Time and location

Friday, 10 October 2014
Conference: 9:30 - 18:30
VIDC panel discussion: 13:00 – 15:00
VIDC workshop: 15:30 - 17:30
Diplomatic Academy of Vienna Festsaal, Favoritenstrasse 15a, 1040 Vienna


The VIDC panel discussion is part of the conference “Joining Forces against Human Trafficking”, organized by the Task Force on Combating Human Trafficking on the occasion of the EU-Anti-Trafficking Day (18th October).

Introduction: Nadja Schuster, Gender Consultant, VIDC

Keynote: Julia O’Connell Davidson, University of Nottingham

Alina Braşoveanu, Council of Europe Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings

Sietske Altink, Sekswererfgoed, Amsterdam

Helga Amesberger, Institute fpr Conflict Research

Moderator: Birgit Sauer, University of Vienna

The panel discussion will be held in English with simultaneous interpretation to German.

Workshop Concept

RSVP: by October 5th, inidicate workshop participation
Ministry for Europe, Integration, Foreign Affairs, Margarete Lengger or IOM Vienna, Katie Klaffenböck
Separate registration for media representatives

At the crossroads - Investigating the interaction between prostitution and anti-trafficking polcies and practice. A country comparison

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© istock


Prostitution policy in its complexity interacts with different policy fields such as migration, health, gender, security and human trafficking. Thus it is critical to define clear and distinctive aims for different policies. Neither prostitution nor anti-trafficking policies should be misused to restrict migration. Any attempt to make sex work invisible by criminalizing sex workers and/or clients and by transferring sex workers to unsecure, non-residential areas, furthers their vulnerability to exploitation, the black market and sex trafficking. Consequently prostitution policies should protect the rights of the most vulnerable group in the sex market, the sex workers, and actively involve sex workers organizations in policy formulation and implementation.
At this panel international experts and representatives of sex workers organizations will discuss what kind of harmful and unintended effects different prostitution policies –by the examples of the Netherlands and Austria – have on the combating of trafficking in human beings. In order to promote evidence-based policy making and implementation, the purpose of this debate is to learn from evidence or empirical research and to counteract morally charged assumptions and prejudices that guide prostitution and anti-trafficking policy processes.
Which political and legislative measures in the field of prostitution would have positive effects on sex workers’ rights taking intended and unintended effects on the combat of human trafficking into account?
What kind of working environment and employment relationship are needed to end the stigmatization and discrimination of sex workers endorsed by employment, migration and (social) security policies?
How should a coherent, human rights-based anti-trafficking policy that recognizes and protects sex workers’ rights look like?
What can Austria learn from prostitution and anti-trafficking policies in the Netherlands, UK and New Zealand?


Keynote: Julia O'Connell Davidson

Julia O'Connell Davidson has been Professor of Sociology at the University of Nottingham since September 2001. In the mid 1990s she started to research prostitution as a form of non-standard work and to address questions about what, precisely, is exchanged in the prostitution contract and the diversity of prostitution in terms of its social organization and the power relations it involves (both globally and nationally). In 2001, she and Bridget Anderson (COMPAS, University of Oxford) were commissioned by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to conduct multi-country pilot research on the demand side of trafficking. They were asked to focus on two sectors - prostitution and domestic work - and they subsequently developed this research through an ESRC funded project examining the markets for migrant sex and domestic workers in the UK and Spain. This research has informed a number of publications that explore that definitional problems associated with the term “trafficking”, critique dominant discourse on “trafficking as modern slavery” and challenge the framing of “trafficking” as a problem of transnational crime as opposed to a migrants' rights issue. Ms O’Connell Davidson currently holds a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship for a project titled 'Modern Slavery and the Margins of Freedom: Debtors, Detainees and Children'.
Selected publications
O'Connell Davidson, J. (2012) “Absolving the State: the Trafficking-Slavery Metaphor” Global Dialogue, Vol.14(2).
O’Connell Davidson, J. (2008) Trafficking, modern slavery and the human security agenda, Human Security Journal, Vol. 6.
O’Connell Davidson, J. (2006) Men, middlemen and migrants: the demand side of sex trafficking, Eurozine, 2006.
O’Connell Davidson, J. (2006) “Will the real sex slave please stand up?” Feminist review, 83: 4-22.
O’Connell Davidson, J.; Anderson, B. (2003) Is Trafficking in Human Beings Demand Driven? A Multi-Country Pilot Study. IOM Migration Research Series, No. 15. Geneva.
O’Connell Davidson, J. (2002) “The Rights and Wrongs of Prostitution.” Hypatia Vol. 17(2): 84-98.
O’Connell Davidson, J. (1998) Prostitution, Power and Freedom. The University of Michigan Press.

