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

Talk by Prof. Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly on EU – BREXIT – what new borders mean for UK and EU

Thanks to the British Exit (Brexit) the European Union member states are faced with a new and important development in the history of the construction of the European Union. This talk discussed the origins and developments of the BREXIT in the UK and the European Union and its most recent developments; in particular, focusing on border issues in Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom – what new borders mean for the UK and its relationship with the EU. Speakers: Britta Petersen, Senior Fellow ORF Prof. Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly, University of Victoria (Canada) Alex Pykett, British High Commission, New Delhi

Beyond Boundaries and Borders: South Asian Quest for Peace, Development and Regional Connectivity

Mumbai, India | March 1-2, 2019

South Asia is one of the fastest growing regions that exhibit a potential to emerge as a leading economic centre of the world. Nevertheless, South Asia is riddled with inter and intraregional conflicts embedded in ethnicity, religion, border disputes, and resource politics. These conflicts act as an impediment to peace, development and regional cooperation. In the post-1990’s economic restructuring (liberalisation and privatisation) paved the way for economic growth in the region. Not only India but other South Asian countries Like Nepal and Bangladesh recently earned a reputation of moving swiftly on the path of economic growth. It is a region, nascent in development and growth trajectory and all these are in favour of South Asia. It is expected that in the next couple of years both Nepal and Bangladesh will graduate from the category of the Least Developing Country (LDC) to Developing Country. At the same time, India with its newly acquired economic strength now transited from aid recipient to a donor country. While these are positive indications for a post-colonial region but some issues require serious academic deliberations. The foremost is the question of lack of peace, stability, development and regional integration that is also related to dismal connectivity and lack of cross-border mobility management/governance in South Asia. This is related to the fact that South Asian economies remained open to globalisation, but the same enthusiasm is missing for regional cooperation. Therefore the benefits associated with regional integration are still to be reaped. In short, South Asia is a region of hope and despair and the realisation of potentialities and overcoming the challenges largely depends on the prospect of peace, stability and regional cooperation/ integration.

The conference was organized by the Department of Civics and Politics (University of Mumbai, Mumbai), the Department of International Relations (South Asia University, New Delhi), the Center of Statelessness and Refugee Studies (School of Law, Rights and Constitutional Governance, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai), and Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (New Delhi).


Beyond Boundaries and Borders: South Asian Quest for Peace, Development and Regional Connectivity

Workshop: Borders and Regionalism in South Asia

New Delhi, India | August 25, 2018

South Asia is regarded as one of the least integrated regions of the world. This is despite the fact that the region shares a common history, culture and developmental challenges. Indeed, some hard borders and boundaries act as hurdles for regional integration in South Asia. Contrary to this dominant representation of the region, other realities are quite often ignored. One such important aspect is the socio-cultural and historical ties that exist among the people of the region. Thus, while acknowledging the official borders, we can also see that there are prospects for progress. The commonality between the people opens the possibilities for soft regionalism and in a way, could lead to regional integration in South Asia. This one day workshop invited papers from young scholars to discuss the possibilities of regional integration in South Asia by bridging the existing borders and boundaries. Young faculty members and doctoral students submitted abstracts on themes related to borders and regionalism in South Asia.

Some of the suggested topics were Culture and Borders in South Asia, Border Regions in South Asia, Economic Integration and Borders, South Asian Connectivity, The Mental Borders and Boundaries in South Asia, and Comparative Borders: Examples from Other Regions.

Workshop: Borders and Regionalism in South Asia

Academic Partner – International Research Center for Japanese Studies

Edward Boyle

Ted Boyle is an associate professor at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Nichibunken) in Kyoto, and the editor of Japan Review. He is also a lecturer at the Faculty of Law, Kyushu University, and a research associate for the Eurasia Unit for Border Research (UBRJ) at the Slavic-Eurasian Research Center, Hokkaido University.

