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Gridlock: Labor, Migration, and Human Trafficking in Dubai

Authors:
... The human trafficking discourse uses the terms 'survivor' and 'victim' to invoke specific narratives, meanings, and reactions, each of which have racial, gender, and class undertones [27] Proponents of the term "survivor", on the one hand, indicate that this term locates "the problem from the individual psyche to the social sphere where it rightfully belongs, … to empower victims to act constructively on [their] own behalf and thus make the transition from passive victim to active survivor" [2]. Mahdavi notes that "individuals often find and exercise agency even within the structures that seek to limit them" and the word 'survivor' recognizes that individuals can be active agents in their lives during and after their exploitative experience [27]. ...
... The human trafficking discourse uses the terms 'survivor' and 'victim' to invoke specific narratives, meanings, and reactions, each of which have racial, gender, and class undertones [27] Proponents of the term "survivor", on the one hand, indicate that this term locates "the problem from the individual psyche to the social sphere where it rightfully belongs, … to empower victims to act constructively on [their] own behalf and thus make the transition from passive victim to active survivor" [2]. Mahdavi notes that "individuals often find and exercise agency even within the structures that seek to limit them" and the word 'survivor' recognizes that individuals can be active agents in their lives during and after their exploitative experience [27]. The term 'victim' on the other hand implies a crime with a perpetrator, allowing anti-trafficking actors to identify the traffickers as the only offenders requiring punitive action, and victims requiring protection [15,48]. ...
... Roberts argues that methods from critical feminism and critical pedagogy are required to "understand the ideological processes and institutional mechanisms that structure subjectivities and material (dis)advantage" [53]. In his thorough discussion of Sen's later works, Roberts highlights the importance Sen places on individuals having "the freedom and ability to critically evaluate their own circumstances in order to be able to determine the lives that they have reason to value" [53], pointing to Sen's similar concepts of "adaptive preferences" [27], "objective illusions" [4], and "culturally influenced norms and values" [16]. Roberts builds on and extends Sen's term, providing his own definition of critical-agency 1 as "people's critical understanding of the (dis)advantage that they experience as well as their agency in acting together to overcome it" [53]. ...
Conference Paper
Human trafficking and forced labor are global issues affecting millions of people around the world. This paper describes an initiative that we are currently undertaking to understand the role technology can play to support the critical-agency of migrant workers in these situations of severe exploitation. Building on five consultations with more than 170 direct and indirect stakeholders in Thailand, the paper presents the co-design, development, and evaluation of Apprise, a mobile app to support the identification of victims of human trafficking using a Value Sensitive Design approach. It also provides a critical reflection on the use of digital technology in the initial screening of potential victims of human trafficking, to understand in what ways Apprise can support the critical agency of migrant workers in vulnerable situations.
... There has been an increasing number of studies on the hard-to-reach population of migrant domestic workers in the Middle East (Jureidini 2010;Mahdavi 2011;Pande 2013;Fernandez and de Regt 2014;Pande 2018). Our study builds on these previous works to examine the labor and migration of Filipino and Indonesian domestic workers in the UAE. ...
... We selected Dubai as our primary site for several reasons. First, there are a number of existing studies focused on this emirate (e.g., Ali 2010a; Kanna 2011;Mahdavi 2011;Abdi 2015;Kathiravelu 2016), and we sought to further this existing work. Second, Dubai is a known global migration hub, allowing us to analyze a key node in the international migration system (Ali 2010a). ...
... Third, their ineligibility for family reunification makes it extremely unlikely that they will be joined by relatives, thus further limiting their networks and attachment to the place. Fourth, the absence of civic or community organizations weakens their sense of belonging (Mahdavi 2011). In all these ways, the legal exclusion and isolation faced by domestic workers discourage both long-term settlement, as well as return to the same destination as circular migrants. ...
Article
This article examines the mobility patterns of migrant domestic workers in the United Arab Emirates. It identifies and explains the emergence of serial labor migration, which we define as the multi-country, itinerant labor migration patterns of temporary low-skilled migrant workers. It argues that policy contexts shaping temporary labor migration, as they impose precarious and prohibitive conditions of settlement in both countries of origin and destination, produce the itinerancy of low-skilled migrant workers. We offer a holistic analysis of the migration process of temporary labor migrants, shifting away from a singular focus on the process of emigration, integration, or return and toward an examination of each stage as a co-constitutive step in the migration cycle. Our analytic approach enables us to illustrate the state of precarity and itinerancy that follows low-wage migrant workers across the various stages of the migration cycle and produces serial migration patterns among migrant domestic workers from the Philippines and Indonesia.
... This is not surprising, given the not-so-subtle conflation of sex trafficking with sex work in much of the discourse surrounding the two issues (Weitzer 2009). Policies that do not recognize the multidimensional character of social contexts and human communities can end up hurting the people and communities they intend to protect (Mahdavi 2011(Mahdavi , 2016Hoang and Parreñas 2014;Kempadoo, Sanghera, and Pattanaik 2015). For instance, Pardis Mahdavi (2016, 176) notes that while anti-human trafficking networks have produced a multimillion-dollar charity industry promoting initiatives to "rescue" women, such policies are not just disconnected from migrants' lived experiences but engender negative ramifications. ...
... This is not surprising, given the not-so-subtle conflation of sex trafficking with sex work in much of the discourse surrounding the two issues (Weitzer 2009). Policies that do not recognize the multidimensional character of social contexts and human communities can end up hurting the people and communities they intend to protect (Mahdavi 2011(Mahdavi , 2016Hoang and Parreñas 2014;Kempadoo, Sanghera, and Pattanaik 2015). For instance, Pardis Mahdavi (2016, 176) notes that while anti-human trafficking networks have produced a multimillion-dollar charity industry promoting initiatives to "rescue" women, such policies are not just disconnected from migrants' lived experiences but engender negative ramifications. ...
