Forced Migration

"Shades of Grey": Spaces In and Beyond Trafficking for Thai Women Involved in Commercial Sexual Labour in Sydney and Singapore


Yea, Sallie. 2012. “‘Shades of Grey’: Spaces In and Beyond Trafficking for Thai Women Involved in Commercial Sexual Labour in Sydney and Singapore.” Gender, Place & Culture 19 (1): 42–60. doi:10.1080/0966369X.2011.617906.

Author: Sallie Yea


In this article I explore the migration trajectories of some Thai women trafficked internationally for commercial sexual exploitation, suggesting that many figuratively ‘cross the border’ between coerced and consensual existence in volatile migrant sex industries during the course of their migration experiences, thus complicating debates around the notion of choice in ‘sex’ trafficking. In exploring these women's transitions I seek to understand why women who had either never previously been sex workers or who were sex workers operating without duress, but who were then trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation remain in, or re-enter volatile forms of migrant sex work at a later point under voluntary arrangements. In answering this question I focus on the temporal and spatial aspects of individual women's experiences in migrant sex industries drawing in detail on the narratives of two Thai women trafficked to Sydney, Australia and Singapore. I make some suggestions about methodologies used in trafficking research that can assist in bringing to light some of these complex time–space dimensions of women's experiences through their shifting positions in commercial sexual labour. The article also reflects on the implications of these women's trajectories for the ‘prostitution debate’ as it relates to trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation by suggesting that many trafficked women occupy ambiguous or in-between positions in migrant sex industries, neither easily distinguishable by the label of victim of trafficking or migrant sex worker.

Keywords: sex trafficking, commercial sexual labour, methodologies, migration trajectories, Thailand

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Forced Migration, Gender, Women, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods, Political Economies, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Sexual Slavery, Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Thailand

Year: 2012

Gender and Feminist Geographies in the Middle East


Fenster, Tovi, and Hanaa Hamdan-Saliba. 2013. “Gender and Feminist Geographies in the Middle East.” Gender, Place & Culture 20 (4): 528–46. doi:10.1080/0966369X.2012.709826.

Authors: Tovi Fenster, Hanaa Hamdan-Saliba


This article aimed to review the research carried out in the Middle East primarily on gender and feminist geography and also on place formation, urban space, movement and mobility in the social and political sciences. This aim turned out to be challenging primarily because of the colonial and post-colonial history of the region that continues to have a profound effect on the development of academic knowledge among Middle Eastern scholars as well as a restricted accessibility to material published inside the Middle East. Despite this, the article primarily focuses on feminist research on Middle Eastern women done by Middle Eastern scholars and published in Middle Eastern journals and books primarily in Arabic (and Hebrew in Israel). However, during the process of reviewing a large variety of articles, book chapters and books that exist on Middle Eastern women, we realized that it is sometimes difficult and rather artificial to review the material with only this division in mind. In the end, we reviewed the literature on gender and feminism in the Middle East mainly highlighting local published research and also briefly referring to research published in the West by both Westerners and local researchers. The article begins with presenting its research methodology. It then analyzes the website and literature review that we carried out on the contexts, frameworks and themes of gender and feminist geography and spatial research in the Middle East with particular attention on the research carried out in Israel/Palestine. We focus on the private–public spheres; migration and diaspora and the veil as key concepts in analyzing the literature in this section. In the last section, we explain the reasons for the limitations on gender and feminist research in geography inside the Middle East and mention some general conclusions.

Keywords: gender, feminism, middle east, veil, private-public spheres, migration-diaspora

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Displacement & Migration, Migration, Forced Migration, Refugees, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Terrorism Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East

Year: 2013

Refugee Women: Beyond Gender versus Culture


Bassel, Leah. 2012. Refugee Women: Beyond Gender versus Culture. London: Routledge.

Author: Leah Bassel


Debates over the headscarf and niqab, so-called ‘sharia-tribunals’, Female Genital Operations and forced marriages have raged in Europe and North America in recent years, raising the question – does accommodating Islam violate women’s rights? The book takes issue with the terms of this debate. It contrasts debates in France over the headscarf and in Canada over religious arbitration with the lived experience of a specific group of Muslim women: Somali refugee women. The challenges these women eloquently describe first-hand demonstrate that the fray over accommodating culture and religion neglects other needs and engenders a democratic deficit.
In Refugee Women: Beyond Gender versus Culture, new theoretical perspectives recast both the story told and who tells the tale. By focusing on the politics underlying how these debates are framed and the experiences of women at the heart of these controversies, women are considered first and foremost as democratic agents rather than actors in the ‘culture versus gender’ script. Crucially, the institutions and processes created to address women’s needs are critically assessed from this perspective.
Breaking from scholarship that focuses on whether the accommodation of culture and religion harms women, Bassel argues that this debate ignores the realities of the women at its heart. In these debates, Muslim women are constructed as silent victims. Bassel pleads compellingly for a consideration of women in all their complexity, as active participants in democratic life. The book will appeal to students and scholars throughout the social sciences, particularly of sociology, political science and women’s studies.

