Contesting entrapment: Women asylum seekers in Hong Kong

Alison Gerard

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter explores the entrapment of asylum seekers in Hong Kong, drawing on qualitative research carried out with a diverse sample of women asylum seekers. These women’s narratives illustrate how structural factors, such as the securitization of migration (Gerard, 2014), permeate everyday encounters and produce entrapment. Núñez and Heyman (2007) first applied the concept of entrapment to irregular migration. As characterized by Núñez and Heyman entrapment is a dynamic process whereby state actors impose significant risk on the mobility of irregular migrants. Irregular migrants respond by exerting agency to resist by both ‘forgoing travel and covertly defying movement controls’ (2007, p. 354). This produces multiple and overlapping barriers that contribute to an experience of liminality for asylum seekers. This chapter expands on this definition by analysing the situation of women asylum seekers in Hong Kong and illustrating the regional variations of entrapment that Núñez and Heyman envisaged. The chapter makes two significant contributions to the study of entrapment processes. First, the account presented herein extends the analysis of the role played by actors in processes of entrapment beyond that of police and state agencies to include the role of non-government agencies. Second, the gendered analysis of entrapment generated by focusing on women’s experiences elucidates the contradictions that women’s resistance to entrapment may produce.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEntrapping asylum seekers
Subtitle of host publicationSocial, legal and economic precariousness
EditorsFrancesco Vecchio, Alison Gerard
Place of PublicationLondon, United Kingdom
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages32
ISBN (Electronic)9781137587398
ISBN (Print)9781137587381
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Publication series

NameTransnational Crime, Crime Control and Security


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