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South America

Migration As Protest? Negotiating Gender, Class, and Ethnicity in Urban Bolivia


Bastia, Tanja. 2011. “Migration As Protest? Negotiating Gender, Class, and Ethnicity in Urban Bolivia.” Environment and Planning A 43 (7): 1514-1529.

Author: Tanja Bastia


Feminist geographies of migration are often based on the assumption that migration brings about social change, potentially disrupting patriarchal structures and bringing about new spaces where gender relations can be renegotiated and reconfigured. On the basis of multisited research conducted with migrants from the same community of origin in Bolivia, I analyse how gender, class, and ethnicity are renegotiated through internal and cross-border migration. A transnational, multiscalar, multisited, and intersectional approach is applied to the study of social change through migration, with the aim of investigating whether labour migration provides avenues for greater gender equality. At the individual level there are certainly indications that women achieve greater independence through migration. However, the multiscalar and intersectional analysis suggests that women trade ‘gender gains’ for upward social mobility in the class hierarchy. By doing so, they also contribute to the reproduction of patriarchal social relations.

Keywords: feminist, internal migration, labor migration, social mobility

Topics: Class, Displacement & Migration, Migration, Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Gender Analysis, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Hierarchies, Gender Equality/Inequality, Livelihoods Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Bolivia

Year: 2011

False Dichotomies of Transitional Justice: Gender, Conflict, and Combatants in Colombia


Tabak, Shana. 2011. “False Dichotomies of Transitional Justice: Gender, Conflict, and Combatants in Colombia.” International Law and Politics 44: 103-63.

Author: Shana Tabak

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Gendered Discourses, Justice, Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2011

Global Water and Gender Policies: Latin American Challenges


Dávila-Poblete, Sonia and María Nieves Rico. 2005. “Global Water and Gender Policies: Latin American Challenges.” In Opposing Currents: The Politics of Water and Gender in Latin America, edited by Vivienne Bennett, Sonia Dávila-Poblete, and María Nieves Rico, 30-49. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press.

Authors: Sonia Dávila-Poblete, María Nieves Rico

Topics: Development, Gender, Globalization, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation Regions: Americas, Central America, South America

Year: 2005

Gender Dimensions of Neoliberal Water Policies in Mexico and Bolivia: Empowering or Disempowering?


Ahlers, Rhodante. 2005. “Gender Dimensions of Neoliberal Water Policies in Mexico and Bolivia: Empowering or Disempowering?” In Opposing Currents: The Politics of Water and Gender in Latin America, edited by Vivienne Bennett, Sonia Dávila-Poblete, and María Nieves Rico, 53-71. Pittsburgh, PA: University of  Pittsburgh Press.

Author: Rhodante Ahlers


Increased industrial and domestic demand for water, waning supplies of fresh water, in conjunction with global economic liberalization trends have prompted international development bodies to shift towards defining water as a commodity rather than a basic human right. Ahlers uses cases from Mexico and Bolivia to illustrate how increased privatization and use of market mechanisms perpetuates and legitimizes institutional and social barriers women face in formal and informal access to water. The “one-size-fits-all” approach to privatization currently favored by transnational neoliberal institutions solidifies and exacerbates existing gender inequalities and ignores culture-specific values of water.


“An emphasis on individual and formal rights for women disregards the complexities of local definitions and practices of rights not reflected in state law or recognized by state institutions, with serious consequences for those social groups dependent on the primary titleholder.” (60)

“As multiple values of water are attributed simultaneously, reducing water to a mere economic, monetary value is alienating. Water users move in a constellation of multiple and intersecting inequalities that both limit their scope of choice or force them into making certain choices. Their choices are not solely informed by cost benefit analyses but also by empathy, solidarity, and collective action.” (60)

“Where before the collective served as a buffer, now the individual has to solve her or his problems without community support. Women in marginalised households who do have titles need to sell their land and/or water for a pittance to sustain their families. Those women without titles are cut off from the informal avenues of access to land and water altogether. Formalizing water rights, therefore, could very well discriminate against women’s access to property rights, rendering obsolete their investments in labor, knowledge, and networking. Furthermore, the buyers in this water market are all male, which raises the concern that not only do market mechanisms reproduce gender inequities, they exacerbate them.” (65)

