Christine Balarezo, a doctoral student in political science, was awarded a 20-month post-doctoral Fulbright to study at the University of Haifa in Israel beginning in January.
For her Fulbright, Balarezo will research Israeli government policies and strategies related to human trafficking, which involves the forced enslavement and exploitation of men, women and children for labor and sex. Israel is a transit and destination country for trafficking people coming from South Asia, Eastern Europe and Gulf countries, says Balarezo, whose research focuses on comparative politics and international relations with a focus on human rights.
Each year, the U.S. Department of State publishes a Trafficking in Persons Report that rates countries on how well they are addressing human trafficking. Since 2001, Israel's rank has steadily climbed to show improvements are being made. Balarezo will examine factors that account for Israel's improvement in anti-trafficking, including its record of prosecution, protection and prevention.
"Israel is doing something right in the fight against human rights violations, yet few case studies or quantitative data exist to elucidate their efforts in enforcing laws, protecting victims and convicting traffickers," she says. "By bringing this information to light, I hope to provide a foundation for effective policy solutions and recommendations not only for Israel, but for national governments throughout the region."
While at the University of Haifa, Balarezo will work with:
- Political science faculty
- National Security Studies Center
- Center for the Study of Crime, Law and Society
- Center for Research on Peace Education
- Department of Women's and Gender Studies
- Human rights scholars in Israel
She also plans to interview government officials, immigration officers and individuals involved in security and task force operations for human trafficking. She will use the university's archives -- one of the most advanced and well-equipped libraries in Israel -- to access scholarly texts, articles, and other resources for her research.
About the UNT Department of Political Science
The Department of Political Science is divided into four major areas with a strong focus on rigorous and careful research methods:
- American government
- international relations
- comparative politics
- political theory
The department is the editorial home of the American Political Science Review, the premier political science journal in the world. It houses the Castleberry Peace Institute within its Peace Studies program, and the Human Security, Democracy and Global Development research cluster, a consortium of faculty experts focused on conflict resolution strategies, the protection of human rights and the promotion of economic development, health and neighbor relations.
Julie West with UNT News Service can be reached at Julie.West@unt.edu.