Women Smuggling and the Men who Help Them: Gender, Corruption and Illicit Networks in Senegal

Citation:

Howson, Cynthia. 2012. “Women Smuggling and the Men who Help Them: Gender, Corruption and Illicit Networks in Senegal.” Journal of Modern African Studies 50 (3): 421-45.

Author: Cynthia Howson

Abstract:

This paper investigates gendered patterns of corruption and access to illicit networks among female cross-border traders near the Senegambian border. Despite a discourse of generosity and solidarity, access to corrupt networks is mediated by class and gender, furthering social differentiation, especially insofar as it depends on geographic and socio-economic affinity with customs officers, state representatives and well-connected transporters. Issues of organisational culture, occupational identity and interpersonal negotiations of power represent important sources of corruption that require an understanding of the actual dynamics of public administration. While smuggling depends on contesting legal and social boundaries, the most successful traders (and transporters) strive to fulfil ideal gender roles as closely as possible. Ironically, trading on poverty and feminine vulnerability only works for relatively affluent women.

Topics: Corruption, Economies, Informal Economies, Poverty, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Femininity/ies, Trafficking, Human Trafficking Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Senegal

Year: 2012

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