Think Tank Event: International Expert Round Table – 30 September 2022

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MIND THE GAP! Tackling the Lack of Attention on Preventing Human Trafficking & Exploitation

30 September 2022 – 09:30 – 16:00

Vienna – Chamber of Labour (Arbeiterkammer)

Theresianumgasse 16-18

What are the Principles that should underpin and guide all efforts to prevent Trafficking in Human Beings and related Exploitation?

What are the Principles related to measures to Discourage Demand that fosters the various forms of Exploitation for which people are trafficked?

What does the Principle of Non-Discrimination mean? How can we ensure that anti-trafficking measures do not adversely affect the Human Rights and Dignity of human beings?

Agenda, Info, Registration, Livestream

You can find our Draft Agenda below. More Information will follow in due time.

Draft Agenda:

Panelists, Commentators, Experts, Researchers, Practitioners List:

If you would like to participate on-site, you can register by clicking here

or by coping the following link into your browser:

(registrations open from 15 – 25 September 2022)

You can also follow the event without registration via livestream:

Section I: 9:30-11:00   

Section II: 11:30-13:30         

Section III: 14:00-16:00         

Related Notes, Documents, Background Info & Links

Mike Dottridge: Compilation of principles to guide initiatives to prevent trafficking in human beings and to discourage trafficking related demand:

Daja Wenke

Assessing the age of children at risk of trafficking in human beings in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Jean-Pierre Gauci

‘Determinants of anti-trafficking efforts’

Olav Lægdene and Ingunn Gavelstad, leaders of Nadheim, Church City Mission in Oslo

The debate over the Sex Purchase Act still over shadows almost every other debate in the field of prostitution. It’s important, but there are other questions that are just as important. For example; What can be done to improve the situation for sex sellers in Norway?


Debate: The Sex Purchase Act – ten years

Curse of the Sex Buy Act

Published Wednesday, September 11, 2019

It is this year ten years since the Sex Purchase Act, which makes it illegal to buy sexual services, was passed and implemented. The law had many motives; reduce demand, reduce the market, the law should be norm-forming in that (especially young) men became negative about buying sex. And not least, the law should be a means of combating human trafficking.


Criminalizing prostitution makes matters worse

Ten years of the law is summed up differently, but mostly quite predictably; those who feared the law often believe it has become a disaster, those who celebrated the introduction of the law consider it very successful.

And maybe both sides are right; it depends on which aspects of the law one emphasizes.

From an aid measure’s point of view, it is more difficult to assess the effect of the law. The street prostitution today is very small, while online sex sales have a large scope. This is a development we have in most major cities, regardless of legislation. The desired social effect of the act in the form of changes in attitudes is difficult to measure. The Sex Purchase Act as an effective means of combating human trafficking is essentially a constructed context.

As an auxiliary measure, on the other hand, it is far easier to assess what the situation is like for those who sell sex today. Whether it’s online or offline. With the introduction of the act, it was a premise that those who sold sex should as much as possible be shielded and not adversely affected by a criminalization. Those who sold sex should not get it harder, on the contrary, they should get more help. Help in the transition from prostitution to work for those who wanted it was emphasized.

Some of us who have worked in the field for a long time remember well what the situation for sex sellers was like before the law was introduced.

The current situation is surprisingly similar; many sex sellers are subject to violence, discrimination and harassment. Many are being exploited in the housing market. Many have major health challenges, both physical and mental. Some have backers, or organized networks that take much of what one earns from prostitution. Some sell sex to support family in other countries.

Many people do not want to sell sex, but the means for creating the transition from prostitution to work are virtually nonexistent. A lot of people aren’t even allowed to work. Many people who are victims of human trafficking have been sent out of the country without further follow-up.

It’s a shame that the debate over the Sex Purchase Act shadows other important issues in the field. Especially the question of what it takes to make everyday life for those who sell sex safest possible. How good transitions from prostitution to work can be created for those who want it. We want a greater focus on what are good measures for men, women and transgender people who sell sex and who deserve respect and a dignified everyday life.