“As the debate over water privatization continued, male and female farmers began to withdraw from dealing with the state, insisting on the protection of their local usos y costumbres … the increasing alienation from the state is taking water users to a traditionalist refuge, one that could well conceal and reproduce gender inequalities.” (68)

Topics: Civil Society, Development, Economies, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity, Globalization, Rights, Human Rights, Property Rights Regions: Americas, North America, South America Countries: Bolivia, Mexico

Year: 2005

Extractive Desires: The Moral Control of Female Sexuality at Colombia’s Gold Mining Frontier: Moral Control of Female Sexuality


Cohen, Roseann. 2014. “Extractive Desires: The Moral Control of Female Sexuality at Colombia’s Gold Mining Frontier: Moral Control of Female Sexuality.” The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 19 (2): 260–79. doi:10.1111/jlca.12098.

Author: Roseann Cohen



During the 1990s, Amparo [an artisanal gold miner] mined along the heavily dissected terraces and floodplains of the Nechí River basin in Northeastern Antioquia and in the foothills of the San Lucas mountain range along the departmental border with Bolívar.

In this essay, I rely on Amparo’s narrative to examine the relationship between extractive accumulation and the moral control of female sexuality at a Colombian gold-mining frontier. Her narrative offers a commentary about life and work at the frontier as experienced by a nonwhite single mother at male-dominated mining camps. Amparo describes how she negotiates access to mines and maintains control over the products of her labor, albeit with limited success. In particular, Amparo’s participation in the gold-mining economy demonstrates how familiar scripts of gendered virtue (i.e., “proper” wife, single mother) and the contrary figure of the sexual deviant (i.e., loose woman, sex worker) play a role in the subject formation of artisanal miners and the ongoing dispossession this labor force experiences. I argue that the state’s emphasis on moral deviance among artisanal miners displaces extractive desires onto the bodies of laboring women, creating a resource-rich frontier where the moral control of female sexuality shapes pathways of dispossession and accumulation.

(Cohen, 2014, p. 260).

Topics: Economies, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Livelihoods, Sexuality Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2014

Opposing Currents: The Politics of Water and Gender in Latin America


Bennett, Vivienne, Sonia Dávila-Poblete, and María Nieves Rico. 2005. Opposing Currents: The Politics of Water and Gender in Latin America. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.

Authors: Vivienne Bennett, Sonia Dávila-Poblete, María Nieves Rico


In every part of the world, looming or full-blown water crises threaten communities from the largest cities to the smallest rural towns. Over the past two decades, there has been increased attention at the global level to the devastating effects of water shortages and pollution, and policies and principles for implementing the sustainable management of water resources have proliferated. But scholars and activists are beginning to understand that top-down environmental policies are doomed to fail if they do not address local cultures and customary uses. As the contributors to Opposing Currents illustrate, that failure is most evident in the inability to recognize that women not only should become central to water management at the local level, but that, in fact, they already are. This volume focuses on women in Latin America as stakeholders in water resources management. It makes their contributions to grassroots efforts more visible, explains why doing so is essential for effective public policy and planning in the water sector, and provides guidelines for future planning and project implementation. After an in-depth review of gender and water management policies and issues in relation to domestic usage, irrigation, and sustainable development, the book provides a series of case studies prepared by an interdisciplinary group of scholars and activists. Covering countries throughout the hemisphere, and moving freely from impoverished neighborhoods to the conference rooms of international agencies, the book explores the various ways in which women are-and are not-involved in local water initiatives across Latin America. Insightful analyses reveal what these case studies imply for the success or failure of various regional efforts to improve water accessibility and usability, and suggest new ways of thinking about gender and the environment in the context of specific policies and practices. (University of Pittsburgh Press)

Topics: Environment, Gender, Women, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation Regions: Americas, Caribbean countries, Central America, North America, South America

Year: 2005

How Conflict and Displacement Fuel Human Trafficking and Abuse of Vulnerable Groups. The Case of Colombia and Opportunities for Real Action and Innovative Solutions


Nagle, Luz Estella. 2013. “How Conflict and Displacement Fuel Human Trafficking and Abuse of Vulnerable Groups. The Case of Colombia and Opportunities for Real Action and Innovative Solutions.” Groningen Journal of International Law 1 (2): 1-53.

