Combatting child trafficking in the EU and ASEAN
Delving into the issue of “The role of European border controls in the framing of global migrations” implies to look at the diffusion of norms and the application of common policies at the intra-European level before examining the complex implications of those norms on, firstly, the targets of those norms – the migrants –, and secondly, on the shaping of migration laws, policies and operational tools in third countries. It leads us to interrogate the very notion of “border” – as a geographical delimitation, but also as the marker of a symbolic space, a sign of the delimitation between Us and Them, a place of transition and transgression, a place of penetration. Foucault argues that conflict is an organizational principle of the civitas (that is woven into the discourse of “civilisation”. He invites us to examine the relation of peace and war under a light different from the easy binarism established through modern discourse (Foucault 1980). In a similar way, migration must be examined concomitantly with the notions of delimitation, of inside and outside. Border controls mark this moment of transitioning from one space to the other, and is thus over-determined in terms of language and collective imagination, as an account of the notion of border in media, literary and political discourses will show.
Examining the question of transnational child trafficking provides us with a telling case study on the management of migratory flows. Childhood being itself overdetermined in the public imagination, but also within law, it links together questions of agency, protection and criminalisation within the dichotomy of “victims” and “criminals”.
At the European Union level, border security has evolved progressively. Increased operational cooperation was put in place as a compensatory measure. Since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty (2009), which aims at communitising JHA, the EU’s management of external borders has become more integrated, through, among others, deeper operational cooperation through Frontex, and the development of technical infrastructure, such as the Smart Borders package, and the SIS II, VIS, Eurodac, PNR, EES and RTP data sharing systems. The EU is thus experiencing a double movement: it enhances freedom of movement inside its borders, whilst strengthening the collective control of its external borders. The same evolution can be witnessed in matters of the legislative and policy framework pertaining to human trafficking in the EU: the EU is a forerunner in the judicial framing of the issue, with for example the seminal Directive 2011/36/, yet concrete policy initiatives between states lack backing in resources for them to be effective (interviews with Europol representatives, June and December 2016). Hence, despite an increasingly coherent body of laws, the EU migration and border control policies are riddled with internal fragilities and inconsistencies.
As part of my PhD project, I will thus examine the silos and path dependencies in which EU migration and border control policies are embedded, focusing particularly on the question of child trafficking. In doing so, I will analyse in depth the multiplication of ad hoc and bilateral initiatives; the turn to securitization in the context of border management, leading to practices of criminalisation of children victims of trafficking; and the externalisation of European norms on border controls in the field of child trafficking, in particular in the ASEAN region.
This will lead me to better uncover the misunderstandings of the phenomenon of child trafficking, which has led to a policy response endangering the children involved even further, instead of protecting them (Busza, Castle & Diarra 2004; Huijsmans & Baker 2012; Whitehead & Hashim 2005; Yaqub 2009b), and to examine notions of agency as well as the frontier of age, and how it impacts victims’ protection. At present, the literature frames trafficking mainly as an illicit migration issue, or uses a candid victimisation discourse, when neither of those approaches reflect the complex dimensions of child trafficking. Research stresses that there is, in particular, a lack of understanding in academic and policy circles of the:
- Nature of the phenomenon: human trafficking has traditionally been framed as: a) a threat to national and international security, b) a human rights issue.
- Scope of the phenomenon: child trafficking is difficult to measure precisely due to its hidden nature and the lack of reliable data, however sources estimate that there are over one million children trafficked annually, representing up to 50% of all trafficking victims (Hajdinjak 2002).
- Mechanisms: traditionally, a) debt bondage, the most common, b) false contracts c) chattel slavery, and d) war slavery, which affects predominantly children.
- Push and pull factors.
- Conducive environments.
This will allow me to reflect more broadly on the EU's ability to frame appropriate behaviours within ever more complex international regimes.
