Determinants of Victim-Centred Approaches to Human Trafficking. A Cross-National Comparison

This ‘Brown Bag’ session will be delivered by Johanna Schönhöfer.


Trafficking in human beings is a crime creating billions of profit at the expense of millions of victims annually. Although border crossing is not a mandatory prerequisite for human trafficking, the trade in human beings is largely seen as a global problem whose importance has risen on the international agenda.

The most important regime to combat human trafficking is the United Nations Supplementary Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Human Beings, Especially Women and Children to the Convention Against Transnational And Organized Crime adopted in 2000. The Trafficking Protocol imposes a comprehensive set of measures to prevent the occurrence of trafficking, to prosecute and punish traffickers, and to protect victims of trafficking upon ratifying states.

Nevertheless, the Protocol does neither possess control, nor enforcement mechanisms to ensure compliance of its signatories. Thus, obedience to the measures proposed within the Trafficking Protocol remains unsolicitous, as there are no sanctions imposed for non-conformity.

Comparative research on compliance to the Trafficking Protocol largely consists of studies using global samples to test hypotheses derived from international relation theories. Hence, they assume states to be unitary actors calculating the costs and benefits of compliance to the Palermo Protocol and forming policy accordingly. Therefore, the idea that policy output might also be the result of the interplay of forces of different internal political actors and circumstances within a state has thereby been neglected.

My study tries to fill this gap by looking at the influence of the ratio of female members of parliament, the parliament’s average position towards helping disadvantaged parts of societies and political constraints for state-compliance to victim protection as proposed in the Trafficking Protocol. I will run time-series-cross-section analysis with a sample of 35 EU and OECD countries during the time period of 2000 to 2010.

More information

Attendance at this event is free.  Attendees are free to bring their own lunch.

For futher information, please contact Dr Peter Whelan at

Location Details

SR 1.11, The Liberty Building
University of Leeds

The Liberty Building is number 16 on the campus map, located on the western campus.