Between Shame and Lack of Responsibility: The Articulation of Emotions among Female Returnees of Human Trafficking in Northern Vietnam

Runa Lazzarino


Drawing on qualitative research conducted with some female residents of a shelter for victims of trafficking located in Lào Cai, an urban centre on the Northern Vietnamese border with China, the intention, in this article, is to explore some of their expressed feelings and emotions. These seem to oscillate between a sense of shame and guilt, and a sense of self-pity and victimization. Such oscillation finds significant correspondence at two broader levels, that of Vietnamese society and of the international ideological discourse of human trafficking, which both present a stigmatizing, yet compassionate, approach to the returnees of trafficking. In this way, the aim is to show how emotions are embedded within socio-political power relations and gender inequalities.


human trafficking, female returnees, shame, victimization, shelters, Northern Vietnam

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