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The impetus for this collection arose from two workshops entitled ‘Human smuggling/trafficking seen from inside’ and ‘Interviewing vulnerable migrants for different reasons and with different purposes’ held at the 2004 and 2005 International Metropolis Conferences respectively. Following an introduction by the editors, the contributions are divided in three sections. The first consists of two chapters which address ethical and methodological questions arising during and after the design and implementation of research with migrants/foreigners held in prison settings (Barsky on the United States, and Achermann on Switzerland). The second section is composed of three contributions outlining the authors’ views of the advantages and limitations of different research methods, including the analysis of official documents, coded questionnaires, expert interviews, narrative and open-ended interviews, and participant observation when completing research with irregular migrants and smuggled persons. These include chapters by Staring on Turkish irregular migrants in the Netherlands; Dahinden and Efionayi-Mäder on both sub-Saharan African asylum-seekers, refugees and irregular migrants, and non-EU migrant sex workers in Switzerland; and Bilger and van Liempt on smuggled migrants in Austria and the Netherlands. The third and final section includes two chapters which discuss the impact and implications of researchers’ national identities and professions when identifying, contacting and interviewing vulnerable migrants (Markova on being an ‘insider’ conducting research with Bulgarian migrants in Greece, Spain and the UK; and Empez on simultaneously being a social work practitioner and a researcher investigating the experiences of Moroccan minors in Spain).

More information


Book review


Oxford University Press

Publication Date



24 (1)


211 - 213