Maastricht University Summer Course

‘Human Trafficking and Sexual Violence in Conflict

LocationMaastricht, The Netherlands
TypeSummer Course, full-time
Nominal duration1-week intensive, 2 ECTS (56 study hours)
Study languageEnglish
Course codeMSS0029
Tuition fee€600.00 per programme Convert
Entry qualificationEnrolled as an Undergraduate student or Undergraduate diploma
The entry qualification documents are accepted in the following languages: English. Often you can get a suitable transcript from your school. If this is not the case, you will need official translations along with verified copies of the original.

Language requirementsEnglish
B2, IELTS 6.5
Other requirementsA motivation letter must be added to your application.

All around the world, numerous men, women, boys and girls suffer the harsh consequences of human trafficking and sexual violence in conflict. Thousands of people are forced into sexual slavery during conflict-situations, and/or, when fleeing conflict, are forced by human traffickers into exploitative practices en route and in the country of destination. One only needs to watch the news about what is happening today in, for example, Syria, Central African Republic, South Sudan, and in the wake of the refugee crisis in Europe, to see that these practices are ever present. Both phenomena are crimes that affect the physical and psychological integrity of human beings, communities and societies at large. Although both human trafficking and sexual violence in conflict are at times looked upon separately, there are many similarities to be found. One can think of the sexual nature that can be found in both crimes, the taboos and stigmas surrounding both crimes, the difficulty in defining the crimes, the focus on law enforcement (prosecution) rather than on prevention, prosecutorial challenges (e.g. protection, secondary victimization, reliance on victims’ testimonies), lack of comprehensibly understanding victims’ rights and needs, misconceptions about perpetrators and victims, and the fluidity of victim- and perpetrator roles, the consequences of both crimes (e.g. trauma, children born as a result), the causes and purposes of the crimes, to name a few. The UN Secretary General in its report on conflict-related sexual violence of 15 April 2017 for the first time reported about the link between conflict-related violence and trafficking in persons. It was held that the term conflict-related sexual violence also encompasses trafficking in persons when committed in situations of conflict for the purpose of sexual violence/exploitation. In Resolution 2331 (2016) of 20 December 2016 of the UN Security Council was, moreover, the nexus between human trafficking, sexual violence, terrorism and transnational organized crime for the first time addressed. With this resolution sexual violence as a tactic of terrorism was officially acknowledged. In looking at both human trafficking and sexual violence in conflict – both in their own right and together – a contribution is made to better understand the opportunities and challenges involved and to find ways forward in addressing these timely crimes. 

This course will be taught by Dr. Eefje de Volder and Dr. Anne-Marie de Brouwer of IMPACT: Center against Human Trafficking and Sexual Violence in Conflict’. For more background information of the lecturers, see:

At the end of this course, participants will be able to:
• identify and describe the phenomena of human trafficking and sexual violence in conflict; 
• identify, analyse and critically assess the differences and overlap between the crimes of human trafficking and sexual violence in conflict;
• identify, analyse and critically assess the opportunities, challenges and ways forward in addressing human trafficking and sexual violence in conflict through legal and non-legal mechanisms, including from a victim’s perspective.

Instruction language

Applicants must be BA or MA students (from any discipline) who have, at a minimum, a profound interest in the phenomena of human trafficking and sexual violence in conflict and have proficient knowledge of English. Further, applicants are expected to participate actively throughout the course.

Course overview
The course overview, including the required reading, will be digitally provided prior to the start of the course and a hardcopy version will be given to students at the first day of the summer course. For a selection of the literature, see here under ‘recommended literature’.

Teaching and assessment methods and registration
For more information about the teaching and assessment methods, application and registration, visit Maastricht University Summer School website.

Terms and conditions and privacy statement
Maastricht University Summer School terms and conditions.
Maastricht University general privacy statement.
IMPACT’s terms and conditions and privacy statement.

Lia Kleuskens

“This summer school was an inspirational and eye-opening course that I very much enjoyed. Taught by two teachers who are very passionate about their discipline.”

Officially accredited educational institute