The EU and ASEAN present robust case study opportunities for an array of reasons:
- both regions have a strong systemic organisation with a web of relatively coherent policies and legislation at the regional and national level;
- both regions present preferential bilateral cooperation between their member states;
- cross-border flows within the two regions are high, and the EU is one of the destination regions of children trafficked out of ASEAN (UNODC 2014);
- ASEAN is one of the regions most hardly affected by human trafficking;
- children are the main victims of trafficking in ASEAN countries whereas globally adults are the primary victims (humantrafficking.org; UNODC 2014).
A further narrowing down of countries for specific case studies within the two regions will need to be confirmed within the first year of the PhD, however, a number of countries are of particular interest due to their quality as main source countries for transnational trafficking (Lao, Myanmar/Burma, Thailand, Vietnam) and main destination or transit countries (UK, France, Italy, Belgium). Furthermore, a December 2016 interview with a Europol representative has highlighted that Vietnam and Thailand as key target countries for the law enforcement agency with regards to human trafficking, as they are in the process of setting up a specific (as of yet unofficial) cooperation with the national governments there.
During the months ahead, there will be a need to further define the case studies, and to define how the comparison between the EU and ASEAN will be operationalized in this study: is it more pertinent to look at the policies within each region? At the collaboration between the two? At the actual trafficking flows within, or between, them?
The proposed research aims to bring a substantial and original contribution to knowledge in the field of child trafficking, as it suggests filling gaps in academic and empirical research to date, with the view of providing a comprehensive, evidence-based policy plan, which is currently lacking. In doing so, the proposal hopes to offer solid legal and policy recommendations to decision makers and enhance the protection of child victims.
The significant contributions that the study will aim at establishing are to:
- provide a pluridisciplinary approach to child trafficking (legal, political, sociological perspectives);
- analyse the gaps in legislation in two regions (EU & ASEAN) at the regional and national level (countries to be determined within 1st year) providing a comparative analysis;
- collect innovative primary data (in particular through interviews of child victims and/or their representatives, depending on possibility of access);
- articulate field research, theoretical frameworks and policy perspectives (legal and social), grounded in the researcher’s professional experience of designing practical recommendations based on robust research;
- provide a methodologically sound comparative analysis of best practices.
This framework will enable me to map global trends and local specificities, and in doing so, find entry points for identifying victims. The study has a clearly applied character since the objective is not only to analyse the design and implementation of laws and programs aimed at addressing the effects of trafficking on children vulnerable to those practices, but also to provide evidence-based information on programs that show positive results in combating child trafficking. The results of these analyses could hopefully contribute to evidence based law and implementable policy developments to tackle the phenomenon of child trafficking and thus contribute to the protection of victims at multiple levels (international, national, local; public and private actors). Particular attention will therefore be paid to the implementability of the recommendations made and to the robustness of the methods used, the critical discussion and testing of the findings, and the evaluation of the different stakeholders, relevant policy sectors and policy responses.
Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan (04/2018-02/2019)
ECLAN, Brussels, Belgium (10/2017-03/2018)
Master in Public Law, Université Panthéon Sorbonne, France, 2012
MSc in International Relations Theory, London School of Economics and Political Sciences, United Kingdom, 2010
Master in Comparative Literature, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, France, 2009
Certified as a Political Consultant by the Association of Professional Political Consultants (since Jan. 2011)
Certified as a higher education professor (holder of the French “Agrégation”, Ministry of Education)
An experienced political advisor, since 2010 my clients have included consultancy firms, national and international public institutions and NGOs. I have in particular held positions as a Consultant in Politics and Public Policies for an international advocacy NGO (ONE.org), the London School of Economics’ consultancy arm (LSE Consulting), London-based lobbying firm Tetra Strategy, and UNESCO.
I currently teach two graduate classes in European studies at the Sorbonne University in Paris on “Migration and asylum in Europe: policy and legal frameworks” (B5A9E2) and on “Trafficking and smuggling of human beings in Europe” (BZAM96; BYAM9K).
Volunteer work as Associate Editor at the Cambridge Review of International Relations, Workshop Facilitator & Fundraiser for a Bosnian NGO (Most Mira), and Conference Organiser.