... SeeKempadoo and Davydova (2012),Molland (2012),Marcus and Snajdr (2013), andMahdavi (2016). ...
... to the UAE was curtailed by conflicts she encountered with her third employer, who chose to not only deport her from the UAE but also imposed a year ban on her reentry. In the UAE, migrant domestic workers occupy a precarious legal status; they are subject to the kafala programme and are thereby restricted to work solely for an employer-sponsor who has the power to fire and deport them at will (Mahdavi 2011). ...
... The largest share, 27.4 percent, work in Arab States, followed by 20 percent in Europe and 19.4 percent in South-Eastern Asia and the Pacific (ILO 2015a). Despite the disproportionate share of migrant domestic workers in Arab States, we know little about their migration due to the relative absence of studies in the region (for exceptions, see Fernandez 2013;Fernandez, de Regt, and Currie 2014;Jureidini 2010;Mahdavi 2011;Pande 2013;Silvey 2004). Most migrant domestic workers in Arab States come from Southeast Asia, specifically Indonesia and the Philippines ) but there are also sizeable numbers from South Asia (Ahmad 2017) and Africa (Fernandez 2013;Mahdavi 2011). ...
... Despite the disproportionate share of migrant domestic workers in Arab States, we know little about their migration due to the relative absence of studies in the region (for exceptions, see Fernandez 2013;Fernandez, de Regt, and Currie 2014;Jureidini 2010;Mahdavi 2011;Pande 2013;Silvey 2004). Most migrant domestic workers in Arab States come from Southeast Asia, specifically Indonesia and the Philippines ) but there are also sizeable numbers from South Asia (Ahmad 2017) and Africa (Fernandez 2013;Mahdavi 2011). Of the estimated 3.1 million migrant domestic workers in the region, the largest number can be found in KSA, estimated at nearly one million, followed by an estimated 750,000 in the UAE, 620,000 in Kuwait, 250,000 in Lebanon, and 100,000 in Bahrain (ILO 2015b). ...
Article
This article identifies and examines the mobility pathways of migrant domestic workers, meaning the course of action they undertake to secure continuous employment. Mobility pathways refer not only to migratory practices and processes but also concern shifts in one’s employment, legal and social status. This article examines the mobility pathways of migrant domestic workers in order to interrogate the possibilities of socio-economic mobility allowed by their migration in a stratified global labour market. Drawing from 85 in-depth interviews conducted with Filipino migrant domestic workers employed in the key destination of the United Arab Emirates, this article identifies three salient mobility pathways of serial migration, staggered migration and return migration. It revisits our understanding in migration studies of the intersections of social and spatial mobility as it first establishes the salience of multi-national migrations, thus disrupting the assumption of the continuous settlement of migrants in any one destination, and second illustrates the social reproduction of poverty for unskilled migrant workers, thus dispelling the notion that migration offers an inevitable path to socio-economic mobility.
... In most destinations, migrants with a domestic worker visa are bound labourers as their legal residency is contingent on their continuous and sole employment by their sponsor as it constrains their ability to change sponsors. This is the case in Canada, Great Britain, Israel, Taiwan, Singapore, and among others the United Arab Emirates (UAE) (Anderson 2000;Bakan and Stasiulis 2005;Lan 2007;Liebelt 2011;Mahdavi 2011). Scholars have argued that domestic workers who are bound labourers are subject to the 'persistence of the master/mistress servant roles' (Anderson 2000, 193) and become likely victims of abuse and labour trafficking (for examples, see discussions on Britain by Anderson [2000]; Lebanon by Pande [2013]; and the UAE by Mahdavi [2011]). ...
... This is the case in Canada, Great Britain, Israel, Taiwan, Singapore, and among others the United Arab Emirates (UAE) (Anderson 2000;Bakan and Stasiulis 2005;Lan 2007;Liebelt 2011;Mahdavi 2011). Scholars have argued that domestic workers who are bound labourers are subject to the 'persistence of the master/mistress servant roles' (Anderson 2000, 193) and become likely victims of abuse and labour trafficking (for examples, see discussions on Britain by Anderson [2000]; Lebanon by Pande [2013]; and the UAE by Mahdavi [2011]). Bound labourers, as they cannot freely quit their job without the permission of their employer, are arguably in a situation of unfree labour, who geographer Sallie Yea, writing on construction workers in Singapore, defined as 'any situation where workers cannot extricate themselves from an exploitative working situation, despite their desire to do so' (Yea 2017, 180). ...
... This article accordingly examines the unfree labour of domestic workers on temporary contracts from the perspective of employers, focusing on the destination of Singapore, which is a high receiving country of domestic workers. Many scholars have paid attention to the effects of being an unfree worker on the labour conditions of migrant domestic workers, arguing that it results in the case of England in a 'master-slave relationship' (Anderson 2000); in the UAE and Lebanon in 'structural violence' (Mahdavi 2011;Pande 2013); and in 'labor trafficking' and 'contract slavery' in Lebanon (Jureidini and Moukarbal, 2004). While these previous works establish the susceptibility of domestic workers to abuse, they do not address the dynamics that sustain this abuse and precarity. ...
Article
In Singapore, the temporary legal status of migrant domestic workers binds them in servitude to their employer-sponsor as their residency is contingent on their continuous and sole live-in employment with a sponsor whose permission they must secure in order to transfer jobs. This legal status technically renders domestic workers unfree and precarious as it gives employers tremendous power over domestic workers. Based on 30 in-depth interviews with employers, this article examines how employers in Singapore negotiate their power over domestic workers. We identify ‘soft violence’ as a tool that employer’s utilise in their management of domestic workers. By ‘soft violence’, we refer to the practice of cloaking the unequal relationship in domestic work via the cultivation of a relationship of ‘personalism’ while simultaneously amplifying one’s control of domestic workers. Representing a strategy utilised by employers to maximise the labour of domestic workers, ‘soft violence’ emerges from the paradoxical relationship of simultaneously relieving and amplifying servitude.
