Of Vulnerability and Coercion: A Study of Sex Trafficking in Assam, India

Monday, 11 July 2016: 14:30
Location: Hörsaal 33 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Sawmya RAY, IIT Guwahati, India
This paper attempts to understand the issue of sex trafficking in Assam, India. It discusses the political, economic and socio-cultural context within which trafficking of women and girls take place for commercial sexual exploitation. Of specific concern is to understand the relation, if any, between existing gender norms, prevailing political conflicts and sex trafficking. It also seeks to analyse the strategies women build creating agencies to counter vulnerabilities to political conflicts and also to trafficking. This paper is based on data collected through informal interactions and group discussions with rescued trafficked women, interviews of state and non-state anti-trafficking personnel, observation at two shelter homes, and case studies collected from anti-trafficking organizations. This paper puts forward that gendered norms intersect with existing political economic factors to doubly disadvantage women vis-à-vis trafficking both in normal and times of conflict. Further, it argues that anti trafficking discourse in Assam largely infantilize women marking continuity in violence even in the post trafficking stage.