BIG Talk – Cross border women trafficking in the east of South Asia: Marginality, precarity and legality

with Anasua Basu Ray Chaudhury (Senior Fellow, Observer Research Foundation, Kolkata) | Victoria, BC & Zoom | July 17, 2023

In Person: CFGS C168 (Sedgewick building, University of Victoria) or Zoom. The meeting will take place from 11:00AM to 12:30PM PST. Register in advance for this meeting hereRegistration is free but required.

In the contemporary globalized world, trafficking of women and children and their undocumented migration have increased in both magnitude and reach, thus becoming a major human rights concern. The recent publication of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) entitled Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2022 reveals that women account for the largest share of trafficking victims (43 per cent) of the total detected trafficked persons in South Asia. In terms of shares of detected trafficked persons in South Asia, by area of citizenship (2022) accounts for 99 percent domestic while 1 percent across border. The clandestine nature of the crime makes it difficult to gather accurate data on the number of victims. However, government and non-government reports emphasize the serious nature of the crime. The routes, methods and activities of traffickers are increasingly more organized and there is a greater penetration of organized crime syndicates into trade and trafficking of women and children within and from outside the region. While several laws in South Asian countries aim to combat human trafficking, the response level of criminal justice appears to be limited. An effective remedy must include recovery assistance, safe repatriation, reintegration, and access to information for the victims, along with appropriate legal measures to bridge existing gaps in addressing human trafficking concerns. Against this backdrop, the deliberation seeks to assess the current situation of women trafficking in the eastern part of South Asia encompassing the adjacent area of India, Bangladesh, and Nepal- the epicenter of this transnational organized crime. How is trafficking related to forced migration? What makes women and fall vulnerable to trafficking? What are the reasons for insignificant legal integration of human rights, gender and child rights in domestic anti-trafficking laws and policies in South Asia? How to strengthen cross border understanding to combat women trafficking? These are a few questions that the presentation intends to ponder upon.

Anasua Basu Ray Chaudhury, Ph.D in International Relations, is a Senior Fellow with the Neighbourhood Initiatives, Observer Research Foundation, Kolkata chapter. She is the Editor, ORF Bangla. She specialises in regional and sub-regional cooperation in South Asia, the Bay of Bengal region and the Indo-Pacific, energy forced migration and women in conflict zones. She was the coordinator of the research programme entitled “Proximity to Connectivity” and supervised/authored/co-authored a series of extensive field based reports related to connectivity and dynamics of cross border cooperative architectures. She is also the recipient of the Public Service Broadcasting Trust Senior Media Fellowship (Prasar Bharati,2007) and the Kodikara Award (Regional Centre for Strategic Studies, Colombo, 1998–99). She was the Visiting Fellow (2012) at The Maison des Sciences de I’Homme, Paris. She is a member of the Editorial Board of international peer reviewed journals namely Borders in Globalization Review (Centre for Global Studies, Canada) and Journal for Indian Ocean Research (Routledge, New Delhi).

Her recent publications include Caste and Partition in Bengal: The story of Dalit refugees,1946-61 (OUP, UK, 2022); BIMSTEC: Mapping Sub-regionalism in Asia (Co-edited Routledge:UK, 2022); New futures of BIMSTEC: connectivity, commerce and security (co-edited Routledge: UK, 2021), India– Myanmar Borderlands: Ethnicity, Security and Connectivity (co-edited/ Routledge, UK, 2020); Connecting Nations: India and Southeast Asia (coedited/ Primus, New Delhi, 2019); The State of Being Stateless in South Asia (co-edited/ Orient Black Swan: New Delhi, 2015); Women in Indian Borderlands (co-edited/ Sage Publications, New Delhi, 2011).

BIG Talk - Cross border women trafficking in the east of South Asia: Marginality, precarity and legality