Organisational context

A large and growing body of literature aims to contribute to understanding how, where and why trafficking in persons (TiP) manifests, who it affects, and the actors involved. Currently available research highlights a range of exploitative practices people living in and fleeing from crises and persecution may experience.

A notable gap in the current research concerns a better understanding of the concrete nature of trafficking in refugee settings and the intersection of risk factors that place certain refugees at greater risk of trafficking than others. Despite the most recent efforts to identify zones, particularly at risk[1], there is still insufficiently nuanced data to understand the interplay of personal, situational and contextual risk factors of trafficking in persons as they affect asylum seekers, refugees and stateless people.

Asylum seekers, refugees and stateless persons are broadly categorised as highly vulnerable groups to trafficking. Research should analyse the interaction of specific vulnerabilities to trafficking at different stages of the displacement cycle and in different settings (e.g., camps, urban settings, elsewhere). It should also examine how the nature and type of vulnerability impact forms of exploitation, type of criminality involved and modus operandi.

Evidence and analysis of the protective factors contributing to building resilience to trafficking and other abuses and mitigating risks for refugees should be further investigated and documented. The study should also consider mechanisms to cope with protection risks at the community and individual level and help identify key prevention and mitigating measures. It should further look into how the various stakeholders working with refugees address these protection risks. Research findings are meant to inform the design of evidence-based operational multisector responses that address trafficking among refugee populations, enhancing prevention, protection, support and justice.

UNHCR, working in collaboration with UNODC, conducted a preliminary desk review to define baseline information and develop a methodology and tools to explore the phenomenon of trafficking in persons in refugee settings. UNHCR intends to conduct further research on trafficking in selected refugee settings and develop a research paper for publication.

The position

The role of the consultant will be to review, update and expand the existing baseline on trafficking in refugee settings and draft a research paper for publication in UNHCR’s Legal and Protection Policy Research Series under the author’s name.

Duties and responsibilities

This consultancy is task-based and should be completed by 31 December 2022. Under the direct supervision of the Legal Officer in UNHCR DIP/PPLA/A&M Unit, the consultant will perform the following tasks:

  1. Review the existing baseline research report and identify the critical issues to advance research and analysis
  2. Review and finalise the methodology and tools for field research in selected refugee settings developed in the project’s first phase.
  3. Conduct interviews remotely with key informants in selected UNHCR operations (field staff and key partners). The interviews should prioritise selected operations in the Middle East and North Africa, West and Central Africa, and East and the Horn of Africa regions.
  4. Analyse interviews with key informants and draft short case studies of trafficking situations in refugee settings and emerging promising practices in responding to them.
  5. Review case studies based on UNHCR input
  6. Draft a research paper for publication with case studies and recommendations and submit it for review
  7. Integrate UNHCR’s and partners’ comments and submit the final research paper for publication in UNHCR’s Legal and Protection Policy Research Series.


  1. Research paper for publication in UNHCR’s Legal and Protection Policy Research Series including an executive summary, case examples and recommendations in English (approximately 30 pp). The report should collate and critically discuss the existing evidence base on trafficking in refugee settings, including a review of risk and resilience factors, gaps and challenges to inform and strengthen prevention and protection responses and advocacy to address trafficking among refugee populations. In addition, the research paper should include case studies, illustrative examples of UNHCR’s work and recommendations.
  2. Reviewed tools for field research and follow-up in selected refugee settings.

Monitoring and Progress Controls

  • Successful delivery of project outputs within the expected timeframe
  • Performance will be monitored through weekly updates and scheduled performance reviews.

Essential minimum qualifications and professional experience required


University degree in law, international relations, humanities/other related degree, with possible specialisation on displacement and trafficking in persons.


Minimum 6 years of experience working in the domain of international protection, displacement and trafficking in persons.

Advantageous requirements

Experience in publishing analytical reports and research papers

Documented results related to the position’s responsibilities.


In-depth knowledge of refugee law and the international framework relevant to trafficking in persons.

Excellent analytical skills, including the capacity to collect and analyse qualitative and quantitative data to produce meaningful analysis.

Demonstrated organisational skills: the ability to work independently and productively in a fast-paced environment.

Flexible work attitude: the ability to work productively, independently, and to handle requests or issues as they arise.

Excellent drafting skills.

Excellent computer skills.


Excellent knowledge of English is required.

Advantageous requirements

Knowledge of other UN languages


The successful candidate will be home-based.


This is a full-time contract, and the consultant will receive payment upon completion of tasks as agreed.

How to apply

Interested applicants should submit their letter of motivation, Personal History Form (PHF) and CV to indicating VN 14/FPS/DIP/2022 – TiP Research Project: Trafficking Specialist in the subject of the email.

Personal History Forms are available at PHF Form Supplementary Sheet.


The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, color, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Geneva – 29/09/2022

[1] On this journey, no one cares if you live or die.’ Abuse, protection, and justice along routes between East and West Africa and Africa’s Mediterranean coast, UNHCR-Mixed Migrations Centre, 2021.

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