... For example, Gardner (2011) focuses on multiple exploitation, abuses and marginalization that the South-East Asian migrants experience in the Persian Gulf. Kathiravelu (2012) discuses network of solidarity among working class migrants, and Mahdavi (2012) portraits the difficult situation of migrant sex workers in UAE and the difficult situation of irregular migrants in Dubai. Studies also indicate that women employed as housemaids also are more often exposed to exploitation and different kinds of abuse from employers than most other categories of labour migrants (Kathiravelu, 2012;Mahdavi, 2012). ...
... Kathiravelu (2012) discuses network of solidarity among working class migrants, and Mahdavi (2012) portraits the difficult situation of migrant sex workers in UAE and the difficult situation of irregular migrants in Dubai. Studies also indicate that women employed as housemaids also are more often exposed to exploitation and different kinds of abuse from employers than most other categories of labour migrants (Kathiravelu, 2012;Mahdavi, 2012). In sum, these studies portrait migrants in UAE as marginalized, exploited and often abused by employers and recruitment agencies. ...
Article
In this study, we take a point of departure in two recently available large quantitative sources of data from the United Arab Emirates(UAE) in order to analyse social and economic aspects of temporary labour migration to the country. We attempt to present a nuanced and broad-scale description of social and economic situation of labour immigrants in the UAE. The results paint a rather complex picture. On one hand, immigrant workers are often low-paid and harshly treated, on the other there are opportunities for economic advancement for many of them. We conclude that, although far from being a neo-liberal utopia, the UAE does provide better opportunities for millions of immigrants. Life in the country is harsh for many of immigrants but it is less harsh than the alternatives they have in home countries. Regarding the UAE citizens, they surely are or will be facing economic challenges due to massive immigration, but the country has experienced the levels of economic development that would be unimaginable without a large-scale immigration. Thus, the immigration experience of the UAE has so far largely been a win-win situation, for both natives and immigrants.
... Las etnografías e investigaciones realizadas en países como Nepal, Indonesia, Alemania, Francia, Italia, España, Brasil, Emiratos Árabes Unidos, Canadá y Estados Unidos muestran que la difusión de las políticas anti-trata causan la restricción y la criminalización de la movilidad de ciertos grupos e individuos, como personas involucradas en el comercio sexual e inmigrantes indocumentados (Augustin 2007;Bernstein 2012;Dias y Sprandel 2011;Doezema 2005Doezema , 2010Lee 2011;Mahdavi 2011;Kempadoo 2005;Olívar 2016;Piscitelli 2008Piscitelli , 2011Silva y Blanchette 2010;Sprandel y Dias 2010;Teixeira 2008;Ticktin 2008). ...
... El concepto de "víctima" puede, por lo tanto, convertirse en una trampa cuando las políticas contra la trata de personas y tráfico ilícito de migrantes destacan el crimen organizado y la delincuencia. Esto legitima el régimen de deportación y eclipsa la cuestión más amplia de los derechos de las personas que emigran y trabajan en actividades diversas (Mahdavi 2011). ...
Article
Full-text available
This article examines the role played by the concepts of “human trafficking” and “human smuggling” in the dynamics of contemporary migration governability. It does so through a critical analysis regarding the diffusion of these topics in international law. The conclusions are based on earlier work addressing the relationship between the fields of migration and security/crime, and the reproduction of international anti-trafficking policies and legislation. The ethnographic research was conducted from 2011 to 2013 in the city of Vienna, focusing on a comprehensive analysis of the practices of international organizations that deal with migration and criminal justice. The article also explores the issue of “victim” and “victimization”, taking into account the description of a movement of refugees affected by the rhetoric and laws against trafficking.
... The evolution of migration to the GCC countries is historically characterized by a wide range of migrants coming from different countries (Errichiello, 2012). Ethnographic research has hitherto focused especially on working class migrants, emphasizing the constraints and difficulties of their migration experience (see Gardner, 2010;Vora, 2013;Mahdavi, 2011;Kathiravelu, 2016;Ahmad, 2017). A study by Fargues et al. (2019), found that although lowincome migrants in the UAE were attracted by job opportunities, public safety and a "strong rule of law," their sojourn was characterized by precarious working and living conditions, enhanced by job and visa status insecurities. ...
... 5 While most Pakistani migrants (35 percent) in the UAE are men who work in the maledominated construction sector, the presence of Pakistani women in the UAE labor market is largely unknown. Since 1979, the Pakistani government has intentionally restricted the migration of female domestic workers to the Gulf due to women's experiences of abuse and harassment (Mahdavi, 2011). Majority of Pakistani women migrants (and their children) 6 in the UAE have migrated as dependents. ...
Article
Full-text available
This article discusses relationships between temporariness and belonging among Pakistani middle-class migrants in Dubai. We explore reasons that push them to move to Dubai and how their professional position and temporary status affect their sense of belonging. Based upon unstructured interviews with 20 Pakistanis, our findings show that temporariness is problematized, but not explicitly contested, by the participants, who all expressed a strong sense of belonging to Dubai despite their lack of citizenship rights. We suggest that these findings relate to the participants’ ability to draw upon socio-economic resources and networks to enable further transnational mobility.
... Vlieger 2012; . Mahdavi (2011Mahdavi ( , 2012 documented several cases of domestic workers from Asia and Africa, who absconded from their employers and continued to stay in Dubai as undocumented migrants. She uses the term 'perverse integration' to conceptualize the situation of these migrants who deliberately choose to enter the informal economy because it offers them better opportunities, such as higher wages and increased autonomy, than the formal economy. ...
... 145-150). For the UAE see Mahdavi, 2011;for Kuwait Shah, 2000. 28. ...
