I am a recent graduate of the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs and am currently undertaking research through a Fulbright Grant on migrant labor and human trafficking issues in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Although I am permanently stationed in Bahrain, I have widened the scope of my research to the greater Persian Gulf since many of the issues seen in Bahrain’s labor market are pervasive and shared by a number of its neighbors. I began posting on a personal research blog and recently came across the Human Trafficking Project. I am excited to share my findings and thoughts on the subject as I prepare a comprehensive analysis following my eight months of research in the island kingdom.
I first learned about human trafficking issues during a summer internship I completed with the Department of State at the American Embassy in Muscat, Oman. Tasked with collecting data to provide updates to the Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, I was given pertinent insight into the labor climates of the Persian Gulf and was directly introduced to the environments that sustain them while living abroad. A political scientist by trade, I find it fascinating to view human trafficking in a context that extends beyond economics, social development or anthropology. Instead my interests in the Persian Gulf stem from the region’s emerging political systems that host rapidly developing economies alongside substantial natural resource wealth, and national populations that are simply unable to accommodate such growth without the assistance of outsourced labor. These current political structures that champion distinguished financial and personal privileges for national citizens and offer limited freedoms and services to expatriates perpetuate a system of migrant labor and often can produce victims of trafficking. I hope that my research will present a clear understanding of these issues and provide new insight into foreseeing risks for trafficking and suggest new ways to approach the topic in this region.
After my research is complete, I will be returning to the United States and enrolling in Georgetown University’s Masters of Arab Studies Program in the Walsh School of Foreign Service.