Opportunities and obstacles to the integration of women who experience sexual exploitation in Europe


Completion of the EU-funded project „Intersectional Approach tot he Process of Integration in Europe for Survivors of Human Trafficking“ (INTAP)

How can female survivors of trafficking from Nigeria and China be supported by specialized NGOs and practitioners in the integration process in Europe? This question was the focus of the EU-funded project Herzwerk conducted in 2019/2020 with project partners from Germany and Italy. By incorporating a culturally sensitive, victim-centered, intersectional approach, the project aimed at overcoming obstacles to integration and finding durable solutions for the integration of Nigerian and Chinese third country nationals.

After a two-year research process, the project was concluded on October 13, 2020 with a final conference in Karlsruhe: Invited were about 100 experts and professionals such as specialized NGOs and the police from Germany and Europe. Among the speakers were the researchers themselves as well as a panel of national and international guests from the fields of police work, asylum law and social work who discussed various issues related to integration.

Due to the Corona measures, Caroline Sander, who was involved in the project as a researcher for Herzwerk, unfortunately could not travel to the conference. However, she presented the results of her research on the integration of Chinese survivors of trafficking via a live connection.

The key message was that Chinese survivors of trafficking face many stumbling blocks on their way to integration into the societies of European host countries – not only as third-country nationals who have difficulties in obtaining a legal residence status and enjoy only very limited access to the official labor market in Europe, but above all because of an enormous language barrier. Since they speak hardly any other language than Chinese and find it extremely difficult to learn a second language for various reasons, they are often trapped in, and highly dependent on, the local Chinese community.

Nevertheless, some good practices have been collected by specialized NGOs. These include offering language courses especially for Chinese women, providing translation and support in medical or residence law issues as a starting point for building a relationship of trust, and offering relationship-oriented activities to facilitate the integration process. The project as a whole also highlighted the importance of so-called “persons of trust” for both Chinese and Nigerian women who, as cultural mediators, build a “bridge” between survivors and society in general.

Those who would like to know more can view video recordings and photos of the conference via the following link: https://intap-europe.eu/conference

Researchreport in english:

Researchreport in French:

In addition, all published research results of the project are available on the project homepage in the form of two research reports and two manuals for practical work with the two groups concerned in different languages (EN, DE, FR): https://intap-europe.eu/materialien/?lang=en

Vienna, December 2020