Article
The focus of this paper is on the strategies of migrant workers and employers to circumvent or subvert the kafala (sponsorship) system in the Arab Gulf States. While the kafala system provides individual and corporate sponsors with both near-exclusive power and legal responsibility for their employees, a range of informal practices has emerged, among them is the so-called ‘free visa’. We argue that the irregularities analysed in this paper are one aspect of the broader frictions between the restrictive kafala system and the need for a more flexible labour force in most Gulf States. Furthermore, both the migrant’s and the employer’s sides must be considered in order to understand the sustainability of these alternative practices, which often are at the margins of the law, and thus entail a number of risks for both parties. Finally, we draw attention to the fact that many employers are non-nationals, and that their perspectives and interests may differ from those of nationals.
... Academics invariably begin their discussions of the scope of human trafficking by emphasizing that the number of trafficked persons worldwideincluding childrenis indeed difficult to measure. Many scholars have discussed the challenges of estimating the scale of human trafficking and the production of reliable statistics (See Goździak, 2008;Goździak & Collett, 2005;Laczko & Granmegna, 2003;Shelley, 2010;Zhang, 2009), and have subsequently called for improved methodologies to describe the unobserved (Tyldum & Brunovskis, 2005). These debates notwithstanding, the demand for numbers, any numbers, means "Organizations feel compelled to supply them, lending false precisions and spurious authority to many reports" (DeStefano, 2008). ...
... This mythology maintains that trafficking affects primarily women and girls. Although activism centered around sexual exploitation has been strongly contested (Sanghera, 2005) and recent empirical research on human trafficking engages with different manifestations of trafficking for labor exploitation (See Brennan, 2014;Mahdavi, 2011), cases involving women and girls continue to receive the lion's share of media and research attention (O'Connell Davidson, 2005) to the detriment of paying attention to the trafficking of men and boys. It is important to remember that originally the protocol addressing human trafficking was to be entitled "Trafficking in Women and Children," omitting men entirely. ...
... Moreover, while company-backed individuals emphasize specific career motives including job, skills and career impact, the desire to move to a particular country and the characteristics of that country are primary motives of self-initiated expatriates (Doherty et al., 2011;Selmer and Lauring, 2012). Previous research shows that this is an important motive of self-initiated expatriates from underdeveloped countries to migrate to the UAE who perceive the country as a safe and modern place to work (Mahdavi, 2011;Haak-Saheem and Brewster, 2017). ...
... The government is very strict about our safety standards. (Nermin) This statement confirms the notion of Mahdavi (2011) andHaak-Saheem andBrewster (2017) that particularly self-initiated expatriates from underdeveloped countries perceive the UAE as a safe and modern place to work. The dynamic economic development offers them opportunities and perspectives that compensate for uncertainty and hardship: I like my job. ...
Article
Purpose International human resource management research has only recently started to recognize the many millions of people who engage with the international labor market as low-skilled self-initiated expatriates. In contrast to company-assigned expatriates, they predominantly come from less-developed countries (often from rural areas) and independently decide to pursue an international career. The aim of this study is apply an expatriate-centered perspective and explore how expatriates at the base of the pyramid perceive the conditions of their international employment. Design/methodology/approach The paper is based on a qualitative study among self-initiated expatriates in the tourism and hospitality industry in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Findings Two theoretical categories that reflect the evaluation of expatriate employment were identified, namely the social comparison with friends and family who stayed at home as well as with other expatriates and locals and the temporal comparison to the situation before the expatriation and the prospective situation after the expatriation. Both categories largely differ from the concepts and categories prevalent in the expatriate literature. Research limitations/implications The study contributes to the understanding of the temporal and transitory dimensions of expatriation, which have been barely addressed in the academic literature. It shows that self-initiated expatriation often represents a break in the professional and personal biography. It is less perceived as linear continuation of a steadily advancing career path than a restart or springboard to the future. The results are situated in the tourism and hospitality sector in the UAE and cannot be generalized to other countries and industries. Practical implications The study emphasizes the relevance of social inclusion, equal opportunities, a safe work environment and a relaxed corporate culture for expatriates at the base of the pyramid. Originality/value While research about self-initiated expatriates usually compares them with company-backed assignees, this comparison is not salient in the narratives of the interviewees in this study. Instead, low-skilled self-initiated expatriates predominately compare their current foreign assignment with the situation in their home country. This social comparison reflects their perceived reality of life better than a fictional comparison with highly skilled and company-assigned expatriates that is prevalent in the academic expatriation literature. By emphasizing an expatriate-centered perspective, the study supports and extends Piore's (1979) application of segmented labor market theory.
... He describes people as being caught in "cycles" wherein one type of discrimination builds on another and reinforces inequality, which can be passed down through generations. While in previous work I have argued that the inequalities migrants face in the Gulf take on forms of structural violence (Mahdavi 2011), here I aim to build on Farmer's analysis to highlight the production of cycles of irregularity experienced by migrant women and their children. ...
Book
Full-text available
The emotional, social, and economic challenges faced by migrants and their families are interconnected through complex decisions related to mobility. Tangled Mobilities examines the different crisscrossing and intersecting mobilities in the lives of Asian migrants, their family members across Asia and Europe, and the social spaces connecting these regions. In exploring how the migratory process unfolds in different stages of migrants’ lives, the chapters in this collected volume broaden perspectives on mobility, offering insights into the way places, affects, and personhood are shaped by and connected to it. OPEN ACCESS with support from Knowledge Unlatched: https://library.oapen.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.12657/57164/external_content.epub?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
... Human trafficking takes place for two purposes: trafficking for sex work and trafficking for forced slavery, or indentured labor. Most of the researches on the human trafficking are based on the women and children (Aronowitz, 2009;Mahdavi, 2011;Bohl, 2010). -Money (or another form of payment) changes hands. ...