Topics: Citizenship, Civil Society, Displacement & Migration, Migration, Forced Migration, Refugees, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Political Participation, Religion, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Americas, North America, Europe

Year: 2012

Married to the ANC: Tanzanian Women's Entanglement in South Africa's Liberation Struggle


Lissoni, Arianna, and Maria Suriano. 2014. “Married to the ANC: Tanzanian Women’s Entanglement in South Africa’s Liberation Struggle.” Journal of Southern African Studies 40 (1): 129–50. doi:10.1080/03057070.2014.886476.

Authors: Arianna Lissoni, Maria Suriano


The end of apartheid has opened up new research possibilities into the history of the African National Congress (ANC). Yet the scholarship on the ANC's armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), remains largely restricted to questions of strategic, political and military effectiveness. The transnational character of the anti-apartheid struggle is mostly absent from nationalist historiographies, while little is known about the daily lives of those who made up the ranks of MK, their interactions with host communities, and the implications of having a large, predominantly male army – with their feelings, longings and frustrations – stationed outside South Africa's borders for three decades. Morogoro, a small upcountry town in Tanzania, was one of the key sites where relations between South African exiles and Tanzanians were forged. In the early years of exile, relationships between ANC/MK cadres and Tanzanian women were not officially sanctioned by the movement, but from the late 1970s they were increasingly formalised through marriage. In this way, the lives of many Tanzanian women became entangled with the South African liberation struggle. Relationships and marriages between South African exiles and Tanzanian women were not only a significant aspect of everyday life in exile, but also key components of an ANC familyhood, linked in turn to expressions of masculinity in MK and to the making of a national community and imaginary. This article seeks to illustrate the complex implications and present repercussions of these marriages and relationships by tracing the lives of seven Tanzanian women, which reveal a multiplicity of personal and emotional entanglements that are obscured by a narrow focus on military and strategic objectives.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Forced Migration, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies Regions: Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa, Tanzania

Year: 2014

Gender, Globalization, and Violence: Postcolonial Conflict Zones


Ponzanesi, Sandra. 2014. Gender, Globalization, and Violence: Postcolonial Conflict Zones. Abingdon: Routledge.


Author: Sandra Ponzanesi


"This wide-ranging collection of essays elaborates on some of the most pressing issues in contemporary postcolonial society in their transition from conflict and contestation to dialogue and resolution. It explores from new angles questions of violent conflict, forced migration, trafficking and deportation, human rights, citizenship, transitional justice and cosmopolitanism. The volume focuses more specifically on the gendering of violence from a postcolonial perspective as it analyses unique cases that disrupt traditional visions of violence by including the history of empire and colony, and its legacies that continue to influence present-day configurations of gender, race, nationality, class and sexuality. Part One maps out the gendered and racialized contours of conflict zones, from war zones, prisons and refugee camps to peacekeeping missions and humanitarian aid, reframing the field and establishing connections between colonial legacies and postcolonial dynamics. Part Two explores how these conflict zones are played out not just outside but also within Europe, demonstrating that multicultural Europe is fraught with different legacies of violence and postcolonial melancholia. Part Three gives an idea of the kind of future that can be offered to post-conflict societies, defined as contact zones, by exploring opportunities for dialogue, restoration and reconciliation that can be envisaged from a gendered and postcolonial perspective through alternative feminist practices and the work of art and their redemptive power in mobilizing social change or increasing national healing processes. Though strongly anchored in postcolonial critique, the chapters draw from a range of traditions and expertise, including conflict studies, gender theory, visual studies, (new) media theory, sociology, race theory, international security studies and religion studies." (Summary from WorldCat)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Citizenship, Class, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Displacement & Migration, Forced Migration, Refugee/IDP Camps, Gender, Globalization, Humanitarian Assistance, Justice, Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Race, Peacekeeping, Religion, Sexuality, Trafficking, Violence Regions: Europe

Year: 2014

Gendering the International Asylum and Refugee Debate


Freedman, Jane. 2007. Gendering the International Asylum and Refugee Debate. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK.


Author: Jane Freedman


This study provides a comprehensive account of the situation of women refugees globally and explains how they differ from men. It looks at causes of refugee flows, international laws and conventions and their application, the policies and legislation of Western governments, and lived experiences of the refugees themselves.
(Palgrave Macmillan)

Keywords: political science, gender studies, political sociology, develpoment studies, migration, political economy

Topics: Development, Forced Migration, IDPs, Refugees, Economies, Gender, Women, Gender Analysis, International Law

Year: 2007

War and Gender Performance


Stephan, Rita. 2014. “War and Gender Performance.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 16 (2): 297–316. doi:10.1080/14616742.2013.849969.

Author: Rita Stephan


The 2006 war in Lebanon that erupted between Hezbollah and Israel marked the largest evacuation of Americans abroad since World War II. This article captures the experiences of Lebanese-American women and investigates how gender identity was expressed during these evacuations. Presented from the point of view of a participant-observer and personal interviews, findings show that gender became a master identity that influenced these women's choices regarding how to escape the country and return to the United States. Some embraced dependency upon masculinist exercises of power while others claimed agency as they determined their own fate and carried out their own evacuation without waiting to be rescued by the state or male kin members. The evacuation stories in this article confirm and illuminate the complexity of ethnic citizenship and gendered agency.

