Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Integrative Research Institute Law & Society (LSI)

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Juristische Fakultät | Integrative Research Institute Law & Society (LSI) | Aktivitäten | Gesprächsreihen | Victoria Nge Faison: Methods of conducting research on the laws against trafficking. With a focus on victim protection in the European Union

Victoria Nge Faison: Methods of conducting research on the laws against trafficking. With a focus on victim protection in the European Union



Critically-oriented scholars are quite concerned of the fact that research on human trafficking comprises a free horizon of frequently unsubstantiated claims, sensational undertones and exaggerated statistics. Unfortunately, such claims, in spite of a lack of empirical evidence, do inform policy making - the main reason why the problem of trafficking and its associated negative impacts have never been solved or satisfyingly reduced. The problem rests with the presentation of sex trafficking as a primarily organized crime affair, neglecting the socio-political and economic underpinnings causing women to find themselves in exploitative situations. Organized crime instruments, basically adopted to suppress crime, have so far guaranteed very little protection for victims.

This presentation/article takes a victim-centered perspective. Victim-centered policies should be prioritized because countries measure the preponderance of trafficking within their territories using estimates of victims. Unlike cases and perpetrators, number of victims is the only unit of measurement that is constant. Victims are the end products in the crime of trafficking and, without adequate laws, the group that suffers most is the victims.

Legal studies must encompass “the area of contact between judicial (or official) behavior and the behavior of laymen.” The benefit of empirical studies, especially those involving interviews, rests in their ability to provide valuable insider information, distinguish practical experiences from theories and disentangle assumptions from facts. It is with this in mind that this presentation seeks to contribute to the existing empirical legal knowledge of human trafficking through a socio-legal study by obtaining data in the field.

This article/presentation explores the experiences and challenges of carrying out empirical research studies on legal efforts to combat sex trafficking. The methodologies of a socio-legal research, carried out in the field of trafficking by the author will be outlined. Additionally, the myths and rhetoric that have belabored policymaking aided by porous methodologies will be rejected. This will, of course, be supported by recommendations to broaden the horizon of researchers and policy makers. This cannot be done without outlining the main challenges that can be faced in an attempt of gathering empirical data in a highly politicized legal environment.


Victoria Nge Faison, studierte an der Universität von Buea, Kamerun und der Freien Universität Berlin, daran knüpfte ein Aufenthalt an der Georgetown Universität Washington, D.C. mit einem Zertifikat für internationale Migration an. 2016 promovierte sie zum Thema "Protecting victims within legal responses to trafficking in women for sexual exploitation in the European Union" an der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.