... As Parvis Mahdavi clearly showed in her ethnography of migrant workers in Dubai, exploitation is possible and rife in many diverse jobs. 17 For example, Sri Lankan domestic workers in Lebanon are described as being in contract slavery. 18 Within this study, the women are formally tethered to a bar owner sponsoring their residence permit, meaning that leaving an employer and seeking work elsewhere within Jordan can be lengthy and requires agreement and goodwill of both employers. ...
Article
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This paper discusses the type of work migrant women from the former Eastern European countries perform in nightclubs in Amman, Jordan. The fieldwork for this qualitative study was conducted in 2010 and is based on in-depth interviews with 13 women. The topic is approached from the perspective of describing women’s choices and journeys to this work. It juxtaposes the sexualised nature of their work with their yearning for a “normal” family life, which they imagine, yet know, is impossible to achieve with the men they meet in their workplaces. Layered on top of these private desires among both women and their clients is the business strategy of the clubs, which operate in the lucrative but marginal space of selling exotic but respectable seduction. I draw on the literature about female migration to the Middle East in order to argue that hostesses in these bars perform affective labour akin to care work, within the neoliberal global economy that individualises risk.
... That is the idea that minority identities within state discourse are shaped by the means through which different minority subjects are called to participate and partake of particular legal rights and duties (Povinelli 2002(Povinelli , 2006. 15 For different analytical and ethnographic engagements with gendered transnational migration, suffering and labor markets, see Mahdavi ( 2011 );Sayad ( 2004 ); Napolitano Quayson ( 2005 ); Keough ( 2006 ). 16 Historically Latin American Catholicism has been fractured by antagonisms between the Church and (often anti-clerical) liberal-informed Latin American nations/ states. ...
Chapter
The perfect life coincides with the legibility of the world, sin with the impossibility of reading it. Giorgio Agamben: It was not enough to proclaim poverty to make Western capitalism’s forms of living conditional on Christianity: it was necessary to practice poverty, to nourish it, as a revolution. Toni Negri: In the long history of the papacy, Francis is the first pope from the Americas. On the night of his election, he referred to himself as the new bishop of Rome, wittily suggesting that “it seems my brother Cardinals have gone almost to the ends of the earth to get him.” Since the beginning of his papacy, Pope Francis has brought attention to the geographical margins of the Catholic Church in relation to the historical centrality of Rome’s Catholic Curia. At the same time, his public rhetoric and actions seek to put those whom he sees as socially marginalized (undocumented immigrants, the poor, those living in the deprived peripheries of cities, those with disabilities and others) at the centre of an internal renewal of the Catholic Church. By envisioning an evangelization from the (geographical and social) fringes, he has sent a warning to the heart of the Roman Catholic Church and the Curia Romana: that a worldwide renewal of Catholicism can be engendered only by placing people who are marginal at the evangelical centre of the Church and by curbing the self-referentiality and thirst for power of the Roman Curia. As the first non-European pope and standing for those, like himself, who are from the “ends of the earth”, he gives visibility to concerns about poverty and inequality, which have a long and controversial history in the Catholic Church. With the choice of his papal name, Francis has drawn inspiration not only from his own religious order, the Society (“Company”) of Jesus, but also from the strength of the theological stances and historical experiences of the cenobic orders (which, especially the Franciscans, stress communal monastic life) within the Catholic Church.
... First, there are a number of existing studies focused on this emirate (e.g. Ali 2010;Kanna 2011;Mahdavi 2011;Abdi 2015;Kathiravelu 2016). Second, it is a known migration hub, allowing us to analyse a key node in the international migration system (Ali 2010). ...
Article
Full-text available
This article examines how the emergent serial labour migration patterns (Parreñas, Rhacel, Carolyn Choi, Maria Hwang, and Rachel Silvey. 2018 (on-line). “Serial Labor Migration: Precarity and Itinerancy among Filipino and Indonesian Domestic Workers.” On-line First: October, 2018. Accessed January 15, 2019. doi:10.1177/0197918318804769 [IMR]) of migrant domestic workers are shaped by their precarious positions in the global labour market. Based on interviews with migrant domestic workers from the Philippines (n = 82) and Indonesia (n = 79) working in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the article outlines the forms of precarity at work in various stages of the migration cycle: (1) the precarity of migration engendered by their levels of indebtedness prior to migration and their dependency on a recruitment agency to determine not only their employer but also country of destination; (2) the precarity of labor that results from their employment in countries of destination that offer only limited-term contracts and very limited rights to domestic workers; and then finally (3) the precarity of future reflecting the low levels of income, savings and investment they are able to accumulate. We argue that overall, domestic workers from Southeast Asia working in the Middle East are embedded in precarity chains, a concept we introduce that refers to the transfer of insecure jobs and insecure financial status (low wages, indebtedness) across migrants’ places (origins and destinations) and their family members. Precarity chains effectively remit persistent dependence and future precarity on the families and household economies of these low-wage domestic workers, tending overall to reproduce the relative poverty, persistent socio-spatial precarity, and transnational subordination of domestic workers over the life-course.
... Choi's remarks about "foreign policy interventions that ultimately harm rather than help North Korean women" echo observations of Pardis Mahdavi (2011). Her work on migrants in the Middle East offers critical insights about the same "rescue discourse" Choi criticizes. ...
... взгляд не только неадекватно отражает ситуацию принятия решения мигрировать, но и приводит к сомнительным мерам «помощи жертвам», когда репатриация в семьи считается приоритетной политикой. Между тем возвращение домой может стать значительно большим риском, чем жизнь в миграции [Mahdavi, Sargent 2011;Plambech 2015], и само привлечение внимания к крайним случаям неудачной миграции приводит к тому, что принимаемые меры направлены на борьбу с миграцией вместо фокуса на том, как можно улучшить положение мигрантов [Mahdavi 2011]. ...
