CfP: Trafficking, Smuggling, and Illicit Migration in Historical Perspective, Birkbeck 18 – 20 June 2015

by | 16 Aug 2014

Human trafficking, human smuggling, and illicit migration are some of the most politically volatile and pressing issues in the present day. They are also the subject of a growing amount of sociological, criminological, and historical research. This combined conference and workshop aims to bring together the growing number of scholars who are currently working on the histories of trafficking, smuggling, and illicit and sexual migration from all regions in the modern period. In particular, it aims to critically engage with the concept of sexual trafficking in the past by exploring the way in which it was entangled with labour and with migration more broadly. Papers need not be limited, therefore, to the subject of trafficking: we encourage submissions from those working on smuggling and illicit migration as well, though we are especially interested in work from a gendered perspective.

Recognizing that this history is not only a long one with specific local contexts, but also a transnational, international, multinational, and multi-layered one, the conference is conceived of as a starting point for forming an international network of scholars who are working toward writing what must be, on some level, a collaborative project. With this in mind, part of the conference will take the form of a workshop, where delegates are given the space in which to discuss common themes and problems in their work, and potential formal collaboration. While the conference will be primarily be for historians, it also aims to provide a forum in which historians can engage interdisciplinary and publically: a roundtable plenary, which will be open to the public, policy makers, and organizations, will focus upon what history can add to present day debates about sex trafficking and related migration policy. Proposals for papers and expressions of interest in the workshop are invited from scholars at all stages of their careers.

The Conference will take place in Birkbeck, University of London, 18-20 June, 2015

Proposals for papers of 300–500 words should be sent to by 1 October, 2014.

Please indicate whether you would also be interested in participating in the workshop. If you only wish to be considered for a workshop place, please send a 150-200 word description of your research.

Conference Organizers:

Julia Laite, Department of History, Classics and Archaeology, Birkbeck, University of London

Laura Lammasniemi, PhD Candidate, School of Law, Birkbeck, University of London

Jessica Pliley, Department of History, Texas State University

Philippa Hetherington, Postdoctoral Fellow, Laureate Research Program in International History, University of Sydney


  1. Hi there,
    I am trying to submit an abstract for the conference and have been unable to do so. The error message tells me that the email is incorrect.
    Is there another email I might be able to send it to?

    Thank you,


  2. Dear organizers, Can you send details of the conference to my email address please as I would like to attend

    Carole Murphy


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