About this MIDEQ Share Out

Forced migration, in the form of trafficking of Nepalese women to various parts of India for various purposes including sexual has a long history and is an extremely sensitive issue and is linked with gender, migration, poverty, work, sex, money, power and violence. Analysis of lived experiences of women experienced trafficking showed that the women may be able to escape trafficking physically; however legal and social labelling (stigma) of women continues to affect all aspects of their lives. These labels are linked with the women’s perceived sexuality and build on gender based violence the women encounter in the trafficking process. Even on their return home these processes of social labelling often negatively characterise women as ‘bad women’, as morally and socially degraded and/or as a criminals responsible for HIV transmission. These women are eventually blamed for bringing ‘shame’ to their families and society at large. These consequences are imposed by Nepalese society, and contribute to various forms of social rejection enforced on women on their return disqualifying them from achieving the formal citizenship that they are entitled to.

This social rejection sets trafficked returnee women apart from other women and prevents them taking part in cultural functions within the family and communities; setting up economic activities; accessing services and resources for example health, education and legal assistance, and receiving skills training.

Dr Meena Poudel's research examines the processes and consequences of social rejection experienced by trafficked women in Nepal and how these processes interact with the socio-cultural context of Nepal from the perspectives of trafficked women who have returned from various trafficking settings in Nepal and India. This study also explores the contexts in which women are stigmatised, labels are attributed to them, social rejection is constructed, the consequences are experienced and tactics and strategies employed by trafficked to resist social rejection in the cultural context that women have returned to.

Date and Time

20 July 2021 at 11:00 - 12:30 BST

Our Speaker

Dr Meena Poudel is a Nepali sociologist with a long and committed history of development work, research and feminist activism. She has worked on issues affecting lives of socially excluded and politically marginalized groups in Nepal and other parts of the south, southeast and central Asia, western Europe, and North Africa. Meena has previously worked in various national and international organizations including Oxfam GB, USAID, UN systems and academia.

Before returning to migration policy work, Meena was a research fellow for the period of 2008 – 2013 at Newcastle University under the Economic and Social Research Council — ESRC Res-062-23-1490 project titled 'Post Trafficking in Nepal: Sexuality and Citizenship in Livelihood Strategies'. This project was part of implementing her key findings of PhD research (2004-2008) funded by Newcastle University. She was also a faculty member of College of Development Studies of Purbanchal University, Nepal for the period of 2011 – 2016 where she was teaching gender and social inclusion course. Meena was also visiting faculty in 2014 -2017 for Mewar University, School of Sociology, Rajasthan, India to supervise Nepali PhD researchers.

In recent years Meena is exploring various aspects of the lives of women, men and children vulnerable to and experienced unregulated migration in south (Afghanistan) and central Asia (Uzbekistan, Tajikistan) as well as North Africa (Libya). She has written widely on these issues that include a single-authored book: Dealing with Hidden Issues: Social Rejection Experienced by Trafficked women in Nepal.


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