Alina Braşoveanu

Alina Braşoveanu has a law degree from the State University of Moldova and holds a Magister Juris in Public International Law and Human Rights Law from the University of Oxford. She has collected over 15 years of experience working with the UN and the OSCE in the areas of human rights and action against Trafficking in human beings. From 2003 until 2011 she held the position of Anti-Trafficking Officer with the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in Warsaw. In this capacity, she drafted anti-trafficking policies and designed and implemented related projects in numerous countries, including Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Belarus, Russian Federation, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Poland, Ireland, United Kingdom, France, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan. Ms Braşoveanu has also conducted assessments of existing anti-trafficking frameworks and National Referral Mechanisms in the countries mentioned above. Since March 2013 she has been elected as First Vice-President of the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA), which monitors the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. In addition, she works as a free-lancer and conducts in-country anti-trafficking assessments for the OSCE and the UNODC/UNFPA in the Republic of Moldova, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

Sietske Altink

Sietske Altink studied philosophy and literature theory and followed a journalism course. Since many years Ms Altink works with the sex workers’ organization Sekswerkerfgoed, currently as a webmaster and editor. In recent years she worked as a researcher at the University of Leiden. She facilitated the recognition process of “The Red Thread” (De Rode Draad) in Amsterdam as a sex workers’ union and worked there as a policy officer. Moreover she worked as a social worker for the former Foundation against Traffic in Women, a sex workers’ rights organization, which acknowledged the problem of trafficking. Since more than 20 years she conducts studies and research in the field of sex work and human trafficking. Ms Altink has published numerous books and articles, most of them in Dutch. Together with Helga Amesberger and Hendrik Wagenaar she undertook the comparative study on prostitution polices in the Netherlands and in Austria.
Selected publications
Wagenaar, H., Altink, S., Amesberger, H. (2013) Final Report of the International Comparative Study of Prostitution Policy: Austria and the Netherlands. Platform31, The Hague.
Altink, Sietske (2013) Wallenbeleid Asscher komt uit de oude doos, over comfortfeministen versus comfortpolitici.
Wagenaar, H., Altink, S., (2012) Prostitution as Morality Politics, Why It Is Exceedingly Difficult to Design and Sustain Effective Prostitution Policy, in: Sexuality Research and Social Policy (2012), Springer Verlag.
Wagenaar, H., Altink, S. (2009) To toe the line: Streetwalking in contended space, in: Safer Sex in the City (2009) Canter, D., Ionnou, M., Youngs, D. (eds.), Liverpool.
Altink, Sietske (1995) Stolen Lives: Trading Women Into Sex and Slavery. Scarlet Press, London, New York.

