APSB21763U Elective course - Human Trafficking in the Modern World

Volume 2024/2025

Full-degree students enrolled at the Faculty of Social Science, UCPH 

- Bachelor and Master Programmes in Political Science

- Master Programme in Social Science


Bacheloruddannelsen i Psykologi 2021 – studieordningen




This course provides an interdisciplinary examination of human trafficking, exploring its nature, impact, and responses from various angles. Through a combination of readings, discussions, and research, students will critically analyze the complexities of human trafficking, including its forms, anti-trafficking advocacy, challenges in research and evidence, psychological effects on victims, funding mechanisms, and public perceptions.

Drawing on seminal texts, recent research articles, and recommended readings, students will gain insight into the global phenomenon of human trafficking and its implications for policy, advocacy, and social justice.

Throughout the course, students will explore pertinent psychological phenomena, including trauma bonding, learned helplessness, dissociation, complex post-traumatic stress disorder, cognitive dissonance, survivor's guilt, and post-traumatic growth, which significantly influence victims' experiences and recovery processes. Through this comprehensive examination, students will develop a deeper understanding of human trafficking and its impact on individuals and societies.

Learning Outcome


  • Understanding modern manifestations of human trafficking, encompassing labor exploitation, forced prostitution, coerced marriages, child labor, organ trafficking, and the exploitation of vulnerable groups such as immigrants and refugees.
  • Familiarity with the ethical and psychological dimensions of human trafficking, including trauma bonding, learned helplessness, dissociation, complex post-traumatic stress disorder, cognitive dissonance, and survivor's guilt, and their influence on victims' experiences and recovery processes.



  • Critical thinking skills, enabling the development of practical projects aimed at combating human trafficking.
  • Research skills, necessary for identifying effective strategies and approaches to address human trafficking.
  • Communication skills, facilitating the presentation and discussion of project ideas with clarity and persuasiveness.



  • Ability to conceptualize, plan, and execute practical projects targeting human trafficking, considering its various forms and impacts.
  • Integrating psychological insights into project design to address the needs of trafficking survivors and vulnerable populations.
  • Identifying and navigating practical, ethical, and logistical challenges inherent in anti-trafficking efforts.
  • Presenting and discussing project proposals effectively, highlighting their potential impact and feasibility.
  • Advocating for and contributing to anti-trafficking efforts through the development and implementation of practical initiatives.

BA-students will have 600 pages of compulsory literature with the possibility of including self-selected literature if they wish to.

MA-students will have 600 pages of compulsory literature and is expected to find 200 pages of self-selected literature in addition.


Main readings:

Required Books:

  1. Shelley, Louise. "Human trafficking." A global perspective(2010).
  2. Burke, Mary (ed). “Human Traffficking: Interdisciplinary perspectives” (2010).
  3. Limoncelli, Stephanie A. The politics of trafficking: The first international movement to combat the sexual exploitation of women. Stanford University Press, 2010.


Recommended Articles:

Weitzer, Ronald. "New directions in research on human trafficking." The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 653.1 (2014): 6-24.

Gozdziak, Elzbieta M., and Elizabeth A. Collett. "Research on human trafficking in North America: A review of literature." International Migration 43.1‐2 (2005): 99-128.

Wheaton, Elizabeth M., Edward J. Schauer, and Thomas V. Galli. "Economics of human trafficking." International migration 48.4 (2010): 114-141.

Gallagher, Anne T. The international law of human trafficking. Cambridge University Press, 2010.


An up-to-date syllabus list will be available in the course room on Absalon just before the start of the semester.

Seminar classes with active participation from the students

SUMMER COURSE WEEKS 33 & 34; 10 am to 4 pm Mon, Wed, Fri

Autumn course: Week 42 Monday to Friday 9-15
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 30
  • Total
  • 30
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Type of assessment details
Set assignment with options

• Each student will participate in written examination covering the course material. The examination will assess understanding of key concepts and ability to apply them in practical scenarios.
• The written exam comprises two equal parts. In the first part, students have to answer a set of questions based on the assigned readings in the course. The second part will be a written op-ed on their choice related to the course material.

BA students can write a max of 8 standard pages.
MA students can write a max of 12 standard pages.
Exam registration requirements

PREREQUISITES FOR SITTING THE EXAM: For all elective courses, the attendance requirement is 75%. However, the course is based on full participation.

Active participation throughout the course will consist of:

1) Class discussion: demonstrates accurate reading and understanding of assigned articles;

2) Group work and small-scale workshops: active students’ contributions to the construal of classes and the transposition of theoretical material to real-life cases;

3) Oral presentation: students will take part in a group debate, where two groups (2-3 students approx.) will present and defend opposite positions/frameworks related to class material. Some materials will be provided for guidance, but both groups are expected to conduct a thorough literature review of both their own and the opposite position.

4) Multiple Choice Quizzes: As part of the active participation, students will complete multiple-choice quizzes throughout the semester to test comprehension of assigned readings and lecture materials.

All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

Same as above

Criteria for exam assesment

Criteria for exam assessment:


Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings

Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings

Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner