“Back Home, It Would Have Been Worse Anyway…”: Vietnamese Wives’ Perspectives on Their ‘Arranged’ Marriages with Chinese Men

  • Caroline Grillot


Drawing on material collected since 2006 in two Sino-Vietnamese border twin cities, this chapter confronts the definition of slavery and its modernized form ‘human trafficking.’ It provides historical evidence of various local forms of human exchanges for the sake of military strategy, human settlement and social reproduction that have inevitably commodified women. Life accounts of Vietnamese women involved in contemporary forms of coerced marriage support the idea that slavery, or human trafficking, remains a political category from which individuals navigate their way out, by giving their fate an intimate meaning. They blur the distinction between the coercive and emancipative aspects of their marital life, an ambiguity that blows away the definition of ‘slavery’ since it often ignores personal agency and cultural interpretation of human fate.


Cross-border marriage Human trafficking Coerced marriage Agency Slavery 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caroline Grillot
    • 1
  1. 1.Lyon Institute of East Asian StudiesLyonFrance

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