Ted has been the Japan representative for the Borders in Globalization project since 2016, serves as an officer for the Japan Chapter of the Association for Borderlands Studies (ABSj), and is the co-ordinator for the collaborative interdisciplinary project ‘Imagining Islands in Japan’. His research focuses on boundaries and borderland spaces in Japan and its neighbourhood, the Asia-Pacific, and Northeast India. More details and publications are available at

Ongoing projects include research into the role and significance of borders of memory in Asia, the topic of a new Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) grant and books published with Brill and Bloomsbury in 2023.

Edward Boyle

#16 BIG Podcast – “Popular Protest, the Middle East and Borders”

featuring Michael J. Carpenter – Political Scientist at the University of Victoria, BC, Canada, and Managing Editor of BIG Review

The Middle East is the name of a complex geographical region comprising different countries and cultures between Europe, Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and Asia. It is also a space where many conflicts have existed and continue to exist today, in particular the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. These disputes linked to a complex historical, religious and political situation should not obscure the presence of populations who struggle at their level and with their means against the domination that oppresses them. One thinks of the situation in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip and the difficult conditions of the inhabitants. We will discuss this territorial, border, human complexity with political scientist Michael J. Carpenter. He has written a book titled “Palestinian Popular Struggle: Unarmed and Participatory” (Routledge 2019).

Michael J. Carpenter is a Post-Doctoral Fellow working on a project titled, “Beyond ‘Irregular Migration’: Civil Disobedience without Borders”. In addition to his fellowship, Michael also serves as a founding member and current Managing Editor of the Borders in Globalization Review. He has a PhD in Political Science from the University of Victoria (2017) and a Master of Arts in Social and Political Thought from the University of Regina (2009). His research interests include borders, Middle East politics, global politics, civil resistance, non-state governance, and the history of social and political thought. He recently completed two publications based on his doctoral research, a monograph titled Palestinian Popular Struggle: Unarmed and Participatory, and a chapter called “Peace Process without the People: Sidelining Popular Struggle in Palestine” for an edited volume called the History of World Peace Since 1750 (both Routledge, forthcoming).

Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, and the Podcast App!

#16 BIG Podcast - “Popular Protest, the Middle East and Borders”

Borders and Migration: The Canadian Experience in Comparative Perspective

Michael J. Carpenter, Melissa Kelly, Oliver Schmidtke | University of Ottawa Press | 2023

Since 2015, the cross-border movement of migrants and refugees has reached unprecedented levels. War, persecution, destitution, and desertification impelled millions to flee their homes in central Asia, the Levant, and North Africa. The responses in the Global North varied country by country, with some opening their borders to historically large numbers of refugees and asylum seekers, while others adopted increasingly strict border policies.

The dramatic increase in global migration has triggered controversial political and scholarly debates. The governance of cross-border mobility constitutes one of the key policy conundrums of the 21st century, raising fundamental questions about human rights, state responsibility, and security. The research literatures on borders and migration have rapidly expanded to meet the increased urgency of record numbers of displaced people. Yet, border studies have conventionally paid little attention to flows of people, and migration studies have simultaneously underappreciated the changing nature of borders.

Borders and Migration: The Canadian Experience in Comparative Perspective provides new insights into how migration is affected by border governance and vice versa. Starting from the Canadian experience, and with an emphasis on refugees and irregular migrants, this multidisciplinary book explores how various levels of governance have facilitated and restricted flows of people across international borders. The book sheds light on the changing governance of migration and borders. Comparisons between Canada and other parts of the world bring into relief contemporary trends and challenges.


Michael J. Carpenter is a Post-Doctoral Fellow working on a project titled, “Beyond ‘Irregular Migration’: Civil Disobedience without Borders”. In addition to his fellowship, Michael also serves as a founding member and current Managing Editor of the Borders in Globalization Review.

Melissa Kelly is a Research Fellow with the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Migration and Integration at Ryerson University. She holds a PhD in Social and Economic Geography from Uppsala University.

Oliver Schmidtke is a Professor and UVic European Studies Scholar in the Departments of History and Political Science. Since 2006 he holds the Jean Monnet Chair in European History and Politics. From 2005 to 2008 he was the Director of the European Studies Program at UVic and from 2004 to 2006 he served as the President of the European Community Studies Association Canada. Since 2012 he has been the Director of the Centre for Global Studies and during the academic year 2016-17 he serves as the Acting Vice President Research.

