DemandAT is an interdisciplinary research project funded under the EU Seventh Framework Programme.  The project brings together nine partners across seven European countries to investigate approaches to addressing and reducing demand for trafficking in human beings through anti-trafficking efforts and policies. While responses to trafficking have traditionally focused on combating the criminal networks involved in trafficking or protecting the human rights of victims, European countries are increasingly exploring ways of influencing demand for the services or products of those trafficked within their own economies and societies – for example, through criminalising clients, better control of recruitment agencies, or fair trade campaigns. DemandAT contributes to a better understanding of how policymakers can influence demand for trafficking and actively engages with EU and national level policymakers. The project benefits from continuous stakeholder interaction and is informed by a stakeholder advisory board comprising representatives from the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women, the International Organization for Migration, the International Trade Union Confederation, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the United Nationas Office for Drugs and Crime amongst others.

The project’s research takes a broad approach to trafficking analysing a range of forced and exploitative labour scenarios. It explores what demand means in the context of trafficking in human beings conceptually and examines how demand for products and services provided by trafficked women, men and children operates in practice. The measures implemented to reduce demand for trafficking are analysed and their efficacy in reducing demand is assessed. Insights are drawn from related areas to develop a broader perspective of the range of regulatory options that exist for influencing demand for trafficking in human beings.

Research Phases

The research is structured into three, interlocking, phases:

Phase 1: Analysis of the theoretical and empirical literature on demand for trafficking in human beings and regulating demand in different disciplines, fields and countries. This includes economic and genealogical analysis of the concept of demand and a comprehensive overview of demand in different forms of trafficking. January 2014-June 2015.

Phase 2: Involves three in-depth empirical case studies on different trafficking fields: domestic work, prostitution and imported goods. A further two case studies will be conducted investigating different policy approaches: law enforcement actors and campaigns. September 2014-December 2016.

Phase 3: The final phase involved integrating the project insights into a coherent framework with a focus on dissemination. January 2017-June 2017.

Research Areas

The project is divided into a series of work packages that cover different aspects of trafficking and examine different measures for addressing demand for trafficking in human beings. The substantive work packages include:

The Concept of Demand

Researchers at the University of Bremen lead on developing an analysis of the meaning and implications of demand from a genealogical and economic perspective; exploring the conceptual foundations of the debate on demand in trafficking. January 2014- June 2015.

Policy Instruments in Steering Demand

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh provide a conceptual analysis of the regulatory tools available for steering demand drawing on related fields to examine measures to steer demand for lower cost goods/services and for illicit goods/services. January 2014 – June 2015.

Demand in Different Forms of Trafficking in Human Beings

Researchers at La Strada International lead a systematic review of the literature on demand-side factors and demand-side policies. This review is conducted in relation to trafficking for the purposes of: the commercial sex market, labour exploitation, forced begging, forced/servile marriages, forced criminal activities and illegal organ removal. January 2014 – June 2015.

Government Responses: Comparative Country Analysis

Researchers at International Centre for Migration Policy Development provide a comparative overview of the development and implementation of policies targeting demand for trafficking in selected EU and non-EU countries. This includes an analysis of the debates on the expected and actual outcomes of demand related policies. January 2014 – June 2015.

Domestic Work

Researchers at the European University Institute investigate types of domestic work that involve extreme forms of exploitation focusing on the dynamics between demand and supply with a view to proposing improved policy options for combatting trafficking and exploitation in domestic work. The countries studied are: Belgium, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK. September 2014 – December 2016.

Globalised production of Goods

Researchers at the University of Durham evaluate the impact of existing initiatives to address trafficking and forced labour in global supply chains. Field research in non-EU countries will inform the development of industry-specific strategies to address trafficking and forced labour in supply chains. September 2014 – December 2016.


Researchers at Lund University conduct a comparative analysis of how demand for trafficking is tackled in different policy approaches to prostitution.  Germany, New Zealand and Sweden provide case studies for different policy models on prostitution. January 2014 – December 2016

Law Enforcement Actors

Researchers at DCAF lead in developing a better understanding of the role, potential and limits of law enforcement actors in addressing demand for trafficking. The analysis focuses on security sector actors (police, border guards, judges and prosecutors) and labour inspectorates. September 2014 – December 2016

Addressing Demand with Smart Campaigns

Researchers at the University of Bremen lead in evaluating anti-trafficking campaigns and developing a method for assessing their impact in reducing demand for trafficking in order to inform the planning, implementation and evaluation of such campaigns. September 2014 – December 2016.


To find out more about this project please see project summary or contact us