Humanitarian Detention and Deportation: The IOM and Anti-Trafficking in Laos

  • Estelle Miramond
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


Since 1999, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been active in the fight against human trafficking in the Greater Mekong sub-region, particularly in Thailand, which is considered a major destination country for victims of trafficking. Taking Lao migrants as a case study, this chapter examines anti-trafficking programmes and their effects on women and girls identified as ‘victims of trafficking’ (VoT) or ‘at risk’ of human trafficking. It contrasts their experiences with the discursive and material tools developed and disseminated by the IOM which markedly shape the war against human trafficking and, more specifically, the disciplinary initiatives adopted by the region’s governments. On the basis of extensive ethnographic research in Laos, this study challenges the role played by the IOM in anti-trafficking processes of VoT rehabilitation and return and posits that these policies and programmes aimed at protecting women’s bodies come at the expense of their rights.


Counter-trafficking Rehabilitation shelters Immobilisation Lao women Thailand 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Estelle Miramond
    • 1
  1. 1.Paris Diderot University (Paris VII)ParisFrance

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