Article
The book investigates the migration of adolescent girls in the Global South and the interconnection between this migration and the girls’ transitions into adulthood. It contains a number of detailed cases of adolescent girls’ migration collected in Ethiopia, Sudan and Bangladesh. The review focuses on the way the authors approach migration studies. They criticize the negative discourse on migration and attempt to uncover the agency of adolescent migrants. Adolescents girls are presented not as victims subjected to structural forces but rather as active agents in complex social contexts. This allows the authors to present a more nuanced language to deal with the causes and long-term effects of migration in the Global South.
... Finally, she gives an outstanding guideline for ending the human trafficking by regulating effective law in international, regional and national level. Mahdavi (2011) in her book title "Gridlock: labor, Migration and Human trafficking in Dubai" focus on the horrendous condition of the migrants' workers in Dubai who come from various parts of the world. She analyzes the poor condition of these migrant workers in UAE where proper law and regulation were poorly maintained. ...
Conference Paper
Human trafficking has become a great concern for Bangladesh. Every year thousands of Bangladeshis are migrating overseas either legally or by illegal means. In the last couple of year, the total flow of remittance was not satisfactory because of the diplomatic tension between Bangladesh and major migrants receiving countries. In addition, the new migrations policies of the Middle-Eastern countries also have shrunk the scope for Bangladeshi migrants. As a result, the number of human trafficking from Bangladesh to Malaysia has increased. This paper is an attempt to unveil the key causes of human trafficking through the risky Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea by analyzing the field data. It will focus on the case studies of the trafficking victims and their family members with focusing on why they took this dangerous path of irregular migration. It also argues for an effective mechanism to monitor the whole process of human trafficking from Bangladesh to Malaysia on an urgent basis.
Chapter
This chapter focuses on migration, integration and belonging among Pakistanis in Britain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). I introduce the notion of ‘migration project’ as an analytical framework in order to integrate social theory and migration studies. Integration, which is invoked as a socio-political tool in most European countries, requires a top-down approach insofar as efforts of politicians, policy-makers and civil society are considered necessary in order to implement policies, laws and adjustments to encourage and pursue the integration of migrants. Belonging, which is constructed and experienced by migrants in their everyday life, requires a bottom-up approach, and it does not involve any intervention from the top in order to be pursued, but migrants experience a sense of belonging regardless of any policy aimed at integrating them in the social fabric. A comparison between the two countries, which rely on different state structures and societal organization, is not possible and is likely to lead to misunderstandings. The chapter aims at discussing forms of governance of Pakistani migration in different contexts. It sheds light on integration and belonging as contextual and dynamic concepts, and it would be misleading to think of them as strictly interrelated or use the terms interchangeably.
Article
How do states manage their populations? Some scholars see the state as primarily governing through punishment, but how might the state engage in other forms of disciplining subjects? I address these questions by exploring the state management of labor migration through interviews and participant observation of compulsory government workshops. I look at the case of Filipino domestic workers in Arab states. States are said to exercise bio-power when they market and discipline migrants to be competitive and compliant workers, in the process ignoring migrant vulnerabilities. In contrast, this article establishes that sending states attend to migrant vulnerabilities. In addition to bio-power, states also exercise pastoral power, caring for the well-being of migrants through the creation of labor standards, regulation of migration, and education policies. This analysis extends our understanding of the state management of migration as well as the state management of populations as it advances Foucault’s discussion of the exercise of power.
Article
In the United Arab Emirates, the kafala system binds migrant domestic workers to employment with one employer-sponsor. While various studies have identified the labour conditions elicited by the kafala system, research has paid less attention to the forces that underpin workers' interest in accommodating the constraints of the kafala. This article examines the effects of two punitive legal mechanisms that discipline domestic workers to remain within the kafala: cancellation and illegalisation. To be cancelled means to have one's contract revoked by one's employer-sponsor and consequently be forcibly deported; illegalisation is the consequence that migrants face if they choose to “abscond” from their sponsor-employer without permission. By examining the punitive legal system in which the kafala system is embedded, this article contributes to understanding the legal mechanisms that discipline migrant domestic workers into servitude in the UAE.
Book
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The world is experiencing one of the largest movements of people in history with 65 million people displaced by conflict in 2015, the majority of which were from Asia. This book brings a deep engagement with individuals whose lives are shaped by encounters with borders by telling the stories of a poor Bangladeshi women who regularly crosses the India border to visit family, of Muslims from India living in Gulf countries for work, and the harrowing journey of a young Afghan man as he sets off on foot to Germany. The international and interdisciplinary work in this book contributes to this moment by analyzing how borders are experienced by migrants and borderlanders in South Asia, how mobility and diaspora are engaged in literature and media, and how the lives of migrants are transformed during their journey to new homes in South Asia, the Middle East, North America, and Europe.
Chapter
This chapter of the book analyses the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act 2008’s remaining two obligations. These are the obligations to prevent human trafficking and the provision of support, assistance, protection and remedies for victims of human trafficking. These two obligations are discussed against the background of Chap. 5 which examined the content of, among others, these two anti-trafficking obligations under international anti-trafficking law. The first obligation, that of a criminal justice response, was discussed in Chap. 7. The present chapter points out the mandatory nature in which the prevention obligation is presented in the 2008 Act. It portrays the scattered and subsumed nature in which this obligation is presented in the legislation and how the Main Regulations 2015 largely help to provide more substantive provisions for preventing and combating human trafficking. Thereafter, the obligation to support, protect and assist victims, including access to remedies, is examined. As shown in this chapter, unlike the prevention obligation, the 2008 Act contains extensive provisions encapsulating the substance of this obligation. Furthermore, it establishes the major limitations that this legal framework presents in the discharge of these two obligations and their ensuing ramifications. The chapter also offers some recommendations to rectify such legal limitations.