Borders and Migration: The Canadian Experience in Comparative Perspective

Nihon no Kyokai: Kokka to hitobito no sokoku (Japan’s Borders: For State or People)

Hyunjoo Naomi Chi, Edward Boyle | Hokkaido University Press | 2022

Featuring an Introduction co-written with Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly (BIG Project Director), this volume is the outcome of a BIG Workshop held at Hokkaido University in April 2018, bringing Japanese and foreign researchers together to reflect upon the history and specificities of Japan’s contemporary border regime. Published on December 25th, 2022.


Edward Boyle is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law and the Center for Asia-Pacific Future Studies. He holds a BA from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and an MA from the Faculty of Law at Hokkaido University, where he is also in the process of completing his doctorate. Currently, he is charged with the task of establishing Japan’s first interdisciplinary Center for Border Studies at Kyushu University.

Hyunjoo Naomi Chi is an Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Public Policy, Hokkaido University. She holds a BA from the University of British Columbia.

Nihon no Kyokai: Kokka to hitobito no sokoku (Japan's Borders: For State or People)

Academic Partner – South Asian University

Dhananjay Tripathi

Chairperson & Associate Professor at the Department of International Relations, South Asian University (SAU), New Delhi, India. His research interest includes Regional Integration Process (Europe & South Asia), Border Studies and International Political Economy.

His recent publications are (ed) Re-imagining Border Studies in South Asia (2020- Routledge Publication), Co-edited South Asia: Boundaries Borders and Beyond (2022- Routledge Publication), Afghanistan Post- 2014: Power Configurations and Evolving Trajectories (2016- Routledge Publication) and authored book Development Role of the European Union in South Asia (2011- Vij Publication ).

He has also contributed in edited volumes and published in peer-reviewed journals including – Journal of Borderlands Studies, Economic and Political Weekly, International Studies, Alternatives, Eurasia Border Review, Quarterly of International Sociology, USI Journal, etc. He is also the co-editor of a special issue of the Journal of Borderlands Studies on ‘South Asia: Boundaries, Borders and Beyond’.

He is also the editorial board member of prestigious international journals – Journal of Borderlands Studies (Taylor and Francis), Alternatives: Global, Local, Political (Sage Publication), Estudios Fronterizos (REF) (open access) and BIG Review (University of Victoria).

He is also co-applicant in the successful 21st Century Borders Partnership grant awarded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council, Canada.

His brief write-ups are published in major national newspapers including – The Hindu, Tribune Daily Excelsior, Telangana Today, Prabhat Khabar and Dainik Bhaskar

Dhananjay Tripathi

Academic Partner – Laval University

Frédéric Lasserre

Frédéric Lasserre holds a Master of Commerce (ESC Lyon, 1990), an MBA (York U., Toronto, 1991), a DEA in Geopolitics (U. Paris VIII, 1992) and a Ph.D. in Geography (U. Saint-Étienne, France, 1996).

He worked as a consultant with the European Observatory of Geopolitics (OEG, Lyon, France) on the political and economic transformations of Central and Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall, then as a foreign language instructor in Japan, then as Advisor in International Affairs on Asian Desks at the Quebec Ministry of Trade and Industry; and then with Investissement Québec, the Crown corporation responsible for the promotion of foreign investment in Quebec.

He is Professor since 2001 in the Department of Geography at Laval University (Quebec City). He acted as Project Director with the international ArcticNet research network. He is also researcher with the Ecole Supérieure d’Études Internationales (ESEI) and chairs the Conseil québécois d’Études géopolitiques (Quebec Council for Geopolitical Studies, CQEG) at Laval University.

With his book L’éveil du dragon. Les défis du développement de la Chine au XXIe siècle (Presses de l’Université du Québec) [The awakening of the dragon. The challenges of development in China in the 21st century], he won the HEC Best Business Book Award 2006.

He conducted extensive research in the field of Arctic geopolitics, water management, transport geopolitics and maritime borders, enabling him to publish more than 150 peer-reviewed papers and 27 books.

Frédéric Lasserre