Time and location

Monday, 29 October 2018
Konference: 9:00 - 17:30
Registration: 8:00 - 9:00
VIDC/IOM Workshops 1,2: 14:00 - 16:00 Uhr
Hofburg, Neuer Saal, Heldenplatz, 1010 Vienna


The conference "Human trafficking and human rights – access to rights for victims of human trafficking" is organized by the Austrian Task Force on Combating Human Trafficking in cooperation with the Italian OSCE-Chairmanship, the OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, the VIDC, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime and the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) on the occasion of the EU-Anti-Trafficking Day.

Monday, 29 October 2018, 9:00 - 17:30, Hofburg, Neuer Saal, Heldenplatz, 1010 Vienna

The VIDC has cooperated with the IOM for organizing the panel "Hindered access to rights from a gender perspective” and two workshops "Negative coping mechanisms and vulnerability to trafficking: by-product of neoliberal and austerity policies?“ and „Ausbeutung von EU-Bürger/innen – wie kann das sein?“

Conference programm (German/English)
Conference languages: German and English with simultaneous interpretation

Please RSVP by 11 October by sending the attached  registration form to anti-trafficking@remove-this.bmeia.gv.at and bring your identification card to the registration desk.

Human trafficking and human rights - access to rights for victims of human trafficking

© Ahmed Hashim
© Ahmed Hashim


The prevailing political discourse on securitization (Wæver, 1995) has led to the framing of human trafficking as a security issue (Aradau, 2008). Securitization, it is argued, is justified because something of value is being threatened at its very core and must therefore be protected. For example, migration and refugee movements are often portrayed as a threat to state sovereignty, thus legitimizing extraordinary political measures. The fight against human trafficking is being carried out between the two poles of security policy and human rights. This leads to contradictory political categories: "illegal" migrants vs. trafficked persons, "illegal" seasonal workers vs. exploited persons, "illegal" sex workers vs. sexually exploited persons, unaccompanied minor refugees vs. trafficked children. These categories can lead to the criminalization of trafficked men, women, non-binary people and children, with serious consequences for their legal protection.
The following questions must thus be addressed from a human rights perspective: Whose security is perceived as being worthy of protection? Who is a victim? Who is a perpetrator? What effects do these categorizations in the security discourse have in terms of gender, human rights and victims' rights?
Within democratic societies, the "politics of securitization" run the risk of breaking established basic political principles, such as democratic discourse and consensus building, participation of civil society, victim protection, etc. (Aradau, 2007).
Trafficked persons' access to rights will be analyzed on the panel from a gender perspective based on the experiences of two EU countries, Germany and Greece:

  • What challenges is Greece confronted with – in the context of high numbers of arrivals of refugees in the country – regarding victim protection and access to rights? How are vulnerable, at-risk groups, particularly children, identified?
  • What role does the German Trade Union Confederation play in the fight against human trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation? What labour sectors are most affected and what gender-specific measures/services are necessary?


Bärbel Heide Uhl

Bärbel Heide Uhl is a political scientist who has been working on anti-trafficking policies in various European countries since 1994. In her book “Die Sicherheit der Menschenrechte” (The Security of Human Rights), she analyzes the fight against human trafficking between the opposing paradigms of the politics of security and the protection of human rights. She is a co-author of the Routledge Handbook on Human Trafficking (2017) as well as founder of the NGO initiative “datACT, data protection in anti-trafficking action”, which aims to strengthen data protection of trafficked persons. Uhl is also a co-founder of the European NGO network "La Strada". She has been employed as anti-trafficking expert for both the OSCE Mission to the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). In addition, she has advised the Council of Europe, UNODC and EU candidate countries and new Member States (including Turkey, Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania) on European anti-trafficking policies within the framework of EU enlargement procedures. From 2003 to 2011 she was member of the European Commission Group of Experts on Trafficking in Human Beings in Brussels and from 2007 to 2011 she served as its chairperson.

Korina Hatzinikolaou

Korina Hatzinikolaou holds the position of Scientific Adviser at the Office of the Greek National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on behalf of which she coordinated the development of the new National Action Plan (2018 - 2023). She was seconded to this position from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, where she works as Assistant Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at the Faculty of Education. She is an expert on typical and atypical child development, and she has gained expertise on child trafficking and child protection during her 8-year mandate as Senior Researcher at the Department of Mental Health and Social Welfare, Institute of Child Health. Hatzinikolaou was head researcher of many large international research and action-research projects on the prevention of human trafficking, protection of unaccompanied minors from human trafficking, development of guidelines to identify trafficked persons, and child protection from abuse and neglect. She has worked in many different contexts such as Greece, the United Kingdom and Brazil, in the public and non-profit sector. She has collaborated with several higher education institutes, European agencies and international organizations as an expert, trainer and project evaluator. She has authored scientific articles and book chapters on issues related to her expertise.

Luiza Lupascu

Luiza Lupascu is head of the Service Centre against Labour Exploitation, Forced Labour and Human Trafficking at “Leben und Arbeit" (work and life), a union-linked educational institution of the German Trade Union Confederation and the Adult Education Centers in Berlin. The Service Centre offers trainings for law enforcement authorities, counseling services and trade unions with the aim to detect forced labour and support individuals who have been exploited. Through networking and research activities as well as political work, the Service Centre contributes to the promotion of structural change in Germany. For example, it assists the federal provinces to establish cooperation agreements in the context of forced labour and labour exploitation. In addition, Lupascu is a co-author and editor of the study “Human trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation – an evaluation of prosecutorial investigation files and judicial decisions”, published by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and the Alliance against Human Trafficking for Labour Exploitation (EU-financed project). Lupascu holds a master's degree in European Studies and has professional experience on migration and human rights-related topics at the international level, including at IOM and the UN in New York City.

Helmut Sax

Helmut Sax is a member of the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) of the Council of Europe and a key researcher at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights in Vienna. He has sound academic expertise coupled with an extensive human rights background, and is currently involved in the UN Global Study on Children deprived of Liberty. He has worked for several years in the field of anti-trafficking standards and national and European practice, with particular emphasis on the establishment of national referral mechanisms and child rights-based approaches. Through his eight years as a member of GRETA, he is well experienced in monitoring governmental anti-trafficking interventions and in collaborating with non-governmental networks, with country evaluations ranging from Spain to Armenia and from Sweden to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sax is also a member of the Working Group on Child Trafficking of the Austrian Task Force on Combating Human Trafficking. He has published extensively on children’s rights and child trafficking, most recently in the Routledge Handbook on Human Trafficking (edited by Piotrowicz/Rijken/Uhl, 2017).