Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Book Review in the Journal of Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society

One of the best things about being an academic and professor is that people send you free books! As a book connoisseur and enthusiast this is an aspect of the job that I hope will never loose its luster. I receive free books from publishers to adopt for my classes and I also receive them in order to review them for academic journals. I recently reviewed a great book from Irina Mukhina on Women and the Birth of Russian Capitalism: A History of the Shuttle Trade. It was published in a special issue of the Journal of Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society on Gender, Nationalism, and Citizenship in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine. It is great to be featured among a number of notable gender scholars from my region and I am looking forward to receiving the entire paperback copy of the issue in the mail soon (yes, you also get a free copy of the journal when you write for it). You can also read my book review for free if you follow this link

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Role of Anti-trafficking Organizations in Human Trafficking Policy Implementation

It is always nice to see an article I worked on for months finally published. Especially since most academic articles go through two reviewers, editors, and numerous revisions that it such a sense of accomplishment when it finally appears in print. I started working on this article "The Role of Anti-trafficking Organizations in Human Trafficking Policy Implementation" back in April 2015 and it was finally published this week (almost a year later) in a special issue on Modern Slavery and Extreme Exploitation in Globalised Labour and Gender Relations of Femina Politica: Feminist Journal of Political Science.

The paper examines how human trafficking non-governmental and international organizations in the Post-Soviet region act in forming norms and values contributing to the implementation of international law into national law. Utilizing most similar case studies of Ukraine, Latvia, and Russia, the article begins by addressing three ways NGOs have helped guide policy implementation focusing on monitoring implementation, building and shaping anti-trafficking institutions, and strengthening government capacity. It also discusses the constraints that impede this type of assistance in all three countries. This paper demonstrates the ways NGOs have held governments accountable when this implementation has fallen short and by doing this, have helped instill international norms and values related to human trafficking into society. NGOs in these states succeeded with alterations in legal regulations and contributed to public awareness of human trafficking by cooperation with international organizations.

It was my first solo authored piece from my dissertation fieldwork and it is exciting to see all of that hard work pay off. It is also appropriate because it was the first opportunity I had to go back over the implementation findings from my research and it is great to reflect on that as I work on the implementation chapter for my book. If you would like to read the article you can access it here

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Effective Counter Human Trafficking Strategies: Exploring the Latest Research Webinar

On Friday afternoon I attended a very interesting webinar sponsored by the Polaris Project and Google entitled "Effective Counter Human Trafficking Strategies: Exploring the Latest Research." It featured a number of scholars on trafficking including Amy Farrell, Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University and Vanessa Bouche, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Texas Christian University. I have read their research and met both via email so it was great to hear them speak in person (via webinar). They spoke about their recently published Department of Justice study entitled Identifying Effective Counter-Trafficking Programs and Practices in the U.S.: Legislative, Legal, and Public Opinion Strategies that Work. The research examined the effectiveness of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (the national level legislation on human trafficking adopted in 2000) including the criminal justice based anti-trafficking strategies and the public's response to these campaigns.

Some of the most interesting findings they presented were about the shift in prosecutions from the federal to the state level as legislation on the state level has developed. They also said most of the forced labor cases were adjudicated on the federal level which I think suggests the nature of that crime and demonstrates that states are just not equipped to investigate that aspect of the crime yet. Safe harbor legislation increased prosecutions for traffickers on the state level which is a very interesting finding for Georgia as well look to pass this legislation. They also said that the post-it laws led to arrests and were among the strongest predictors of trafficking identification which is also a good sign as we work to implement that legislation in Georgia. One of the most important points from their study for my research in Eastern Europe was that prosecutions and holding traffickers accountable takes investment and states needed more than just criminalization statutes to effectively combat human trafficking. Although I was most interested in the academic research presented at the webinar, there were two other speakers who also presented the practitioner side of things.

It was also the first time I ever live tweeted an event and it was interesting to see what all of the people were saying about it on twitter. Overall, it was a great webinar and I am glad I have the opportunity and time to watch it. If you are interested in watching the webinar, you can watch the video here.