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Sexual trafficking in Nepal: constructing citizenship and livelihoods

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Sexual trafficking is a priority issue for many governments and has increasingly become a focus for debate within the academy. Despite this, many aspects of sexual trafficking remain poorly understood. In this article we focus on an area that has received scant attention in the literature: the situation of trafficked women when they return home and, specifically, the livelihood opportunities available to them as they experience differing notions of citizenship. In addition to the fact that there has been very little attempt to document poverty alleviation strategies post-trafficking, within the mainstream development literature little attention has also been given to questions of sexuality and how they relate to development and poverty reduction strategies. The aim of this article, therefore, is to seek to highlight a new research agenda and to develop an interdisciplinary framework to understand what we have termed 'the sexual politics of poverty'. Bringing together distinct literatures on sexual citizenship and sustainable livelihoods we develop our analysis of these themes through a focus on the livelihood opportunities and strategies of returnee trafficked women in South Asia, drawing on policy analysis at national and regional levels and qualitative research carried out in Nepal. In particular, the Nepal case study highlights problems with skills training for returnee women and examines the relationship between marriage and sustainable livelihood opportunities.
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Keywords: Nepal; citizenship; livelihoods; poverty; sexual trafficking

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK

Publication date: June 1, 2009

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