Women Peace Security: Policy Brief 0672022

Nina Vuolajärvi, Criminalising the Sex Buyer: Experiences from the Nordic Region

Policy Paper

Ryszard Piotrowicz, Recent Blogs:

The weaponization of migration (with Muraszkiewicz), 28 December 2021

Human Suffering and Migration Management: The Crisis at the Poland-Belarus Border Explained (

County Lines and Non-Punishment, September 2021

Whose evidence counts in identifying trafficked people (with Muraszkiewicz), 8 June 2021

Non-punishment of trafficked people, 21 April 2021

Genocide of Uighur people, 14 July 2020

Katharina Beclin, Publikation zu ‘Sag, wie hast du’s mit der Kriminologie?’ (German)

Die Kriminologie im Gespräch mit ihren Nachbardisziplinen

Noemi Magugliani

The combination of discriminatory laws and policies and a State’s tolerance of so-called legal black holes, which facilitate rather than discourage demand, ought to be considered, analysed and framed as tools of State-sponsored vulnerability that are in direct contrast with the principle of good faith.’

As highlighted in the Principles, the obligation on States to discourage the demand that fosters all forms of exploitation of persons implies that States must take action to identify factors that foster the exploitation of persons and contribute to demand, including the full range of factors that cause or facilitate human trafficking. These factors are often times directly or indirectly related to the State and to its activities (or lack thereof). Discriminatory laws and policies, a State’s tolerance of so-called ‘legal black holes’, restrictive immigration policies, the creation and maintenance of a ‘hostile’ environment are all tools that can be framed and understood as tools of State-sponsored vulnerability. Taking into account that States have an obligation under international law to act with due diligence to prevent trafficking in human beings, all actions (and inactions) of the State that contribute to the creation, maintenance, or increase of risks of trafficking and exploitation breach such an obligation, as well as are in stark contrast with the principle of good faith in the implementation of international law. Complementing the mainstream individualised anti-trafficking approach, be that focussed on prosecution or of individual protection, a structural approach to discouraging demand ought to take into account the system in which such demand exists.

Recent publications:

JP Gauci and N Magugliani, ‘Determinants of Anti-Trafficking Efforts’ (BIICL, 2022)

N Magugliani, ‘Trafficked Adult Males as (Un)Gendered Protection Seekers: Between Presumption of Invulnerability and Exclusion from Membership of a Particular Social Group’ (2022) IJRL – forthcoming

N Magugliani, ‘(In)Vulnerable Masculinities and Human Trafficking: Men, Victimhood, and Access to Protection in the United Kingdom’ (2022) Journal of Human Rights Practice

N Magugliani and JP Gauci, ‘Migrant Crossings in the Channel: Non-Assistance, Securitisation, and Accountability Under International Law’ (Opinio Juris, 17 January 2022)

N Magugliani, ‘The securitisation of migration: leaving protection behind? The “hotspot approach” and the identification of potential victims of human trafficking’ (2018) CCJHR Legal Research Working Papers series No 7

Suzanne Hoff

The EU THB Directive of 2011 is currently being evaluated and on 13 of December, the EU AT coordinator will present the evaluation package/ including most likely a proposal to revise (parts of ) the THB Directive. The European Commission is considering to revise article 18 and make it binding for EU MS to establish as a criminal offence the use of services, with the knowledge that the person is a victim of an offence referred to in Article 2 (definition THB) – even though there is ample information about the impact of this offense, in countries that have criminalised it. So far only in 2016 a research has been conducted by the EC, which makes clear that provisions and interpretations of this offence differ and the impact is unknown.

La Strada International has done some desk research and related interviews on the issue to try to find out more about the impact, challenges and possible harm of criminalising the knowingly use. La Strada International believes that Broadening the criminal liability and criminalizing all those that knowingly use services which involve exploitation might not only be impractical and hence have limited impact on human trafficking, but can also be dangerous.