Helga Amesberger

Helga Amesberger holds an academic degree in ethnology and sociology (Mag.a phil.) and a doctorate in political science from the University of Vienna. She lectures at various Austrian Universities. Since 1993 she works as a researcher at the Institute of Conflict Research in Vienna, Austria. Her main research topics are: racism, National Socialism and Holocaust, oral history and politics of remembrance, violence against women, prostitution policy. Ms Amesberger is co-founder of the ARGE Wiener Ethnologinnen (Working group of Viennese Ethnologists). In 2004 she was appointed delegate of the International Committee Ravensbrück and since 2004 she is also member of the scientific board of the project “MenschenLeben” (humanLife). In 2011 she received the Käthe Leichter-Preis for the documentation of the history of women’s fates and female prisoners in concentration camps. In the past years she investigated the field of prostitution in Austria. In cooperation with the researchers Sietske Altink and Hendrik Wagenaar she conducted the comparative study on prostitution polices in the Netherlands and in Austria. She is member of the Austrian work group “Arbeitsgruppe Länderkompetenzen Prostitution” which is headed by the Directorate Women and Equality of the Ministry of Education and Women’s Affairs. Ms Amesberger also is the Austrian delegate of the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Action “Comparing European Prostitution Policies: Understanding Scales and Cultures of Governance”.
Selected publications
Amesberger, H. (forthcoming 2014) Sexarbeit in Österreich. Ein Politikfeld zwischen Pragmatismus, Moralisierung und Resistenz, Wien.
Amesberger, H. (2014) Die politische Lösung gibt es nicht. Prostitutionspolitiken im Vergleich, in: AEP Informationen, 41. Jg., Nr. 1, S. 4-7. Wien. Siehe auch Online-Artikel dazu in „Menschenhandel heute“, 3. Juni 2014.
Wagenaar, H., Altink, S., Amesberger, H., (2013) Final Report of the International Comparative Study of Prostitution Policy: Austria and the Netherlands. Platform31, The Hague.
Amesberger, H. (2012) Prostitutionspolitik in Österreich im internationalen Vergleich, in: Elisabeth Greif (2012) SexWork(s): verbieten - erlauben - schützen? Linzer Schriften zur Frauenforschung. Ursula Flossmann (Hg.). Trauner Verlag, Linz.
Amesberger, H.; Halbmayr, B. (2007) Das Privileg der Unsichtbarkeit. Rassismus unter dem Blickwinkel von Weißsein und Dominanzkultur. Wilhelm Braumüller Verlag, Münster.
Amesberger, H.; Auer, K.; Halbmayr, B. (2004) Sexualisierte Gewalt. Weibliche Erfahrungen in NS-Konzentrationslagern. Mandelbaum Verlag, Wien.
Amesberger, H.; Halbmayr, B. (Hg.) (2002) Rechtsextreme Parteien - eine mögliche Heimat für Frauen? Leske und Budrich, Opladen.

Moderator: Birgit Sauer

Birgit Sauer studied political science and German language/literature in Tübingen and Berlin. 1993/94 she was a visiting professor at Kon-Kuk-University in Seoul/Korea, 1994 visiting professor at the University of Klagenfurt, 1995 - 1996 assistant professor at the Institute of Sociology at the University of Freiburg/Germany, 1996 - 2001 assistant professor at the Department of Political Science at the University of Vienna, 2001/02 visiting professor at the University of Mainz, 2003/04 visiting professor at the Florida Atlantic University, USA. Since 2006 she is full professor at the University of Vienna. Her research interests are the following: Governance and Gender, Politics of Gender Relations, State Theory and Theory of Institutions.
Selected Publications
Sauer, B. (2013) Comment on the Final Report of the International Comparative Study of Prostitution Policy: Austria and the Netherlands, 10th June 2013, Platform 31, The Hague.
Sauer, B., Rosenberger, S., (2011) Politics, Religion and Gender. Framing and regulating the veil. Routledge, London/New York.
Sauer, B., Ludwig, G., Wöhl, S. (2009) Staat und Geschlecht. Grundlagen und aktuelle Herausforderungen feministischer Staatstheorie. Nomos, Baden-Baden.
Sauer, B. (2008) Gewalt, Geschlecht, Kultur. Fallstricke aktueller Debatten um „traditionsbedingte“ Gewalt, in: Sauer, B.; Strasser, S. (Hg.) (2008) Zwangsfreiheiten. Multikulturalität und Feminismus. Promedia, Wien.
Sauer, B. (2008) An der Front des westlichen Patriacharts. Sexarbeit, Frauenhandel und politische Regulierungen in Wien, in: Nautz, J., Sauer, B. (Hg.) (2008) Frauenhandel. Diskurse und Praktiken. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen.