Working Papers

Working Papers

This DemandAT Working Paper No. 15 by ICMPD researchers Mădălina Rogoz and Albert Kraler offers a synthesis of the main results of the conceptual and theoretical work as well as of the in-depth case studies conducted in the framework of the project (prostitution policies, domestic work, supply chain initiatives, law enforcement and information campaigns). The paper argues for a narrow conception of demand and suggests to understand demand-side interventions as interventions aimed at shaping the purchaser side in a specific market exchange. Demand-side interventions are thus specific and don’t work in isolation from other measures addressing trafficking. In some contexts, the paper finds, demand is not a useful category altogether. The paper further highlights the need to acknowledge the specificity of particular markets and the related need to specify the expected results of demand-side interventions in any particular market.

This DemandAT Working Paper No.14 by Dita Vogel (University of Bremen) and Albert Kraler (ICMPD) proposes an integrated theoretical approach to conceptualise human behaviour in the context of trafficking in human beings. The authors argue that the emphasis on agency in current much social science literature stands in stark contrast to political and academic debates about THB, in which victims are imagined without any agency and exploiters as powerful and driven by greed. This paper challenges this view and suggests a model of human behaviour that can be applied to both victims and perpetrators as well as third parties. Drawing on the social psychological concept of “possibility space” the authors argue that individuals’ actions are shaped by what they perceive as possible and desirable actions in particular circumstances. A key aspect of addressing trafficking is therefore to make alternative routes of actions possible. 

This DemandAT Working Paper No. 13 written by ICMPD researcher Mădălina Rogoz with contributions from other colleagues from the DemandAT consortium critically examines debates on demand in the context of trafficking. A common denominator of these debates is that there is the assumption that there is “a” demand that fosters exploitation related to trafficking in human beings. The paper aims to retrace the arguments used in debates on demand in different fields of trafficking –  for sexual exploitation, for labour exploitation, for the exploitation of begging, for illegal adoption, for forced and servile marriages and trafficking for the removal of organs – in order to better understand the assumptions behind demand-side arguments, the way demand is understood and contextualised and how it is considered relevant in addressing various types of trafficking in human beings.

This DemandAT Working Paper No. 12 by ICMPD researcher Almut Bachinger and other colleagues in the DemandAT consortium stresses the principle importance of labour inspections in monitoring and addressing labour exploitation, while highlighting that mandates, institutional fragmentation and lack of resources do not necessarily allow to realize labour inspectorate’s potential in addressing exploitation.  In addition, the paper stresses the importance of the overall regulatory environment. An associated policy brief available here summarises key findings of the research and its policy recommendations.

The security sector approach to criminal justice is integrated into legal framework and strategies, which guide their activities and enable the security sector to carry out functions related to areas such as apprehension, investigation, confiscation and conviction. Yet, as this working paper finds a clear definition of the term ‘demand’ and demand-side measures is lacking in the security sector’s legal frameworks, mandates and strategies. As security sector role is very much tied to its governing legislation, the security sector therefore seems unable to act proactively in ‘addressing demand’ without a clear definition of the demand-side. It is therefore suggested that for this sector not only is a definition needed, but also a legal framework for action.

European Policy Brief based on this research is also available.

This tenth DemandAT working paper by Petra Östergren fom Lund University develops a typology for prostitution policy regimes. Based on an inductive methodological approach, it presents a typology of three general prostitution policy models (or regimes), as repressive, restrictive or integrative. The intention of such a tripartite typology is that it can serve as a tool for assessing, evaluating and comparing prostitution policies, even in cases where they seem to contain contradictory or incoherent elements. Besides using the prostitution policy typology for analytical purposes, it can also serve as a tool for developing context-sensitive measures against violence, exploitation and trafficking in human beings in the sex work sector.

What can we know about the effectiveness of demand-side campaigns?  Although considerable funds are spent on anti-trafficking campaigns seeking to influence spending patterns or to encourage reporting, little is known about their effectiveness. This is mainly due to insufficient evaluation, yet examples of critical internal evaluation show that evaluative insights are possible.

This eight DemandAT working paper presents the first piece of data collection and analysis from DemandAT work on the ‘Globalised Production of Goods’. The paper offers a preliminary analysis of an inventory of initiatives around human trafficking and supply chains. We first consider how demand may be understood in the context of supply chains in relation to concerns around trafficking, forced labour and/or slavery (TFLS). We further begin to map the field of interventions at the TFLS-supply chain nexus. We analyse the range of actors involved, the forms that the initiatives take in terms of the mechanisms by which they would operate, and the scope of initiatives both in terms of industry and geography. The field of initiatives at the TFLS-supply chain nexus is seen to be growing quickly, and exhibits a high degree of variegation.

Alexandra Ricard-Guay

This seventh DemandAT working paper examines the demand-side of trafficking in the domestic work sector based on seven country studies (Belgium, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, and the UK). The report i) provides an overview of the phenomenon of trafficking in domestic work, ii) examines the factors influencing the demand in the context of trafficking, and iii) discusses key challenges in responding to and tackling this issue

Demand-side approaches are seen as important building blocks in efforts to prevent trafficking, complementing measures addressing the vulnerability of trafficked persons. Whether such demand-side policies actually succeed in preventing trafficking is both debated and not sufficiently investigated. The sixth DemandAT Working Paper describes recurring types of regulatory tools addressing demand in twelve national contexts. The paper finds that there are few policies specifically addressing demand in the context of trafficking in human beings. More commonly, policies address broader issues associated with trafficking, and thus may serve to address, but are not limited to trafficking. Structurally, the promotion of demand-side approaches has the potential to mainstream anti-trafficking policies across various policy areas.

Domestic work is a sector of the economy particularly vulnerable to abusive and exploitative practices and is an area thought to be at high risk of hidden trafficking in human beings. Yet trafficking in domestic work remains poorly defined and the multiple drivers of demand in this context are difficult to differentiate.  This fifth DemandAT working paper aims to provide a framework for research that captures some of the specificities of work in a domestic setting. This will provide common ground for the series of country studies that are to follow.

What can we learn from other policy sectors about how best to regulate demand for illegal or undesirable goods/services? Drawing on insights from the areas of illegal drugs, tobacco and employment, Working Paper 4 uses a typology of regulatory approaches to identify types of smart regulation that might be most pertinent to measures addressing demand related to trafficking.

The authors note the challenges of transferring policy solutions and critique the rationalist presuppositions underpinning the literature on regulation. In particular, the paper shows how issue framing shapes policy responses. This, in turn, poses the question as to how issue definition and framing might act as a constraint on developing new approaches to address demand in THB.

Working Paper 3 examines how economic contributions can help clarify some of the terminology used in the DemandAT project. It sets out economic theories of ‘demand’, and contrasts these to common understandings of the concept of demand and prices as employed in debates on anti-trafficking, as well as understandings of the role of coercion. The paper suggests that the use of these terms has often been vague and inconsistent. The paper illustrates these problems by looking at three examples of the application of economics concepts in literature on THB. It concludes that what is needed most urgently is more context dependent data interpretation, rather than more data.


The 2000 UN Trafficking Protocol obliged states to discourage demand that fostered exploitation leading to trafficking. Fifteen years later, there is still no shared understanding of what demand means in the context of debates on trafficking in human beings (THB).

Working paper 2 charts the history of the use of the concepts “trafficking” and “demand” in the context of debates on trafficking since the 1860s. It shows that terminological confusion was and still is a constant feature of these debates. The paper argues that conceptual confusion hampers mutual understanding, prevents reasonable dispute and undermines the capacity to develop policy approaches which effectively provide protection from trafficking and exploitation.

This first DemandAT working paper by Norbert Cyrus and Dita Vogel seeks to clarify the concept of demand in the context of trafficking in human beings.  It approaches this task by historically analysing the emergence of the concept of demand within legal frameworks related to trafficking. The paper also discusses the understanding of demand as a concept in economics and whether and how this can be applied to trafficking in human beings. 

Working Paper 1 makes recommendations on terminology for the DemandAT project including:

  • the definition of demand as 'the willingness and ability to buy a particular commodity'

  • the definition of demand-side policies and measures as reserved for activities that seek to influence the demand for final commodities (such as consumer goods and services)