The University of Iowa

'Trafficked Survivors and Commoditization of Women’s Bodies' talk Sept. 5

September 4th, 2013

Dr. Ajailiu Niumai will present a talk Thursday, Sept. 5 on “Trafficked Survivors and Commoditization of Women’s Bodies: A Study in Andhra Pradesh and Manipur, North East India.” Her presentation will be held from 4:30-6:00 p.m. in 302 Schaeffer Hall. The event is free and open to the public. Chai and snacks will be served.

Niumai examines the phenomenon of human trafficking, explores the stories of survivors, and investigates the process of commoditization of bodies amongst women and children in Andhra Pradesh and Manipur. Andhra Pradesh has emerged as the largest supplier of women and children for sexual exploitation in India, and trafficking is prevalent at various levels - local, inter-districts, inter-state and cross-border. Cross border trafficking from A.P. mostly occurs in the form of contract marriages to the Middle East. About 70% of victims come from groups that live below the poverty line and an equal number belong to the Scheduled Castes and Backward Castes.  Trafficking is also associated with devadasi system, which still persists in some villages. However, trafficking in the Northeast is a contemporary phenomenon without ties to tradition. The international territorial borders in the Northeast are largely open. Trafficking is largely a borderless organized crime; India is fast becoming a source, transit point as well as a destination for trafficked women. The problem is that human trafficking remains mostly under-reported and untraced in spite of the fact that several international initiatives have been taken to force governments into action. This paper would examine the ‘push and pull’ theory and also ‘silence and shame’ theory in relationship to empirical data.

Niumai is the Raman Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies at UI. She is an associate professor at the University of Hyderabad.

This event is presented by the South Asian Studies Program in International Programs. For more information, contact Meena Khandelwal at or (319)-335-2496.