Research Consultant – Scale of Harm project At International Justice Mission

Scale of Harm: Developing A Method to Estimate Prevalence of Trafficking to Create Child Sexual Exploitation Material


International Justice Mission (IJM) is a global organization that protects people in poverty from violence. IJM partners with local authorities in 21 program offices across 14 countries to combat slavery, violence against women and children, among other forms of violence. Our model works side-by-side with local authorities and governments to rescue and restore survivors, hold perpetrators accountable in local courts, and strengthen justice systems. This model is replicable and has worked to reduce modern day slavery in programs against commercial sexual exploitation of children, among others[1]. IJM and our partners are helping local authorities protect more than 400 million people from violence.

As an NGO working directly with survivors, IJM brings a unique voice to the discussion on the convergence between modern slavery and online sexual exploitation of children. Since 2011, IJM has partnered with the Philippine Government, international law enforcement, and NGOs to combat the trafficking of children to create child sexual exploitation materials (CSEM), especially via livestream video, for paying sex offenders abroad. This is the specific form of exploitation (referred to as “OSEC” herein) that IJM seeks to develop methods for estimating the prevalence or scale of harm. As of February 2021, IJM has supported law enforcement partners in the Philippines in 228 operations, leading to the rescue of 758 victims or at-risk individuals, the arrest of 278 suspected traffickers, and the conviction of 109 perpetrators[2], with prosecutions ongoing.

2. Research Objectives

IJM’s 2030 Vision is to protect half a billion people in poverty from violence. To show that individuals are being protected, a critical metric is reductions in specific forms of violence. IJM seeks to measure the prevalence of crimes such as OSEC at the start of programs through till completion. IJM defines prevalence as:

‘the percentage of the target population that are/were victimized during a specified time in a specified area… It measures the primary intended effect of transformed justice systems—that fewer people are victimized by perpetrators.’[3]**

Ultimately, the Scale of Harm project seeks to develop a method that—when implemented in a research study—can show whether OSEC is declining in the Philippines.

The Scale of Harm project will develop a plan detailing a method that estimates the prevalence of trafficking to create CSEM, including via livestreaming, in the Philippines or sub-locations thereof by measuring proxy indicators of OSEC. Development of a successful method will create opportunities to conduct similar studies of such offending in other countries as well.

Through the input of multi-disciplinary partners and key industry advisors, IJM seeks to determine an acceptable scale of harm plan by relationship-building to access and explore data sources for the use of developing a method. The IJM project team recognizes the limitations in understanding the depth and breadth of data sources without external advisors and partners, perceiving this project as an opportunity to generate and access data sources across tech, financial and child protection sectors not already realized. This project’s success is thus built upon input from an External Advisory Council [4] (EAC) and Contributing Partners [5] as potential data providers and advisors for developing a method. For all EAC and contributing partners involved, creating a method intends to fill a significant gap enabling all leaders to show the effectiveness of responses to improve the protection of children.

Therefore, based on these partnerships the research consultant will provide expertise by collating and conceptualizing the numerous data sources and guidance from the EAC to establish the best method estimating the prevalence of trafficking to create CSEM, including via livestreaming, in the Philippines.

The prevalence plan developed via the Scale of Harm project will allow the following research questions to be answered in a future study, subject to change as the project evolves:

1) What is the estimated prevalence of trafficking to create CSEM including via livestreaming, in the Philippines or sub-locations thereof?

2) What data sources, partnerships and tools are needed to develop a comprehensive prevalence method?

3. Consultancy Scope

The research consultant is expected to undertake the following tasks:

1) Design and finalize a research plan by December 31, 2021 detailing a method for conducting a prevalence study, which includes a study design, sampling plan, data collection tools, partners, ethical implications and tested data sources evidencing the viability of the prevalence method. The research design should also include known data limitations to the design.

2) Use 3-4 proxy indicators to develop a method estimating prevalence (proxy indicators) detailing the validity for this method and explaining why this is the best approach from the existing data sources.

3) Support the IJM core team by identifying and advising on the best methods to develop a plan from the information provided by the EAC and contributing partners as well as IJMs internal data sources.

4) Support the IJM core team to assess, test and analyze the data sources for viability and use as a proxy.

5) Analyze the data sources, methods explored and partnerships demonstrating and evidencing a systematic approach to establish a prevalence plan.

6) Produce a draft plan based on a structure agreed with IJM and lead/co-lead consultations with IJM teams and selected external stakeholders to validate the findings.

7) Finalize a prevalence plan and present it alongside IJM in a report format and presentation to EAC members and IJM’s leaders.

4. Required Consultancy Skills and Experience

The consultant must meet the following requirements:

· Experience of working on similar research initiatives/demonstrated credibility with the government or international stakeholders.

· Have worked on prevalence studies and household surveys of a sensitive nature.

· Prior experience in child protection and/or research with hidden populations.

· Working knowledge of online child sexual exploitation and abuse issues in South East Asia.

· Have published works on their research in reputed peer-reviewed academic journals.

· Have been funded by international agencies or donors in the past.

· Have PhDs in Statistics, Demography/Population Studies, or methodologists on staff.

· Have submitted research protocols through institutional review boards or ethics committees previously to enhance the study plan.

5. References

[1] For instance, externally validated studies found 72-86% reductions in the commercial sexual exploitation of children in IJM’s project areas in the Philippines. See to access other prevalence studies.

[2] As of February 26, 2021

[3] The Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS) defines prevalence as “the proportion of a population who have a specific characteristic in a given time period. [It] is not to be confused with incidence, which is the rate at which new cases of individuals with the characteristic of interest emerge each month or year.” [Global Fund to End Modern Slavery. (2021). Prevalence Estimation: Methods Brief. Arlington, VA: Global Fund to End Modern Slavery.]

[4] The External Advisory Council (EAC) is made up of IJM selected and invited experts from tech/financial/research and child protection agencies to advise on the development of methods to estimate the prevalence of trafficking to create CSEM. EAC members are integral to the project and will provide input and guidance from their areas of expertise.

[5] Contributing Partners will deliver on specific project tasks and provide data to achieve the project’s objectives within their remit of expertise.

How to apply

Request for Proposal (RFP) Timeline and Application Process

(To request the full version of the RFP please email –

**NOTE: The deadline has been extended to May 31. However, the project team have begun screening proposals that met the earlier deadline of May 7, so please submit in the earliest instance**

Interested candidates must submit their application on or before May 31, 2021. The application should contain:

1) Cover letter explaining qualifications, experience, and competence of the consultant for this specific research study.

2) Technical proposal with initial proposed work plan (which will be discussed and finalized between IJM and the selected consultant, no more than 5 pages).

3) Resume package (no more than 4 pages).

4) Financial proposal, which should show the breakdown of the study cost for the consultant, including the consultant’s rate, travel, per diems, and any other possible costs. The estimated cost (not including data collection) is between $50,000 to $80,000.

Questions and completed applications should be submitted by PDF and emailed to:

Imogen Fell

In 2020, IJM launched IJM’s Center to End Online Sexual Exploitation of Children. The Center partners with governments, industries, NGOs, and other stakeholders to expose, neutralize, and deter online sexual exploitation of children around the world. Leveraging practices proven effective in IJM’s ongoing program against OSEC in the Philippines, the Center helps (1) improve technology and financial sector detection and reporting of livestreaming child sexual exploitation, (2) strengthen international collaboration in law enforcement and prosecution, and (3) support effective justice system (law enforcement, prosecution, and aftercare) responses in source and demand-side countries, resulting in sustainable protection for children and accountability for perpetrators.

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