Chapter
This chapter provides a considered encapsulation of the international law principle of state responsibility. Its purpose is to show that although trafficking in persons is factually a crime committed by private persons or non-state actors, circumstances exist, under international law, upon which states can be held accountable nonetheless. These circumstances and the rules upon which a conduct becomes attributed to the state for the purpose of international responsibility are discussed in this chapter based on the work of the International Law Commission (2001) Draft Articles on the Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts. Furthermore, this chapter uses the international human rights law principle of due diligence to argue for clear applicability of the principles of international state responsibility for acts of trafficking in persons, especially in circumstances where such acts result from non-state actors. The examination of the doctrine of state responsibility is also premised on the understanding that ordinarily, only states contain such means as to enforce and give effect to obligations emanating from customary and treaty law to which states are the chief subjects.
Chapter
Throughout the Middle East migrant women are employed to work in people’s homes. While some experience good working relations with employers, others experience forms of abuse and labour coercion. This chapter evaluates critically the different ways that system of unfree labour has been variously described and analysed as a form of ‘contract slavery’, ‘debt bondage’ and ‘trafficking’. It also shows how migrant women who describe themselves as ‘freelancers’ exit their original employer’s home both to escape that relation and in hopes of securing a better situation outside of the regular system of employment. Women who work as freelance migrant domestic workers challenge directly that state-enforced control over their mobility and are on the vanguard of those migrants who are seeking through their own actions to effect social change.
Chapter
This chapter introduces the subject of trafficking in persons both from its international and domestic contexts. The chapter provides comprehensive background information regarding the current state of international law on human trafficking and the extent of the research and literature that currently exist on the subject. Thereafter, chapter introduces the problem of human trafficking in Tanzania from the existing research materials to its current crystallisation in the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act 2008 and its Implementing Regulations. This chapter then provides a brief overview of the current anti-trafficking legal and institutional framework in terms of the crimes it criminalises, the extent to which it protects victims of human trafficking, the nature of its prevention provisions and generally, the strengths it portrays and the challenges this framework presents, all of which necessitated the writing of this book. Finally, the chapter provides the objective for writing this book and outlines, in a summarised manner, the basic content of all the remaining chapters of the book.
Article
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This paper examines the future roles and determinants of foreign domestic workers living in United Arab Emirates (UAE) society as well as the implications of their work on local Emirati families. Using in-depth interviews with 30 local employers in the UAE, we argue that the structural dependency on domestic workers (henceforward referred to as “khadama dependency syndrome”) will not only intensify due to complex micro- and macro-level factors, but also transform into a long-term dependency, given the changing demographic and family structures in the context of rapid globalization. This empirical study situates the perceptions of local UAE families on the determinants of foreign domestic work, and their complex and multiple effects on UAE society, culture, and economy. The study also conceptually examines the globalizing effects of long-term structural dependency on foreign domestic workers.
Chapter
This chapter forms the substantive section on the historical genesis of the crime of trafficking in persons under international law. The chapter intends to provide the reader with a historical understanding of the stages and phases that took place and which finally resulted in the international community adopting the current TIP Protocol 2000 which provides the most widely accepted definition of what amounts to trafficking in persons. The chapter defines the crime of human trafficking and analyses its constituent three elements of the action, means and purpose elements and points out its implications for the states parties to the TIP Protocol 2000 and the Organised Crime Convention 2000. The chapter examines almost all the individual constitutive components of the action, means and purpose elements. This analysis serves to lay a foundation for examining the criminalisation provisions of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act 2008 in Chap. 7. It also helps to gauge Tanzania’s compliance or implementation of its international and domestic anti-trafficking obligations assumed under the TIP Protocol 2000 in so far as the obligation to criminalise the crime of trafficking in persons is concerned.
Chapter
This concluding chapter offers three overarching arguments that I make across the book. First, I revisit the concept of the ‘will to change’ introduced in the first chapter and argue that it is important to examine more closely the multiple subjectivities produced by ‘will-full’ migrant women. These subjectivities are constituted through the intertwined but often contradictory discourses on ‘filial duty,’ ‘hope,’ and ‘protection’ that emerge from traditional and newly emergent economic, political, and social formations in the country. Second, I analyse the implications of this migration trajectory for social reproduction at the destinations and in Ethiopia, noting that there is a double depletion in women’s capacities for social reproduction. Ethiopian migrant women are part of the ‘global care chain’ and help to fill the care deficit in the destination countries, while at the same time seeking to support their families in Ethiopia. Despite this double depletion, migrant women often still find resources for the pursuit of the personal goal of changing their own lives. Finally, I draw the first two arguments into a framework of ‘agency as projects’ and ‘agency as power,’ to make a case for the degree and direction of the transformations that Ethiopian women’s migration has generated.
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Today, increases of so-called ‘low-skilled’ and temporary labour migrations to Australia—including via dedicated seasonal labour schemes targeted to Pacific Islanders—occur alongside calls for Indigenous people to ‘orbit’ from their remote communities in search of employment opportunities. These trends reflect the prevailing neoliberalism within contemporary Australia, as well as the effects of structural dynamics within the global agriculture and resource extractive industries. However, they are also, often, reflective of the rich cultures and histories of mobility, and the diverse ‘worlding’ practices of those who move, as well as of forces that compel movement. Drawing together historians, anthropologists, sociologists and geographers, the edited collection that this chapter introduced critically explores experiences of labour mobility (and immobility) by Indigenous peoples and Pacific Islanders, including Māori, within Australia. We seek to locate these new expressions of labour mobility within historical patterns of movement, including longer-term migrations, mobilities and diasporic settlements; in doing so, we also seek to comment on the contours and continuities of Australian coloniality in its diverse articulations. Strong commonalities of experience emerge, including the role of labour relations in colonialist efforts to produce and discipline particular kinds of Indigenous and Pacific Islander subjects; the ambivalent role of regulation in both ameliorating and reproducing colonial inequalities; and the complex interplay of coercion and agency as Indigenous and Pacific Islander people variously seek out, resist and negotiate experiences of labour mobility.
