Course Syllabus

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Semester & Location:

Fall 2022 - DIS Stockholm

Type & Credits:

Elective Course - 3 credits

Major Discipline:

Legal Studies, Justice and Human Rights, Gender Studies

Faculty Members:

Polina Smiragina-Ingelström,

Program Director:

Neringa B. Vendelbo

Academic Support: 

Time & Place:

Tuesdays & Fridays, 8:30-9:50



Description of Course

Human Trafficking is one of the most profitable criminal activities in the world which targets vulnerable populations of different age and gender for the purpose of exploitation. The practices of exploitation range from different forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour, forced military service, forced criminal activities, forced begging and other forms of exploitation of the human body, such as human trafficking for the purpose of organ removal. Human trafficking is a violation of fundamental human rights and a very complex global phenomenon. This course aims to provide you with an understanding of the extent of human trafficking in a global context focusing on the various dimensions of the crime. Most classes will be in the form of seminars or lectures. The seminars will be interactive, which involves group work, discussions, simulation games, debates and student presentations. Apart from lecture and seminar classes, throughout the course, we will also learn about human trafficking through documentary films, case studies, field studies and guest lectures.



The semester is divided into 10 modules. Each module comprises a number of classes and/or field studies:


Module 1: Introduction

Classes 1 and 2

Module 2: Criminological approaches in understanding human trafficking

Classes 3,4 and 5

Module 3: Gender dimension of human trafficking

Class 6

Module 4: Legal and policy frameworks

Classes 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and FILED STUDY 1 (CBSS)

Module 5: Human trafficking and assistance

Classes 12 and 13

Module 6: Human trafficking and exploitation in sex work

Classes 14, 15, 16 and 17

Module 7: Human trafficking and the media

Class 18

Module 8: Human trafficking and forced labour 

Classes 19

Module 9: Child trafficking

FIELD STUDY 2 (Ecpat) and Class 20

Module 10: Trafficking in human beings for the purpose of organ removal

Classes 21 and 22



September 23: Research plan

October 25: CALQ

October 28: Midterm quiz

December 9: Anti-trafficking campaigns

December 13: Final quiz

December 16: US trafficking assignment


Learning Objectives

  • Be familiar with internationally agreed upon definitions of trafficking in human beings and know how to distinguish the latter from related phenomena, such as smuggling;
  • Understand the principal causes of trafficking;
  • Be able to discuss victimhood and trauma-sensitive approaches in the context of human trafficking;
  • Understand in what sense trafficking in human beings constitutes a violation of fundamental human rights, and be aware of human-rights based critiques of anti-trafficking activities;
  • Develop a good understanding of the legal and policy framework and national responses surrounding trafficking, including international and regional instruments (e.g. Palermo Protocol, Council of Europe Convention);
  • Be familiar with the various perspectives on and approaches to trafficking as an issue of migration, crime, human rights, labour, etc.; and
  • Be able to critically analyze several of the key points of contrast among various approaches and views of the issue and be able to substantiate positions with references to reliable sources of information.


Faculty Member

Polina Smiragina-Ingelström, PhD

PhD (2021, The University of Sydney), focusing on the gendered perspective on victimhood in the trafficking of men. MSc (2012, Gothenburg University), BA (2009, Moscow State University). Postdoctoral fellow in Criminology (Stockholm University). Polina’s research interests are within the disciplines of criminology and medical anthropology with a special focus on victimhood, gender, post-trafficking needs, and help-seeking behavior. Before commencing her academic career Polina was a migrant counselor and reintegration assistant at the UN Migration (IOM) mission in Russia. She was engaged in providing direct assistance to migrants in distress including victims of human trafficking and exploitation; and assistance in voluntary return and reintegration.  With DIS since 2016.

Field Studies

Two field study trips are planned for this semester. The exact times and locations are available on Calendar and will be given in class.



Legal Instruments

The 1904 International Agreement for the Suppression of the White Slave Traffic (referred to as the ‘1904 Agreement’).

