Fay Gale Lecture 2016: Invisible and Dying: Women crossing borders in South East Asia

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About the Speaker

Sharon Pickering is a Professor of Criminology and Head of the School of Social Sciences at Monash University. She was most recently an Australian Research Council Future Fellow on Border Policing. She is Series Editor with

Katja Franko Aas (Oslo University) and Mary Bosworth (Oxford University) of Routledge Studies in Criminal Justice, Borders and Citizenship and is the former Editor of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology.

Sharon is the Founder and Director of the Border Crossing Observatory – an innovative virtual research centre that produces high quality and independent research on border crossings. She has authored 14 books and over 60 journal articles and book chapters. She has served on the ERA research evaluation committee and currently serves on the ARC College.

Professor Pickering researches irregular border crossing and has written extensively in the areas of refugees and trafficking with a focus on gender and human rights. She leads a series of Australian Research Council projects focusing on the intersections of security and migration, deportation, and police and community responses to Prejudice Motivated Crimes. She won the Australian Human Rights Award in 2012 for print and online media on human rights and asylum. Her co-authored book with Leanne Weber Globalisation and Borders: Death at the Global Frontier won the Christine M Alder book prize in 2013 and she was the 2014 winner of the British Journal of Criminology Radzinowicz Memorial Prize for best article titled ‘Hotpants at the border: Sorting sex work from trafficking‘ with Julie Ham. With A/Professor Leanne Weber she established the Australian Border Deaths Database and with co-operation of major international agencies is now expanding that to be the leading international research platform on border deaths in South East Asia.

Compared to any other region in the world, South East Asia has the largest volume of irregular border crossings, what many refer to as ‘illegal’ migration. Border crossings have become far more hazardous and lethal than in the past, and the female share of those crossing borders has grown dramatically. Yet the circumstances driving women’s crossing, the risks and harms they face, and their deaths are largely invisible. This lecture will make the case that women’s deaths are often foreseeable and preventable, and profoundly shaped by gender. It will chart the irregular migration journeys of women in our region, showing where, how and why it is changing. It will identify the ways that social science research can promote greater recognition and accountability for these border deaths, and more humanitarian approaches to managing borders in the region.

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