Slovene Research Initiative Lecture: Contextualizing Female Migration and Human Trafficking: The Case of Slovenia

January 22, 2016
Wednesday, April 27, 2016 - 3:00pm to 4:30pm
Thompson Library 150A/B
Trees

The Slovene Research Initiative will feature a lecture by Dr. Simona Zavratnik (Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Ljubljana) and Dr, Sanja Cukut Krilić (Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts).

Internal migration within the former socialist Yugoslavia, the formation of the nation-state of Slovenia, and its accession to the European Union provide three main socio-political contextual bases for studying female migration to Slovenia. Even though immigration to Slovenia is still predominantly male, there are certain indications of its feminisation recently. Although extensive research on migration processes in general has been carried out, there is still quite an absence of gendered research. Through selected case-studies of female immigrants from non-EU countries in Slovenia (especially Bosnia and Herzegovina and countries of the former Soviet Union), we will point to their essentialised representations in public discourses, to the main gaps in statistical data, and to the main challenges the transnational movement of the population poses at the level of ‘fortress Europe’.

Human trafficking is present as a global migration trend in a number of countries of origin, transit, and destination. Particularly in the last decade, combating human trafficking from, through, or to specific countries or regions has become a major priority in most countries, irrespective of their geographical position, political or other orientation. Some areas or countries are denoted as being typically or primarily countries of origin; in the European context these are the Balkan and Eastern European countries. Other countries can be classified as typical transit countries on the route to the migrants’ destination – Western Europe. A fact deserving more research attention than defining the status of individual countries (which can change: transit countries can become countries of origin or destination countries, destination countries can turn into transit countries etc.) is that human trafficking is a crucial issue in human rights protection.

This presentation is based on the paradigm of human rights as the basis for formulating policies against global trafficking in human beings. As a rule, the responses of national policies and intergovernmental organizations involve a migration management strategy based on restrictive border regimes, quotas, and other mechanisms to limit the inflow of migrants and regularize their stay. Human trafficking in a form of “modern slavery” requires greater sensitization of global policies and commitment to the protection and rights of vulnerable individuals. The paper calls for individualized and gender-specific treatment of human trafficking victims, in particular sex industry victims.

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