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Gendered labor migration control: intermediaries navigating il/legal trajectories between Nepal and the United Arab Emirates, by Susanne Asman

Monday, September 9, 2019 at 12:15pm

Uris Hall, G08
Central Campus

This paper sets out to explore how the intermediaries in the infrastructure of the migration industry navigate the state’s gendered labor migration control during the labor recruitment process mainly in sending but also in receiving country, here Nepal and the United Arab Emirate and what consequences this have for women’s and men’s labor migration. Despite the necessary role of the intermediaries in assisting migrants in the labor recruitments process no research has been conducted regarding the intermediaries navigating strategies in their encounter with the state’s gendered labor migration control. This paper discusses these navigating strategies and problematize the discourse of these actors as “criminal others”, as traffickers, smugglers and merely profit driven facilitators, and points to gender as a major aspect of importance to them when it comes to the navigating process. It shows that there is a continuum of navigating strategies among the intermediaries, from strategies where they are more strict in their regulatory function than the state apparatus, to intermediaries who are ambivalent to facilitate and therefore only “send” a few women for labor migration to strategies at the other end where the intermediaries facilitate women’s labor migration also when it is illegal from the perspective of the state.


Susanne Åsman is postdoctoral researcher in the School of Global Studies at Gothenburg University and a visiting guest researcher in the Department of Anthropology at Cornell University. She is also affiliated with the Department of International Relations at Tribhuwan University. She has been involved in several research projects in the South Asian context, mainly in Nepal and India. Besides the project related to intermediaries in the infrastructure of the migration industry in Nepal and the United Arab Emirate in focus for this paper, she has been involved in projects related to migration for sex work, sex trafficking and anti- trafficking interventions, but also in a project related to masculinities and love, sex and intimacy. Another research area of interest for her has been honor related discrimination, youth culture and integration in the Swedish suburbia. Her recent book publication isBombay Going: Nepali Migrant Sex Workers in an Anti- Trafficking Era” (2018).

Photo credit - Noel Celis/ AFP/Getty Images in News


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Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Asian Studies, South Asia Program, Anthropology








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