Author: Luz Estella Nagle


Disaffected, impoverished, and displaced people in weak and failing states are particularly vulnerable. Human trafficking exploits social and political turmoil caused by natural disasters, economic crisis, and armed conflict. The exploitation and forced servitude of millions of trafficking victims take many forms. Women and children are trafficked into becoming child soldiers and concubines of illegal armed groups, men, women and children are trafficked into forced labor and sexual slavery, forced to sell drugs, steal, and beg money for the criminals controlling them, and thousands are coerced or forced into a growing black market trade in human body parts. The growth in illegal mining operations by illegal armed groups and organized crime is also fueling conditions for forced labor. Trafficking victims are dehumanized and suffer grave physical and mental illness and often die at the hands of their captors and exploiters. Colombia is particularly afflicted by the scourge of human trafficking. All the elements of modern-day slavery and human exploitation are present in this Latin American state that is struggling to overcome decades of internal armed conflict, social fragmentation, poverty, and the constant debilitating presence of organized crime and corruption. Women’s Link Worldwide recently reported that human trafficking is not viewed as an internal problem among Colombian officials, despite estimates that more than 70,000 people are trafficked within Colombia each year. This article examines human trafficking in its many forms in Colombia, the parties involved in trafficking, and the State’s response or lack of response to human trafficking. The article also presents innovations that might be effective for combating human trafficking, and proposes that Colombia can serve as an effective model for other countries to address this growing domestic and international human rights catastrophe.

Keywords: Colombia, human trafficking, trafficking of women and children



“Of the estimated 70,000 Colombian women and children who fall prey to human trafficking each year, many enter one of about 560 trafficking pipelines within Colombia, and about 254 of trafficking pipelines out of Colombia into Ecuador and Venezuela, and into Europe (Spain, Germany and Holland), Asia (China, Japan, and Singapore), North America and Central America, and the Middle East (particularly Jordan and Iran).” (26)

“Coincidentally, [the county/district] Sucumbios encompasses most of the 30 crossing points for weapons smuggling, drug trafficking and human trafficking, and establishes the link between the products trafficked and the routes used to transport different types of illicit goods and trafficking victims.” (28)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Corruption, Displacement & Migration, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Women, Girls, Boys, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence, Sexual Slavery, Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2013



Hepburn, Stephanie, and Rita J. Simon. 2013. HUMAN TRAFFICKING AROUND THE WORLD: HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT. New York: Columbia University Press.

Authors: Stephanie Hepburn, Rita J. Simon


An examination of human trafficking around the world including the following countries: United States, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Colombia, Iraq, Syria, Canada, Italy, France, Iran, India, Niger, China, South Africa, Australia, United Kingdom, Chile, Germany, Poland, Mexico, Russia, and Brazil. (WorldCat)


Table of Contents:


Part I: Work Visa Loopholes for Traffickers
1) United States
2) Japan
3) United Arab Emirates

Part II: Stateless Persons
4) Thailand
5) Israel & The Occupied Palestinian Territories

Part III: Unrest, displacement, and Who is in charge
6) Colombia
7) Iraq
8) Syria

Part IV: Conflation
9) Canada

Part V: Conflicting Agendas
10) Italy
11) France

Part VI: Gender Apartheid
12) Iran

Part VII: Social Hierarchy
13) India
14) Niger
15) China

Part VIII: Muti Murder
16) South Africa

Part IX: Hard-to-Prove Criterion and a slap on the wrist
17) Australia
18) United Kingdom
19) Chile
20) Germany

Part X: Transparent borders
21) Poland

Part XI: Fear Factor
22) Mexico

Part XII: Poverty and Economic Boom
23) Russia
24) Brazil


*Each Chapter follows the following format with some variations:

