Anja Simonsen is a tenure track Assistant Professor at the Institute of Anthropology, the University of Copenhagen. She was awarded the Carlsberg Foundation Internationalisation Fellowship with the project “The Criminalisation of Humanitarianism: From Volunteers to Human Smugglers in Italy”. Her research stay at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) aims to produce new knowledge on this topic. In the context of Europe’s recent migration crisis, human smuggling is characterized by most European governments as a heinous crime conducted by ruthless networks of smugglers whose nefarious trade needs to be stopped. Recent counter-smuggling operations, however, have involved not transnational crime members, but women and men who as part of humanitarian organizations volunteer to conduct rescue operations at EU borders seeking to save the lives of migrants trying to enter Europe. The aim of this postdoctoral project is to explore the criminalisation of humanitarianism.
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