Update: Second DemandAT Project Meeting

Update: Second DemandAT Project Meeting

Update: Second DemandAT Project Meeting
Sarah Kyambi provides an update from the second meeting of the DemandAT Project Partners in Bremen, 15th -18th September 2014

The second project meeting showed all the hallmarks of research well underway with debates on terminology, focussed exchanges on concepts and updates on research underway or in the planning stages.  On the early work packages findings are tantalisingly moving into view. This update provides an overview of progress, planned research and publications for the DemandAT project.  A fuller outline of the work packages is available in the DemandAT Project Summary

The conceptual work of the project is spearheaded by efforts of researchers at the University of Bremen to develop clarity on the concept of demand from both an economic and a genealogical perspective.  The economic perspective takes an understanding of demand from mainstream economics and considers its implications in the anti-trafficking debate.  The genealogical analysis surveys the evolution of ‘demand’ as an explanation for trafficking in human beings (THB) through historical and contemporary debates and practices.  This conceptual work will be combined in a synthesis paper due for completion in the summer of 2015.

Alongside this conceptual work DemandAT has devoted two work packages to mapping policy and practice on THB by country and by type of THB.  The country mapping includes EU and non-EU countries and covers countries with divergent approaches to tackling THB.  Drafts of country papers circulated and presented were on Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Nigeria, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. On types of THB, drafts are underway mapping THB in the fields of commercial sex, labour exploitation, forced marriage and petty crime. The mammoth task of mapping THB across different countries and fields is led by IMCPD with input from La Strada International and LSI Czech Republic. The mapping work will be completed by end 2014 with selected working papers due to be published online on the DemandAT website in spring 2015.

More in-depth research is planned on three selected fields of THB: prostitution, domestic work and global supply chains.  Researchers responsible for these work packages were based at the University of Lund, the European University Institute and the University of Durham respectively.  Each presented on their current research design and methods with research to begin in September 2015 running to January 2017. New researchers have joined the project to work on these studies and we welcomed Isabelle Johanssen and Alexandra Ricard-Guay.

A block of three further work packages focuses on the actions and options available to policymakers and other actors in combatting human trafficking. This includes research already underway that seeks understanding of how policymakers in other fields have tried to steer demand for illegal or harmful goods and services.  The University of Edinburgh are investigating policymakers’ experiences in influencing demand for irregular work, illegal drugs and tobacco as well as a conceptual analysis of regulatory instruments for steering demand.  The research is working towards a typology of steering instruments that encompasses ‘command and control’ regulatory mechanisms, economic incentives and competition, peer pressure or moral suasion, and, design approaches to reducing demand. The presentation of findings at this stage held intriguing insights for THB in terms of lessons learned in other policy fields and final papers from this work package will be available from spring 2015.

The two other work package are just beginning that will investigate how policy is enforced and the effectiveness of campaign interventions on THB.  One work package studies the potential and limits of law enforcement actors in addressing demand for THB.  Led by DCAF and ICMPD the planned research focuses on the security sector and labour inspectorates and is set to conclude in spring 2016. A final strand of research, to be undertaken by the University of Bremen, will evaluate campaigns against THB. Researchers at the University of Bremen will be developing an assessment instrument to test the impact of campaigns and are currently gathering information on campaigns against THB.

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The views expressed in this blog post do not necessarily express the views of the DemandAT project consortium as whole.