Human Security and Gender: A Comparative Case Study of Human Trafficking in Southeast Asia


  • Leo S.F. LIN The University of Southern Mississippi, USA


: Human trafficking, human security, feminist approach, Southeast Asia


The Southeast Asian region has been facing non-traditional security threats, including water and food security, oil supply, climate change, energy, agriculture, organized crime, and migration. Among them, human trafficking in the region is a critical point. One issue-areas that international relations and security studies scholars often neglect is human trafficking in women and girls. With the globalized economic and political environment, the individual’s safety and security have become a major concern. In particular, the feminist perspective is important in human security because women and girls are often victims of violence, organized crime, refugees, interstate conflicts, and other cruel and degrading behaviors. Also, women and girls are often suffered from unequal access to resources, services, and opportunities. Therefore, this paper attempts to use a qualitative comparative research method to examine the human trafficking issue in Southeast Asia from the feminist human security perspective. The focuses are placed on both general conditions and individual conditions. The four countries selected are Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Laos due to their unique trafficking profiles. Data were collected from secondary sources for examining the theoretical arguments. From a feminist human security perspective, this paper concluded that it is undeniable that trafficking against women and girls is the focal point in the general condition. Each country has its unique situation at the state level. Therefore, there is a risk if the researchers and policymakers over-generalize the human trafficking development in the region.