The book investigates how the United Nations, governments, and aid agencies mobilise and instrumentalise migration policies and programmes through a discourse of safe migration.

Since the early 2000s, numerous non-governmental organizations (NGOs), UN agencies, and governments have warmed to the concept of safe migration, often within a context of anti-trafficking interventions. Yet, both the policy-enthusiasm for safety, as well as how safe migration comes into being through policies and programs remain unexplored. Based on seven years of ethnographic fieldwork in the Mekong region, this is the first book that traces the emergence of safe migration, why certain aid actors gravitate towards the concept, as well as how safe migration policies and programmes unfold through aid agencies and government bodies. The book argues that safe migration is best understood as brokered safety. Although safe migration policy interventions attempt to formalize pre-emptive and protective measures to enhance labour migrants’ well-being, the book shows through vivid ethnographic details how formal migration assistance in itself depends on – and produces – informal asnd mediated practices.

The book offers unprecedented insights into what safe migration policies look like in practice. It is an innovate contribution to contemporary theorizing of contemporary forms of migration governance and will be of interest to sociologists, anthropologists, political scientists, and human geographers working within the fields of Migration studies, Development Studies, as well as Southeast Asian and Global Studies.

The Open Access version of this book, available at https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9781003185734 has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.

chapter 1|18 pages

Introducing safe migration

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part Part I|38 pages

Situating safety in migration

chapter 202|19 pages

From traffic to safety

The allure of safe migration
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chapter 3|17 pages

Omnipresence and nothingness

Lao and Myanmar migrants compared
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part Part II|74 pages

Modalities of intervention

chapter 584|22 pages


Technologies of anticipation
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chapter 5|29 pages

State-centric safety and biometric economies

Documents and recruitment chains
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chapter 6|21 pages


Hotlines and safety nets
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part Part III|70 pages

Safety mediated

chapter 1327|15 pages

On humanitarian spaces

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chapter 8|19 pages

Brokers, migrants, and safety

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chapter 9|25 pages

Informal assistance

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chapter 10|9 pages


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