Safe Migration and the Politics of Brokered Safety in Southeast Asia  book cover
1st Edition

Safe Migration and the Politics of Brokered Safety in Southeast Asia

ISBN 9781032015439
Published July 20, 2021 by Routledge
228 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The book investigates how the United Nations, governments, and aid agencies mobilise and instrumentalise migration policies and programmes through a discourse of safe migration.

Since the early 2000s, numerous non-governmental organizations (NGOs), UN agencies, and governments have warmed to the concept of safe migration, often within a context of anti-trafficking interventions. Yet, both the policy-enthusiasm for safety, as well as how safe migration comes into being through policies and programs remain unexplored. Based on seven years of ethnographic fieldwork in the Mekong region, this is the first book that traces the emergence of safe migration, why certain aid actors gravitate towards the concept, as well as how safe migration policies and programmes unfold through aid agencies and government bodies. The book argues that safe migration is best understood as brokered safety. Although safe migration policy interventions attempt to formalize pre-emptive and protective measures to enhance labour migrants’ well-being, the book shows through vivid ethnographic details how formal migration assistance in itself depends on – and produces – informal asnd mediated practices.

The book offers unprecedented insights into what safe migration policies look like in practice. It is an innovate contribution to contemporary theorizing of contemporary forms of migration governance and will be of interest to sociologists, anthropologists, political scientists, and human geographers working within the fields of Migration studies, Development Studies, as well as Southeast Asian and Global Studies.

The Open Access version of this book, available at has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.

Table of Contents

1. Introducing safe migration  PART I SITUATING SAFETY IN MIGRATION  2. From traffic to safety: The allure of safe migration  3. Omnipresence and nothingness: Lao and Myanmar migrants compared  PART II MODALITIES OF INTERVENTION  4. Departures: Technologies of anticipation  5. State-centric safety and biometric economies: documents and recruitment chains  6. Destinations: hotlines and safety nets  PART III SAFETY MEDIATED  7. On Humanitarian spaces  8. Brokers, migrants and safety  9. informal Assistance  10. Conclusion

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Sverre Molland is a senior lecturer in Anthropology at the Australian National University, Australia. His research examines the intersections between migration, development and security in a comparative perspective, with specific focus on governance regimes and intervention modalities in mainland Southeast Asia.