DemandAT Final Conference: demand-side measures against trafficking

DemandAT Final Conference: demand-side measures against trafficking


When: 10 May 2017, 9.30 to 16.30

Venue: Brussels, The International Auditorium (Boulevard du Roi Albert II, 5 - Auditorium)

Language: English

Enquiries and registration:

Download the registration form here.




Should consumers be held responsible for exploitative practices that may be involved in production of consumer goods or services they consume? If yes, in what ways? How can consumers be encouraged to change their consumption behaviour? And what is their actual leverage to shape conditions under which services are provided or goods are produced? What about firms and large institutional procurers purchasing goods and services through supply chains? What is their leverage and in what ways can they be encouraged, or indeed be obliged, to address trafficking in their supply chains? What about other fields in which trafficking occurs? Can campaigns encouraging the general public not to donate to or buy token goods from children reduce trafficking of children into begging? Do campaigns encouraging the public to report suspicions of trafficking to the police or specialised NGOs result in tangible results? Should clients of sex workers be criminalised? Do such measures actually address trafficking? Is the criminalisation of those who knowingly make use of services provided by trafficked persons a more appropriate instrument? In the anti-trafficking debate these and similar questions are often discussed under the broader terms "demand" and "demand reduction". Addressing demand is also a legal obligation incorporated into anti-trafficking legislation. The EU Anti-Trafficking Directive (2011/36/EU), mirroring a comparable obligation under the UN Trafficking Protocol, thus requires Member States to: "take appropriate (…) measures to discourage and reduce the demand that fosters all forms of exploitation related to trafficking in human beings" (Art. 18(1), Directive 2011/36/EU). However how demand should be best addressed by all different stakeholders, and whether it is a useful approach, is still issue of debate.

The conference

In 2014, the project "Demand-side measures against trafficking" (DemandAT)*, a research study funded under the EU’s 7th framework programme and involving a multidisciplinary team from seven European countries was launched to examine demand-side approaches in the context of trafficking in different perspectives. The study combined theoretical analyses of the 2 concept of demand and different types of policies interventions with a mapping of policy debates and implemented policies across a large range of countries as well as different fields in which trafficking occurs with in-depth studies of particular fields (domestic work, supply chains, sex work) and approaches (law enforcement, campaigns).

The final DemandAT conference brings together researchers from the project consortium, NGOs, policy makers, representatives of international organisations and academics. The conference will critically examine the potential and the limits of demand-side approaches. There will be three thematic panels focusing on:


9:30 – 10:00 Welcome & Introduction

Elisa Trossero (ICMPD)
Maria Del-Pilar Gonzalez-Pantaleon (EC/DG RTD)
Albert Kraler (ICMPD): Introduction to the project
Representative of the Office of the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, European Commission

10:00 – 11:15 Panel I Reducing what? Demand in anti-trafficking contexts

Panel I will focus on the history of the term demand, the debates about the term and how it is addressed in international counter trafficking legislation. Based in part on the conceptual work in the early phases of the project, the panel will also reflect on the theories of behaviour of different actors involved in THB that underlie policy interventions.

Panellists: Dita Vogel (University of Bremen), Petya Nestorova (Council of Europe), Marjan Wijers (independent expert)
Moderator: Sarah Kyambi (University of Edinburgh)

11:15 – 11:45 Coffee Break

11:45 – 13:00 PANEL II Demand for (exploitable) labour, demands on workers: unpacking demand and demand-side measures in the context of labour relations

Panel II will focus on trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation. The panel will provide an opportunity to explore the potential and limits of the concept of demand in regard to trafficking for labour exploitation, focusing on domestic work on the one hand and on complex supply chains on the other. Aspects addressed by the panel include the need to focus on exploitation as the primary focus of interventions, the importance of the relational/ social in employment relations as opposed to market dynamics and the need to approach exploitation from different angles.

Panellists: Anna Triandafyllidou (European University Institute), Siobhan McGrath (Durham University), Paschal Ajongba Saviour Kaba, (General Agricultural Workers Union, Ghana), Khaled Al-Amrani (General Trade Union of Workers in Textile, Garment and Clothing Industries in Jordan)
Moderator: Roger Plant (Board Member, Issara Institute)

13:00 – 14:15 Lunch

14:15 – 15:30 Panel III Repressing or ‘discouraging’ demand?

Panel III will focus on criminal sanctions and complementary or alternative strategies to change certain types of behaviour and their consequences. While criminalisation of certain types of behaviour sends a strong moral message to those engaging in such behaviour, the empirical effect of such acts is a different matter. Limited enforcement capacity thus may require particular approaches, such as “smart enforcement” or complementary and alternative instruments (such as campaigns). However, criminalisation may have other, unintended effects (such as displacement of activities into more hidden forms and may have other implications for other types of interventions).

Panellists: Albert Kraler (ICMPD), Petra Östergren (Lund University), Borislav Gerasimov (Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women), Marcel Gomes (Reporter Brasil), Steve Hitov (Coalition of Immokalee Workers)
Moderator: Kristiina Kangaspunta (UNODC)

15.30 – 16.30 Concluding Panel

Christina Boswell (University of Edinburgh) – Key lessons from the day
Suzanne Hoff (La Strada International) – Conclusions from a European policy perspective
Shikha Bhatacharjee (Asia Floor Wage Alliance) – Perspectives from the Global South



This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration under Grant Agreement No. 612869