The 1910 International Convention for the Suppression of the White Slave Traffic (referred to as the ‘1910 International Convention’).

The International Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Women and Children (referred to as the ‘1921 Convention’).

The International Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Women of Full Age of 1933 (referred to as the ‘1933 Convention’).

The Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (referred to as the ‘1949 Convention’).

The 1979 Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (referred to as the ‘1979 Convention’).

The United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (referred to as the Palermo Protocol).

The Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Persons, which was adopted in 2005 (referred to as the Council of Europe Trafficking Convention).

The EU Directive 2011/36/EU (referred to as the EU Directive).

Andrijasevic, R. (2007). ‘Beautiful Dead Bodies: Gender, Migration and Representation in Anti-trafficking Campaigns’, Feminist Review, 86: 24–44.

Brunovskis, A., & Surtees, R. (2008). Agency or illness—The conceptualization of trafficking: Victims’ choices and behaviors in the assistance system. Gender, Technology and Development, 12(1), 53-76.

Christie, N. (1986). The ideal victim. In E.A. Fattah (Ed.), From Crime Policy to Victim Policy (pp. 17-30). London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Fohring, S. (2018a). Introduction to the special issue: Victim identities and hierarchies. International Review of Victimology, 24(2), 147-149.

Gallagher, A. T. (2015). Two cheers for the trafficking protocol. Anti-Trafficking Review, (4), 14-32.

Gallagher, A., & Skrivankova, K. (2015, November). Human rights and trafficking in persons. In the 15th Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights. Background Paper. ASEM.

Heber, A. (2018). The hunt for an elusive crime–an analysis of Swedish measures to combat sex trafficking. Journal of Scandinavian Studies in criminology and crime Prevention, 19(1), 3-21.

Holstein, J. A., & Miller, G. (1990). Rethinking victimization: An interactional approach to victimology. Symbolic Interaction, 13(1), 103-122.

Judge, A., Murphy, J., Hidalgo, J., & Macias-Konstantopoulos, W. (2018). Engaging Survivors of Human Trafficking: Complex Health Care Needs and Scarce Resources. Annals of Internal Medicine, 168(9), 658–663.

Miller, J. (2011). Beach boys or sexually exploited children? Competing narratives of sex tourism and their impact on young men in Sri Lanka’s informal tourist economy. Crime, law and social change, 56(5), 485-508.

O’Brien, E. (2013). Ideal victims in trafficking awareness campaigns. In K. Carrington, M. Ball, E. O’Brien & J.M. Tauri (Ed.), Crime, Justice and Social Democracy (pp. 315-326). Palgrave Macmillan, London.

O'Connell Davidson, J. (2007). Prostitution. The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology.

O'Connell Davidson, J. (2011). Moving children? Child trafficking, child migration, and child rights. Critical social policy, 31(3), 454-477.

Ollus, N. (2016). Forced flexibility and exploitation: experiences of migrant workers in the cleaning industry. Nordic journal of working life studies, 6(1), 25-45.

Oram, S., Abas, M., Bick, D., Boyle, A., French, R., Jakobowitz, S., ... & Zimmerman, C. (2016). Human trafficking and health: a survey of male and female survivors in
England. American journal of public health, 106(6), 1073-1078.

Piper, N., Segrave, M., & Napier-Moore, R. (2015). Editorial: What's in a name? Distinguishing forced labour, trafficking and slavery. Anti-trafficking Review, 5, 1-9.

Skilbrei, M.-L. (2012). Moving Beyond Assumptions? The Framing of Anti-Trafficking Efforts in Norway. In R. Aslaug Sollund (Ed.), Transnational Migration, Gender and Rights (Advances in Ecopolitics, Vol. 10, pp 211-227). Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley.

Snajdr, E. (2013). Beneath the master narrative: Human trafficking, myths of sexual slavery and ethnographic realities. Dialectical Anthropology, 37(2), 229-256.

Surtees R. (2008a). Trafficking of Men — A Trend Less Considered. The Case of Belarus and Ukraine. IOM Global Database Thematic Research Series. Geneva: IOM.