Keywords: Lebanon, 2006 Lebanon Israeli war, women's agency, evacuation, gender identity, women and children, feminine vulnerability, patriarchy and militarism, kinship, gender performance

Topics: Citizenship, Displacement & Migration, Forced Migration, Refugees, Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Girls, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Post-Conflict Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Lebanon

Year: 2014

Motherhood and Social Repair after War and Displacement in Northern Uganda


Baines, Erin, and Lara Rosenoff Gauvin. 2014. "Motherhood and Social Repair after War and Displacement in Northern Uganda." Journal of Refugee Studies 27 (2): 282-300.

Authors: Erin Baines, Lara Rosenoff Gauvin


The article is concerned with the relationship between the processes of return after mass displacement, and social repair. If mass displacement frays the social fabric of the family and community, possibilities of re-crafting a viable sociality are also found within these intimate relations. Thus, we look to the everyday as a space of negotiation and renegotiation of social relationships that make life meaningful. The article considers these propositions in the context of the forced displacement of up to 90 per cent of the Acholi population during the height of the war in northern Uganda between 1986 and 2008, and in the processes of mass return of displaced persons after the war. It takes as a point of departure the efforts of two sisters as they struggle to overcome their displacement from family networks, and seek to restore their status through the performance of Acholi notions of motherhood. Their efforts are collectivized by working with other female heads of households to trace paternal clans, and secure a future for their children. The concept of social repair, we suggest, illuminates the way return involves the day-to-day processual negotiation of relationships. [Oxford University Press]

Topics: Armed Conflict, Forced Migration, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Households Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2014

Between "Victims" and "Criminals": Rescue, Deportation, and Everyday Violence Among Nigerian Migrants


Plambech, Sine. 2014. “Between ‘Victims’ and ‘Criminals’: Rescue, Deportation, and Everyday Violence Among Nigerian Migrants.” Social Politics 21 (3): 382–402. doi:10.1093/sp/jxu021.

Author: Sine Plambech


This article is about the lives of Nigerian sex workers after deportation from Europe, as well as the institutions that intervene in their migration trajectories. In Europe, some of these women's situations fit the legal definitions of trafficking, and they were categorized as "victims of human trafficking"; others were categorized as undocumented migrants -- "criminals" guilty of violating immigration laws. Despite the growing political attention devoted to protecting victims of trafficking, I argue that in areas of Nigeria prone to economic insecurity and gender-based violence, the categories of "victim" and "criminal" collapse into, and begin to resemble, one another once on the ground. The need to identify and distinguish groups of migrants from one another illustrates the dilemmas that have arisen in the wake of increasingly restrictive European immigration policies. Furthermore, the return processes create a hierarchical structure in which the violence women experience in the sex industry in Europe is imagined to be worse than the everyday violence they experience at home.

Keywords: sex industry, human trafficking, immigration policy, violence, gender, Nigeria

Topics: Citizenship, Displacement & Migration, Migration, Forced Migration, Refugees, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods, Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking, Violence Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2014

Gender and Water in India: A Review


Kulkarni, Seema. 2016. “Gender and Water in India: A Review.” In Indian Water Policy at the Crossroads: Resources, Technology and Reforms, edited by Vishal Narain and Annasamy Narayanamoorthy, 73–91. Global Issues in Water Policy 16. Springer Science & Business Media B.V. 

Author: Seema Kulkarni


This chapter provides an overview of key issues in the area of gender and water. It gives an overview of different debates around women and environment and shows how these have shaped the discourse and practice around gender and water. The chapter then goes on to discuss the reforms in the water sector at the global level and how this has impacted the discussions around gender and water. A comprehensive review of literature is done in the context of India which covers the various writings and actions in the area of gender and water. The review specifically looks at gender and equity issues in the areas of rivers, dams and displacement, water for production and domestic water. The chapter argues for going beyond the politics of representation and developing new agendas and creative forms of engagement with people’s movements- more specifically women’s movements, farmers movements and unions working on the question of growing informalisation of the economy, greater accumulation of capital, increasing injustices and disparities in everyday living- to see the linkages between land, water, rivers, natural resources and livelihoods.

The chapter argues for going beyond the politics of representation and developing new agendas and creative forms of engagement with people’s movements- more specifically women’s movements, farmers movements and unions working on the question of growing informalisation of the economy, greater accumulation of capital, increasing injustices and disparities in everyday living- to see the linkages between land, water, rivers, natural resources and livelihoods. (Abstract from Springer Link)

Keywords: Domestic water, Water for Production, dams and displacement, ecofeminism, gender

Topics: Civil Society, Displacement & Migration, Forced Migration, Economies, Economic Inequality, Poverty, Feminisms, Ecofeminism, Gender, Gender Analysis, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Gender Equity, Households, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, Livelihoods, Political Participation Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2016


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