Prof. Pardis Mahdavi’s Book Explores Migration, Families and Law in the Persian Gulf

In her new book, Crossing the Gulf: Love and Family in Migrant Lives, Pomona College Professor of  Anthropology Pardis Mahdavi tells heartbreaking stories about migrants and trafficked mothers and their children in the Persian Gulf and talks to state officials, looking at how bonds of love get entangled with the law. Mahdavi talked to us about her book and the questions it poses about migration and families. This interview has been edited and condensed. Talk about the relationship between fami

WITNESS: ‘I was trafficked by my mother to pay family debt’

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation. This story was collected and edited by Pardis Mahdavi, a professor of anthropology at Pomona College, for Stories Beyond Borders, a database of first-person accounts about human trafficking and forced labour. Launched with support from Thomson Reuters Foundation, the project aims to build a body of testimony about the nature and scale of modern-day slavery. “I’m tired. I don’t want to work, but

Trafficking and Terror are the Subjects of Prof. Pardis Mahdavi's Latest Book

From Trafficking to Terror: Constructing a Global Social Problem is the latest book from Associate Prof. of Anthropology Pardis Mahdavi. Published in January, the volume is part of the Routledge "Framing 21st Century Social Issues series. In the book, Mahdavi examines how the war on terror and policies to combat human trafficking have collided. "In the U.S.," says Mahdavi, "the media and politicians have conflated the two. In some ways, the war on trafficking has become the hyper-feminized anti

Knee-jerk reactions to human trafficking harm lives - academic

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Panicked policy reactions to human trafficking and an over-emphasis on the issue of sex trafficking can cause more harm than good for human trafficking survivors, academic, author and human trafficking expert, Pardis Mahdavi said. Following her panel discussion at the Trust Women conference in London this week, Mahdavi spoke to Thomson Reuters Foundation about panicked reactions to human trafficking, why sex trafficking receives so much attention and why no

Sexy spring: How group sex will liberate Iran, China

When Iranian American anthropologist Pardis Mahdavi first visited Tehran in the summer of 2000, she expected to encounter the Iran she grew up imagining. Her family remembered violence and extremism, and these were the images that stuck: “women clad in black chadors, wailing and whipping themselves,” “black bearded men with heavy hearts and souls,” arranged marriages, and the fierceness of the “morality police.” But while she encountered this repressed side of Iran, she also heard stories of and

7 Books That Will Change Your Views On the Middle East

How much do you know about the secret U.S. war with Iran? How about the plight of migrant workers in Dubai? From thrilling counterterrorism adventures to thoughtful reflections on American foreign policy in the Middle East, here are seven books that might change your mind about issues in the Middle East. 1. Hunting in the Shadows: The Pursuit of Al Qa'ida Since 9/11 (Seth G. Jones) The U.S. search for Al-Qaeda spans worldwide but it has important roots in the Middle East. Seth B. Jones' detai

From Dubai to Amsterdam, There Is No Divide

Leaving my house earlier than normal this morning, I found the nearby shopping street eerily quiet. Amsterdam's center wakes up late because it's more about entertainment than general commerce. Opposite Rembrandt's house were three Latin American men occupying sidewalk benches usually claimed by tourists. Each had an overpacked duffle bag and work boots. The men were apparently waiting for a pick-up, and, to my eye, they might have been people whose daily wages are deemed illegal. Or maybe their

Trafficking and Foreign Labor in the Gulf: An Interview with Pardis Mahdavi

Earlier this month, the US State Department released its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, an inventory of the world’s efforts at combating the global trade in people. The 2011 report marks a turning point of sorts for US foreign policy. For the first time ever, the new TIP includes an assessment—if predictably positive—of Washington’s own attempts at battling trafficking at home. More encouraging still, the report reflects the explicit recognition that trafficking is not only about th