Surtees, R. (2008b). Trafficked Men as Unwilling Victims. St Antony’s International Review 4(1), 16-36.

Surtees, R. (2013). Trapped at Sea. Using the Legal and Regulatory Framework to Prevent and Combat the Trafficking of Seafarers and Fishers. Groningen Journal of International Law, 1(2).

Vijeyarasa, R. (2010). The Impossible Victim: Judicial Treatment of Trafficked Migrants and Their Unmet Expectations. Alternative Law Journal, 35(4), 217–222.

Weitzer, R. (2014). New directions in research on human trafficking. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 653(1), 6-24.

Wilson, M., & O’Brien, E. (2016). Constructing the ideal victim in the United States of America’s annual trafficking in persons reports. Crime, Law and Social Change, 65(1-2), 29– 45.


Evaluation and Grading

To be eligible for a passing grade in this course all of your assignments must be completed and submitted. Late submissions are accepted with a reduction of 2% of the mark per day late. Evaluation of your work during the course will be based on 5 principal components, with the following relative weight:




Class participation: attendance, CALQs, debate, field journals, preparation, media assignment, active participation in class (oral and written assignments)  


Mid-term quiz


Trafficking assignment


Final quiz




Class participation includes attendance, preparation, active participation in class, CALQ’s, class debates, field journals and the HT awareness campaigns. Your participation will be measured taking into account all of the above components.

CALQ: This is a short critical writing assignment of approximately 250 words. CALQ stands for Core Quote, Argument, Link and Question. You will be required to take 2 different sources looked at in class and provide a short critical evaluation. You can use the following types of sources: films (including short films available in the course slides), readings (including policy documents and speeches), field studies. You must use at least one academic reading

Your Core Quote is a quote from one source of your choosing. After providing the quote you will need to make your Argument. After that, you are required to use another source which you will link to the argument and finally, you will be required to ask a Question which derives from the argument you are trying to make. Your CALQs are to be uploaded on the discussion board (titled CALQ 1 or CALQ2) in the relevant module. 

  • Your CALQ should have a focus on human trafficking;
  • Make sure to have a strong argument and develop it. With your argument you need to develop a core claim; 
  • When you make a statement make sure you can refer to a source where this information came from or provide an analysis of how you came to this conclusion.

You will be asked to submit a total of 2 CALQs throughout the semester.

More details will be provided in class and on canvas.

Class debates: The topic of the class debate will be announced in class. The class will be divided into 2 teams and each team will defend an argument related to a specific human trafficking theme. You will be given time to prepare in class and will be allowed to use class materials as well as online sources.

Anti-trafficking campaign: You will develop your own anti-trafficking campaigns and present your ideas in class. Your campaigns will be graded and will form part of your participation grade. You will present your final campaigns at the 'End of Semester Showcase'.

More details will be provided in class and/or on canvas.


Trafficking assignment

You will be required to write an essay on human trafficking in a US state of your choice. Word limit: 2500 words (excluding references and bibliography)Font size 12, Times New Roman, 1,5 line and paragraph spacingAt least 3 sources need to be used in your essay from the course literature and 3 external sources. You should provide a critical analysis of the trafficking situation in your state: your argument needs to be supported by statistical data and facts from the literature that you will use for your essay, the facts must be referenced. 

You will be required to complete a research plan

You will need to do a 5-10 minute presentation of your project in a class of your choice (that fits your research topic). 

More details will be provided in class and/or on canvas.

Mid-term quiz

The mid-term quiz will be online and will comprise of 15 questions. The questions are different and include fill in the blanc question(s), multiple-choice and true/false. Note, in multiple answer questions 2 to all options may be correct. You will have one attempt at the quiz. You will have a time limit of 35 minutes for the entire quiz.

More details will be provided in class and/or on canvas.


Final quiz (TBA) 

More details will be provided in class and/or on canvas.


Academic Regulations  

Please make sure to read the Academic RegulationsLinks to an external site. on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on: 

 DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia - www.DISabroad.orgLinks to an external site.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due