Open Menu

Runa Lazzarino

Research Fellow

Since October 2017, I have been a part-time research fellow within the Care and Custody Lever which aims at understanding both survivors and perpetrators’ mental health needs in order to pioneer an ad hoc therapeutic programme. I started investigating human trafficking and post-slavery life in 2010. I obtained a PhD in sociocultural anthropology from the University of Milano-Bicocca in 2015.  In my doctorate project I conducted a multi-country ethnography (Northern Vietnam, Central West Brazil, and Nepal) concentrating on the recovery and reintegration phase of human trafficking survivors and adopting a multi-stakeholders perspective.

Towards the end of my PhD, I became research associate within the project SEATIDE - Integration in Southeast Asia: Trajectories of Inclusion, Dynamics of Exclusion (EC 7th FP). In this context, I worked as part of a multidisciplinary research team of anthropologists and economists. I focused on the effect of post-trafficking shelterization on survivors’ socio-economic reintegration into Vietnamese society.

In 2016 I joined UCL Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS). While at IAS I worked at an article which critically compares a number of recent health sciences studies with the current ethnographic approach and literature around the mental health of victims of human trafficking. In parallel, I concentrated on a mixed methods research project on the emotional health and assistance to victims of trafficking and exploited migrants in London.

Since January 2017, I have been involved as a consultant in a psychosocial intervention carried on by the London based social enterprise Free_D.  This project provides to a group of shelterized survivors in Mumbai marketable and creative skills (i.e. in 3D printing technologies) and aims to assess their impact on the beneficiaries’ wellbeing. 



Selected Publications

  • Lazzarino R., A. Ahmad (eds) 2019 “Victims of Human Trafficking”: Problems, Languages, Practices, Special Issue, Journal of Human Trafficking
  • Lazzarino R. 2017 After the shelter. The nuances of reintegrating human trafficking returnees in Northern Vietnam, S. Vignato (ed), Dreams of prosperity. Inequality and Integration in Southeast Asia, Silkworm Books, Chiang Mai, pp. 167-202
  • Lazzarino R. 2014 Between Shame and Lack of Responsibility: The Articulation of Emotions among Female Returnees of Human Trafficking in Northern Vietnam, Antropologia, South East Asia, 1 (1): 155 – 167
  • Lazzarino R. 2013 From policies to lived experience and back: the struggle for reintegrating returnees of human trafficking in Goiás State (Central West Brazil), REMHU-Revista Interdisciplinar da Mobilidade Humana, 21 (41): 163 – 187
  • Lazzarino R. Pathologies or pathologizations? Post-trafficking emotional health between anthropology and health sciences, Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry (submitted)

Full Publication List:


Conferences, seminars and invited talks

  • Trauma or lack of love? Measuring and listening to post-trafficking suffering.  Institute of Advanced Studies – IAS, UCL
  • Human trafficking returnees in Northern Vietnam. Department of Human Sciences, UNIMIB
  • State actors and trafficking in persons. Ambivalences and absences in three local contexts.  Department of Human Sciences, UNIMIB
  • Reintegrating into what? The impact of aid services on post-trafficking life among female returnees of human trade in Northern Vietnam (Hanoi city and Lao Cai province).  Magdalene College, Cambridge
  • On project design and research methods in anthropology. The case of a transnational ethnography with returnees of human trafficking.  Master in International Cooperation Development – MICD, Kathmandu/Cooperation and Development Network – CDN, Pavia
  • Notes on the ethnographic qualitative method. The case of a multi-sited ethnography with returnees of human trafficking.  Institute of Sociology, Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences – VASS (Hanoi, VN)
  • Violence as a relational and multifaceted experience in the process of subject making among “victims” of human trafficking in the Central-West Region of Brazil.  SLAS – Society for Latin American Studies, Annual Conference, University of Manchester
  • The different constructions of vulnerability in the ambiguous territory between migration, human trafficking and forced labour .  “Vulnerable Workers, Forced Labour, Migration and Ethical Trading”, University of Leeds
  • Research project on human trafficking: approaching the field
  • “Research on Gender and Sexuality in Brazilian Immigration: Ethical and Methodological Issues”, Queen Mary, University of London

Public Engagement Activities

  • Lazzarino R., Freeloaders, blackmailers and lost souls: rescued sex trafficking survivors in the hands of the assistance, Beyond Trafficking and Slavery, OpenDemocracy, 25.11.17
  • Lazzarino R., International symposium Victims of human trafficking: a multidisciplinary problematization of a category, UCL, 7th June 2017. Sponsored by the Institute of Advanced Studies - IAS with the following UCL partners: Centre for Gender and Global Health, Migrants Research Unit, Institute of Global Prosperity
  • Alcano M., R. Lazzarino 2016 Gender on the move: borders, social values and displacements, SEATIDE: Integration in Southeast Asia: Trajectories of Inclusion, Dynamics of Exclusion, Policy Brief


grants and scholarships

  • 2011-2013 Fieldwork research scholarship, “Exchange Program”, University of Milano-Bicocca (1st ranked)
  • 2010-2014 - PhD scholarship, University of Milano-Bicocca/Italian Government (1st ranked)
  • 2008 - Erasmus / Socrates Scholarship (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
  • 2003-2005 - Merit based scholarship, University of Bologna/Italian Government 

Other Networks