Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Wednesday, June 24, 2009

'09 grad wins Fulbright to study policy, sex-trafficking in Nepal

Sex trafficking and public policy is the focus of research 2009 graduate Emma Condon will carry out in Nepal during the 2009-2010 academic year. Winner of a Fulbright Institute of International Education fellowship for the 2009-10 school year, she leaves for Nepal in September.

Campus ranks 9th for student Fulbrights

The University of Wisconsin-Madison ranked ninth among research universities in the number of student Fulbright fellows in 2008, up from 11th.

Of the 20 Madison students who received 2008-09 Fulbright Institute of International Education fellowships, 18 accepted their offers. The Fulbright Institute of International Education sent 1,450 U.S. citizens abroad for the 2008-09 school year.

2009 grad Allison Quatrini won a Fulbright that took her to China for the 2007-08 school year.

Professor Greg Nemet was one of five University of Wisconsin – Madison faculty who received a Fulbright grant in 2008. He spent that summer in Berlin and Brussels researching how science is used in policymaking in Germany and the European Union.

How policymakers frame a problem affects how they craft a policy solution, the international public affairs student says. "If sex trafficking is seen as a problem of prostitution, then policies will focus on eliminating prostitution," Condon says. "On the other hand, if sex trafficking is seen as a problem of safe migration, then policies will focus on the rights and safety of migrant laborers. The former situates sex trafficking as a moral problem; the latter focuses on human rights."

"Under the Bush administration, the U.S. took a firm sex-trafficking-as-a-problem-of-prostitution stance," she notes.

While in Nepal's capital of Kathmandu, Condon will be affiliated with Tribhuvan University, but her main supporting organization is the Asia Foundation, an international non-governmental organization based in San Francisco that oversees a number of anti-sex trafficking programs in Nepal. The U.S. Department of State estimates 10,000 to 15,000 Nepali women and girls are trafficked to India every year, and another 7,000 are trafficked to Kathmandu and Pokhara from rural Nepal.

Condon's research will involve interviews with NGOs, government officials and other members of the anti-trafficking community in Nepal.

When Condon returns to the United States in July, she plans on joining the U.S. State Department as a foreign service officer, having passed her Foreign Service oral exams this spring.

Condon entered La Follette via the accelerated program through which an undergraduate begins working on degree requirements as a senior and completes all requirements with an additional year of study beyond the bachelor's degree. She earned her bachelor's degree in international studies and focused on international development at La Follette.

She spent a semester in Nepal through the Vermont-based School for International Training, which offers undergraduates field-based education. "We had intensive language training and spent a month doing our own independent research project," Condon says. "I examined the shift away from arranged marriage in Nepal."

Condon returned to Nepal in summer 2008 as an intern in the Political and Economic section of the U.S. embassy in Kathmandu, thanks to a La Follette School fellowship. One of her tasks was to help organize the visit of an official from the U.S. State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

"That's where I got the idea for my Fulbright grant," Condon says.

Most victims of sex trafficking are women and girls who are lured by promises of marriage or good jobs in other countries or are kidnapped or sold into the sex trade by relatives or boyfriends. "The U.S. plays a major role in funding anti-sex trafficking organizations in Nepal," Condon says, "and so we have a significant impact on how nongovernmental organizations design their programs to combat sex trafficking."

UW–Madison is a Leader in Fulbright Fellows with Top 10 Ranking, November 12, 2008, Division of International Studies, University of Wisconsin–Madison