Chapter
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In Oman, Bangladeshis are now the most important community of migrants among South Asians. Among them are fishermen who represent a paradigmatic example of the difficult situation most low skilled workers have to face in the Gulf countries. Based on fieldworks in Hatiya, a small island of the Bay of Bengal from where these fishermen are originating, and in several harbours of Oman, I intend to highlight the different mechanisms which make migration a very risky gamble for these men. From the recruitment process through local networks, the conditions of work and salaries, the unavoidable path to an irregular status and eventually the arrest and deportation of most of these workers, I propose to show how, structurally, their migratory experience almost always leads to failure and increased poverty.
Article
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In this methods-building article, I show how attention to long-term continuities in female enslavement patterns helps us understand the emergence of the Black Atlantic. Slavery, I argue, is one form of human parasitism. I extend Orlando Patterson’s theory of human parasitism to examine the phenomenon of parasitic intertwining, wherein the forced labor of women became integral to broader social projects including household functioning, elite status maintenance, and population expansion. The thousand-year period between the fall of Rome and the rise of the transatlantic slave trade was once described as a rupture in European slavery, with serfdom gradually supplanting slavery. The mass capture, transport, and enslavement of women, however, continued even as male slaves and ex-slaves gained significant status changes. The entrenchment of women in zonal slave trades generated both a potent cultural logic and a structural blueprint for the transatlantic trade.
Chapter
This chapter traces the origins of contemporary conceptualizations and debates about human trafficking back to the end of the nineteenth century. It discusses the negotiations that led to the creation of the Palermo Protocol on human trafficking.
Chapter
Full-text available
The world is experiencing one of the largest movements of people in history with 65 million people displaced by conflict in 2015, the majority of which were from Asia. This book brings a deep engagement with individuals whose lives are shaped by encounters with borders by telling the stories of a poor Bangladeshi women who regularly crosses the India border to visit family, of Muslims from India living in Gulf countries for work, and the harrowing journey of a young Afghan man as he sets off on foot to Germany. The international and interdisciplinary work in this book contributes to this moment by analyzing how borders are experienced by migrants and borderlanders in South Asia, how mobility and diaspora are engaged in literature and media, and how the lives of migrants are transformed during their journey to new homes in South Asia, the Middle East, North America, and Europe.
Chapter
Full-text available
The world is experiencing one of the largest movements of people in history with 65 million people displaced by conflict in 2015, the majority of which were from Asia. This book brings a deep engagement with individuals whose lives are shaped by encounters with borders by telling the stories of a poor Bangladeshi women who regularly crosses the India border to visit family, of Muslims from India living in Gulf countries for work, and the harrowing journey of a young Afghan man as he sets off on foot to Germany. The international and interdisciplinary work in this book contributes to this moment by analyzing how borders are experienced by migrants and borderlanders in South Asia, how mobility and diaspora are engaged in literature and media, and how the lives of migrants are transformed during their journey to new homes in South Asia, the Middle East, North America, and Europe.
Article
In June 2017, a geopolitical crisis that emerged in the Arab Gulf between Qatar and several of its neighboring countries resulted in the severing of diplomatic ties and the imposition of a land, sea, and air embargo on Qatar. This article explores how the import, production, and consumption of food in Qatar came to constitute a key geopolitical axis during the first year of the crisis. Building on scholarly work that examines food as not just a part of the economic and social fields but also a form of political engagement, I argue that food became an important arena of politics during the blockade in several ways. First, the state’s reorganization of trade networks and its support for Qatari agricultural production became a site for the expansion of the state’s food security agenda. Second, the consumption of food—and the physical space of the supermarket itself—became a geopolitical battleground as new trade arrangements led to the replacement of products made by “blockading countries” with those from alternative ones. The intensification of local agricultural production, in turn, forged a “buy local” consumer culture that shaped, and was shaped by, nationalist sentiments. Looking closely at the import, production, and consumption of food during the blockade illuminates the ways in which food is an everyday medium through which state ideologies and state imaginings of the nation are constructed and circulated.
Book
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The present volume sets forth to analyse illustrative aspects of the deep-rooted immersion of the populations of the eastern coasts of Africa in the vast network of commercial, cultural and religious interactions that extend to the Middle-East and the Indian subcontinent, as well as the long-time involvement of various exogenous military, administrative and economic powers (Ottoman, Omani, Portuguese, Dutch, British, French and, more recently, European-Americans). The present volume is the product of one of the main activities of this CRG: organizing AEGIS international thematic conferences on African in the Indian Ocean. The second such conference took place in Lisbon, at ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon, on April 10th April 2015, convened by the Centre of International Studies, and organized by Iain Walker (Max Plank Institute), Manuel João Ramos (CEI-IUL), and Preben Kaarsholm (Roskilde University). The chapters in this book are a selection of reviewed and revised contributions to that conference. The chapters are presented chronologically, from the 16th century to the present day, and are contextually paired (Eastern Africa and Madagascar, the Horn, and South Africa). This is certainly not a comprehensive and final book on the intertwining relationship between African participation in the regional trading and cultural networks of the Indian Ocean and the hegemonic presence of world powers in the area. Its purpose is rather to contribute, with a few meaningful exemplary case-studies, to assert the need for further and more inclusive investigation. It touches upon questions that have been independently addressed by different regional and inter-regional research networks (African studies, Gulf studies, Indian Ocean studies, Southwest Asian studies, etc.). The role of the Indian Ocean in global security, the increasing involvement of India and China in the economies of contemporary African states and the cultural links that bind eastern Africa to the Indian Ocean littoral are both intricate and temporally deep. The editors of this book hope that it may serve as a useful tool to bridge the different social sciences and regional studies areas, and create a clearer awareness of the deep-rooted, and evolving, ties between Africa and the Indian Ocean.
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