- Asylum & migration
- Child trafficking (trafficking in human beings)
- Comparative regionalism
- Global governance
- International development
- International relations
- Norm creation & diffusion
- Post-conflict reconciliation
- Public policies
CONFERENCES & TRAININGS
Presenter, International Studies Association (ISA) 59th Annual Convention, “Power of Rules and Rule of Power” (San Francisco, April 2018)
Presenter, Conference for European Studies (CES) 25th International Conference of Europeanists, “Europe and the World: Mobilities, Values and Citizenship” (Chicago, March 2018)
Participant, QMUL workshop, "Doing international political sociology" (University of London in Paris, February 2018)
Invitee, Jean Monnet Biennial Conference, "Turning Point for Europe" (Brussels, November 2017)
Participant, GEM-STONES, Annual Conference & Skills Modules, (LUISS, Rome, April 2017)
Participant, GEM-STONES, Spring Methods Workshop, (GIGA, Hamburg, March 2017)
Participant, GEM-STONES, Kick-off Instigation AGORA Forum, (ULB, Brussels, February 2017)
Participant, GEM-STONES, Winter Methods Workshop (CBS, Copenhagen, January 2017)
Senior coordinator for the French working group, Odysseus Summer School, “EU Immigration and Asylum Law and Policy” (Brussels, July 2016)
Participant, ECLAN Summer School, “The EU Area of Criminal Justice” (Brussels, July 2016)
Panelist, EurActiv, “Development aid’s role in improving maternal health and reducing child mortality” (Permanent representation of the European Commission in France, Paris, 27 May 2014). Panelist, alongside senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the French Development Agency and Parliament
Speaker, Paris International Conference, Ars Identitas, “Sites of Memory, Anamnesis and Representation of Identity” (Paris, September 2011). Presented a paper entitled “Harry Potter’s poetics of ambiguity: the quest for contemporary identity”
Organiser, London School of Economics, “Indefinite immigration detention” (London, 2010). 150 participants. Speakers from UNHCR, ILPA, LDSG, LSE, …
Chair of exhibition and festivities committees, London School of Economic’s Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism (ASEN), “Forging the Nation: Performance and Ritual in the (Re)production of the Nation” (London, April 2011)
Articles and book chapters (selected)
E. Narminio* & M. Kapell, “Between Aliens and Avatar: Mapping the Shifting Terrain of the Struggle for Women’s Rights” in The Films of James Cameron: Critical Essays (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2011). * first author
E. Narminio, “Aesthetics and Politics: Tragedy as a Paradigmatic Category in International Relations” (December 18, 2009), E-International Relations.
Policy papers and reports (selected)
ONE. The 2015 DATA report: Putting the Poorest First. ONE, May 2015.
ONE. Poverty is Sexist: why girls and women must be at the heart of the fights to end extreme poverty. ONE, March 2015.
ONE. The 2014 DATA report: Fighting Poverty and Financing Africa’s Future. ONE, October 2014.
ONE. Going for Goal: Immunisation and the Case for GAVI. ONE, May 2014.
K. Davaki, E. Narminio, C. Marzo. “Discrimination generated by the intersection of gender and disability”. Brussels: European Parliament, DG Internal Policies, May 2013.
L. Brunet, K. Davaki, J. McCandless, E. Narminio, et al. “A comparative study on the legal regime of surrogacy in the EU Member States”. Brussels: European Parliament, DG Internal Policies, June 2013.
P. Paech et al. "Directors’ Duties and Liabilities in EU27+Croatia". European Commission, DG Internal Markets and Services, April 2013.
W. Bartlett et al. "Vocational Education and Training (VET) as a tool for Social Cohesion and Inclusion in the Western Balkans, Turkey and Israel". European Training Foundation, 2013.
S. Milio, E. Narminio, L. Todaro. "Evaluation of the project “European Local Cooperation for Integration (ELCI)". International Organisation for Migration, May 2012.
S. Milio, E. Narminio, N. Durazzi. "Costs and Benefits of Labour Mobility between the EU and the Eastern Partnership Partner Countries". European Commission, EuropeAid ENPI, May 2012.