As a destination
Internal trafficking
Trafficking abroad
What happens to victims after trafficking
What happens to traffickers
Internal efforts to decrease trafficking



"Devestation from a natural disaster...creates a sudden high demand for low-wage and largely unskilled labor. Disruption of the traditional labor supply leaves room for illicit contractors to move in, and new workers can be brought in unnoticed." (19)

"There continue to be more criminal convictions of sex traffickers than of forced-labor traffickers [However, this number of individuals victimized by forced labor may be increasing]." (32)

"Many experts state that the yakuza (organized crime) networks play a significant role in the smuggling and subsequent debt bondage of women--particularly women from China, Thailand, and Colombia--for forced prostitution in Japan. Determining the exact extent of yakuza involvement is difficult because of the covert nature of the sex industry. Consequently, the yakuza are able to minimize people's direct knowledge of their involvement...The yakuza networks work with organized crime groups from other nations, such as China, Russia, and Colombia." (49-50)

Topics: Economies, Gender, Women, Men, Girls, Boys, International Law, International Human Rights, Multi-national Corporations, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Sexual Slavery, Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Labor Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: Africa, West Africa, Americas, Central America, North America, South America, Asia, East Asia, Middle East, Southeast Asia, Europe, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Oceania Countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Niger, Palestine / Occupied Palestinian Territories, Poland, Russian Federation, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America

Year: 2013

Recognizing the Feminization of Displacement: a Proposal for a Gender-focused Approach to Local Integration in Ecuador


Gusman, Johanna L. 2013. “Recognizing the Feminization of Displacement: a Proposal for a Gender-focused Approach to Local Integration in Ecuador." Pacific Rim Law & Policy Journal 22 (2): 429–67.

Author: Johanna L. Gusman


The feminization of displacement refers to the phenomenon in which women represent an increasingly disproportionate percentage of displaced populations worldwide. The objective of this comment is to raise awareness of this growing problem and recommend that policymakers craft legal responses to better address this reality, using Ecuador as an example. Specifically, this comment outlines how a gender-focused approach to local integration in Ecuador can rectify a refugee policy that never once mentions gender and is silent on the most pressing issues facing refugee women and girls in the area: sexual and gender-based violence. Through the proposal put forth in this comment, it is hoped that increased attention to the feminization of displacement and the plight of women in general can be recognized and as a result, properly incorporated into the refugee policies that affect them.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Women, Girls, Gender-Based Violence, Sexual Violence, SV against women Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Ecuador

Year: 2013

Reconstructing Masculinities: The Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration of Former Combatants in Colombia


Theidon, Kimberly. 2009. "Reconstructing Masculinities: The Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration of Former Combatants in Colombia." Human Rights Quarterly 31 (1): 1-34.

Author: Kimberly Theidon


A key component of peace processes and post-conflict reconstruction is the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) of ex-combatants. I argue that DDR programs imply multiple transitions: from the combatants who lay down their weapons, to the governments that seek an end to armed conflict, to the communities that receive—or reject—these demobilized fighters. At each level, these transitions imply a complex equation between the demands of peace and the clamor for justice. However, traditional approaches to DDR have focused on military and security objectives, which have resulted in these programs being developed in relative isolation from the field of transitional justice and its concerns with historical clarification, justice, reparations, and reconciliation. Drawing upon my research with former combatants in Colombia, I argue that successful reintegration not only requires fusing the processes and goals of DDR programs with transitional justice measures, but that both DDR and transitional justice require a gendered analysis that includes an examination of the salient links between weapons, masculinities, and violence. Constructing certain forms of masculinity is not incidental to militarism: rather, it is essential to its maintenance. What might it mean to “add gender” to DDR and transitional justice processes if one defined gender to include men and masculinities, thus making these forms of identity visible and a focus of research and intervention? I explore how one might “add gender” to the DDR program in Colombia as one step toward successful reintegration, peace-building, and sustainable social change.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, DDR, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Justice, Transitional Justice, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Peacebuilding, Peace Processes, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Security, Violence, Weapons /Arms Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2009


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