Trafficking and protection: theorising reintegration and defining success
Author: Bearup, Luke S, Luke.Bearup@gmail.com
Department: Humanities and Social Sciences
University: Deakin University, Australia
Supervisor: Karen Lane
Year of completion: 2015
Language of dissertation: english
Areas of Research:
Women in Society
, Social Movements, Collective Action and Social Change
Trafficking and Protection: Theorising Reintegration and Defining Success
Grounded upon primary research in Cambodia, a theory of ‘reintegration’ is proposed for victims of human trafficking and sexual violence, and benchmarks for assessing reintegrative success. Drawing upon a cosmopolitan conception of shared vulnerability, it is argued that a life lived with dignity chiefly depends upon access to either modernist or traditional forms of reciprocal recognition made available through participation within groups, communities and social institutions.
The field of victim protection has seen a gradual shift in focus away from individual ‘recovery’, towards an emphasis upon ‘supported reintegration’. It is argued that this change is indicative of progress towards achieving a normative conception of just reparations that is more closely aligned with the moral expectations, perspectives and experiences of victims. Conceptualising reintegration, however, requires going beyond rights discourse and the ‘procedural’ protective interventions of NGOs, and discerning the ‘substantive’, reciprocal, socio-cultural processes between an individual and their receiving community.
With the aim of exploring local perspectives on reintegrative success, 53 intensive qualitative interviews were undertaken with Cambodian recipients of assistance, family members, and those professionally engaged in facilitating ‘reintegration assistance’. While they held contrasting perspectives, a convergence emerged upon the primacy of acceptance. Yet its attainment was divergently configured within more traditional collectivistic and modern individualistic social milieu. Accordingly, I have identified both reintegrative and reflexive-integrative pathways to success. Reintegrative success was substantively achieved when a recipient experienced herself as being duly honoured, affirmed and fully recognised in her role within the family and community she has (re)joined. Conversely, reflexive-integrative success was substantively achieved when a recipients’ personal autonomy was established and maintained through access to recognitional relations within interpersonal relationships, the public sphere and market-based relations, and supported through the achievement of reflexivity.
It is argued that protection assistance should therefore incorporate an emphasis upon either ‘reintegration’ to generally stable forms of traditional community, or ‘reflexive-integration’ into more differentiated social groups existing within modern liberal-capitalist milieus. These equally valid integrative outcomes require differentiated approaches, and have important implications for the provision of protection assistance, and efforts to prevent and to prosecute human trafficking.
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