Researching Trafficked Women: On Institutional Resistance and the Limits to Feminist Reflexivity

Qualitative Inquiry, Vol. 17, p. 769, 2011

Villanova Law/Public Policy Research Paper No. 2011-21

Posted: 19 Nov 2011

See all articles by Michelle Madden Dempsey

Michelle Madden Dempsey

Villanova University School of Law

Mary Bosworth

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law; University of Oxford - Border Criminologies

Carolyn Hoyle

University of Oxford - Centre for Criminological Research

Date Written: November 1, 2011

Abstract

This article exposes methodological barriers we encountered in a small research project on women trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation and our attempts, drawing on feminist and emergent methods, to resolve them. It critically assesses the role of institutional gatekeepers and the practical challenges faced in obtaining data directly from trafficking victims. Such difficulties, it suggests, spring at least in part from lingering disagreements within the feminist academic, legal, and advocacy communities regarding the nature, extent and definition of trafficking. They also reveal concerns from policy makers and practitioners over the relevance and utility of academic research. While feminist researchers have focused on building trust with vulnerable research participants, there has been far less discussion about how to persuade institutional elites to cooperate. Our experiences in this project, we suggest, reveal limitations in the emphasis on reflexivity in feminist methods, and point to the need for more strategic engagement with policy-makers about the utility of academic research in general.

Keywords: Trafficking, Prostitution, Victims, Methodology, Empirical Research

Suggested Citation

Dempsey, Michelle Madden and Bosworth, Mary and Hoyle, Carolyn, Researching Trafficked Women: On Institutional Resistance and the Limits to Feminist Reflexivity (November 1, 2011). Qualitative Inquiry, Vol. 17, p. 769, 2011; Villanova Law/Public Policy Research Paper No. 2011-21. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1961745

Michelle Madden Dempsey (Contact Author)

Villanova University School of Law ( email )

299 N. Spring Mill Road
Villanova, PA 19085
United States

Mary Bosworth

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )

University of Oxford - Border Criminologies ( email )

Manor Road Building
Manor Rd
Oxford, OX1 3UQ
United Kingdom

Carolyn Hoyle

University of Oxford - Centre for Criminological Research ( email )

12 Bevington Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX2 6LH
United Kingdom

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
653
PlumX Metrics