Trafficking Past featuring Australia

Over the next year, the Trafficking Past team will continue to strengthen our collaboration with a number of Australian Institutions, especially the Laureate Research Programme in International History at the University of Sydney. On 21 August 2017, Philippa will be presenting on ‘Imperial Governmentalities and the Campaign Against the Traffic in Women in the Russian Empire‘ at the University of Sydney History department, and on 18 September she will present ‘Between Moscow, Geneva and Shanghai: The League of Nations’ campaigns against the traffic in Russian women refugees from the Soviet Union‘ at the Gender Institute within the Australian National University. Then, on April 12-13 2018, Julia and Philippa will travel to Australia to co-host the workshop ‘Trafficking, Smuggling and Illicit Migration in International History: New Geographic and Scalar Perspectives’ with Professor Glenda Sluga of the Laureate Research Programme in International History, University of Sydney.

This latter workshop, which will bring together scholars working on or based in Oceania and the Asia-Pacific region, will ask how our global and international histories of trafficking and illicit migration change if we bring new geographies into the mix, and in doing so open up the geopolitics of our scholarly discussions about intimate labour and illicit migration. At the same time, it will centre questions of scale in our discussions of trafficking, interrogating the analytic distinctions made between the micro/local and the macro/global levels of analysis in histories of trafficking and illicit migration.

More broadly, we hope that our ongoing collaboration with Australian universities will not only help to forge lasting connections between humanities scholars based in the UK and Australia, but will also help us to reframe our ongoing discussions about sex and illicit migration through engagement with a new geographic context. Much of the existing literature on trafficking focuses on the Europe to North/South America nexus, with emergent work also emphasising the Middle East and South Asia. Little scholarship thus far has examined Australia or New Zealand.  The work of Trafficking Past PI, Julia Laite, seeks to address precisely this lacuna, as her forthcoming monograph on trafficking throughout the British Empire (including Oceania) will elaborate. By engaging with Australian scholars and institutions, we hope to internationalise further the field of trafficking history and place the British and Russian genealogies we trace in a truly global perspective.

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