www.psych.uic.edu

Transnational Crimes among Somali-Americans: Convergences of Radicalization and Trafficking

The Somali-American diaspora, one of the most disadvantaged refugee and immigrant communities in the U.S., has been the site of both violent radicalization and trafficking in persons. This study aims to build scientific knowledge on the emergence and trajectories of the co-occurrence of radicalization and trafficking in the Somali American community to better understand the transnational and convergence issues involved and how this knowledge can inform evidence-based prevention and intervention programs. The specific aims are: 1)To systematically review all known cases of radicalization and trafficking among Somali-Americans using a case study approach to document and characterize the similarities and differences with respect to multi-level risks, protective resources, criminal justice responses and outcomes, and perceptions of law enforcement efforts; 2)To conduct in-depth interviews with law enforcement personnel, community advocates, parents, and youth in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Columbus, and Nashville to establish the similarities and differences with respect to how activities involving radicalization and trafficking emerge, develop and impact the community, any convergence issues between the two crime types, and how they are addressed through prevention or intervention activities; 3) To design specific community practice strategies for prevention and intervention with radicalization and trafficking in community contexts through convening a series of regional and national workshops with practitioners, advocates, policymakers, and academics based on the findings from Aims 1 and 2. Aim 1 will be addressed through case study analytical methods examining all known cases of radicalization and trafficking. Aim 2 will be addressed through individual and group interviews with 40 persons in each of these three communities. Aim 3 will be addressed in convening one meeting in each city to review the research findings and to generate a consensus model and recommendations regarding new community practice approaches for preventing and intervening with radicalization and trafficking. This research will develop community practice strategies for prevention and intervention with radicalization and trafficking in community contexts and will contribute to advancing the state of the field beyond the good language of the policy documents on “preventing radicalization” and “demand reduction” and the best intentions of criminal justice agencies and community organizations.

Funded by the National Institute of Justice

Family and Community Capacities among US Minorities: a Key to Preventing Violent Extremism

The emergence of community policing divisions conducting engagement, prevention, and coordination in Muslim American communities under threat with a countering violent extremism focus is an important new development, with the Los Angeles Police Department at the lead. However, it raises questions that require further study. The proposed research specifically focuses on developing an empirically based model for enhancing current community policing strategies for engagement and prevention using psychosocial strategies in Muslim American communities under threat. This will be accomplished by conducting a focused investigation with ethnographic methods in two U.S. cities with significant Muslim diasporas—to examine if and how community policing programs might bolster essential family and community protective resources to reduce the potential for violence extremism among youth and young adults in these communities. This research is based on an NIH and DHS funded program of research which has focused on understanding the resilience that lies in families and communities and how that can be enhanced by preventive interventions. The specific aims are to: 1) Examine the engagement and prevention practices of countering violent extremism law enforcement in community context through ethnographic methods to characterize how community and family protective resources could be further enhanced through community policing psychosocial preventive interventions; 2) Examine how family and ecological (e.g. social environmental) protective resources vary across sociocultural context and services sectors and how this would facilitate or impede the implementation of community policing psychosocial preventive interventions; 3) Develop a prevention model, core intervention strategies, and assessment tool of community resilience to violent extremism through the convening of a joint psychosocial/law enforcement/community working group.

Funded by the Department of Homeland Security

A Case-Control and Mixed Methods Study of HIV Risk and Protection among Labor Migrants

This research addresses the major global health challenge of preventing HIV infection among labor migrants. It focuses on men from Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, and Moldova who have come to work in St. Petersburg, Russia. This study aims to build scientific knowledge on the multilevel risks associated with labor migration that can lead to HIV infection as well as the spectrum of involvement in HIV prevention and care among labor migrants. The clinic-based case-control and mixed methods design integrates biomedical, survey, and ethnographic methods. The knowledge generated will inform the development of more targeted and effective strategies for HIV prevention, testing, and linkages to care for labor migrants. The specific aim are: 1) to quantitatively investigate the associations between HIV infection and multilevel determinants related to labor migration at the levels of social policy, sociocultural practices, health and mental health, and sexual practices through a clinic-based case-control design; 2) to qualitatively investigate the spectrum of involvement in HIV prevention and care among labor migrants (including experiences and perceptions regarding HIV testing, HIV infection, linkages to care, barriers to care, and the impact of labor migration) through minimally structured interviews of a purposive sample of HIV infected migrants, non-HIV infected migrants, providers, community advocates, and policymakers. Aim 1 will be accomplished through a survey of 200 HIV positive Central Asian male migrants and a matched sample of 200 HIV negative Central Asian male migrants. Aim 2, will be accomplished by conducting ethnographic interviews with a purposive sample of HIV infected migrants (n=12), non-HIV infected migrants (n=12) drawn from the larger sample, as well as providers (n=6), community advocates (n=6), and policymakers (n=6). The knowledge generated will lead to the development of more targeted and effective strategies for engagement in HIV prevention, testing, and linkages to care for labor migrants.

Funded by the National Institutes of Health Office of AIDS Research

Pilot Ethnographic Study of Wives of Migrants

This study aimed to examine the experiences of the wives of migrant workers in Moscow and to characterize their HIV/AIDS risk and protective knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors (Golobof et al, in press). This was a collaborative ethnography in Dushanbe that included minimally structured interviews with 30 wives of migrant workers currently working in Moscow. The results documented the wives’ concerns over their husbands’ safety and health in Moscow and the many difficulties of wives living without husbands in Tajikistan. Wives give tacit acceptance to husband’s sexual infidelity in Moscow. In a male-dominated society, gender norms limit wives abilities to protect themselves or their husbands. They have limited awareness of HIV, limited ability to speak about sexual activity, HIV/AIDS and condoms, or to request HIV testing. Wives do not use condoms with their husbands and have no choice but to depend upon their husband’s role as protector. Wives turn to their in-laws or to their “circle of friends” for support, but seldom do these relationships focus on HIV/AIDS. To respond to HIV/AIDS risks amongst the wives of Tajik male migrant workers in Moscow, preventive interventions should consider enhancing knowledge amongst wives and seeking feasible ways to empower wives to talk with their husbands about HIV/AIDS risk and protection.

 

Pilot Ethnographic Study of Married Male Migrants

This pilot study aimed to preliminarily characterize married male migrants’ HIV/AIDS risk and protective knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors, as well as, key contextual factors that would likely impede or facilitate a preventive intervention (Weine et al, 2007). This was a collaborative multi-sited ethnography in Moscow that included minimally structured interviews with 16 subjects and focus groups with a total of 14 subjects. All invited subjects agreed to participate. The results suggested that many Tajik male migrant workers in Moscow are having unprotected sex with commercial sex workers. Although some of the migrants have basic knowledge about HIV, the migrants’ ability to protect themselves from acquiring HIV is compromised by harsh living and working conditions as a consequence of being unprotected by law in Russia. The migrant workers’ experience of being unprotected appears to diminish their self-efficacy in ways that would likely also impede efforts at HIV prevention. For instance, it appears to interfere in their assessment of HIV risk. Tajik male migrant workers in Moscow also have important sources of religious, community, and family support that may facilitate targeted HIV prevention interventions. One example is the value of being the provider and protector of the family. To respond to HIV/AIDS risks amongst Tajik male migrant workers in Moscow, preventive interventions are needed that take into account their harsh living and working conditions and that mobilize existing sources of religious, community, and family support. Further study is needed to more comprehensively characterize HIV/AIDS risk and protective knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors, as well as, key contextual factors that would likely impede or facilitate a preventive intervention. These results call for further systematic study of the relationships between masculine norms and HIV risk and preventive behavior. The issues of polygamy, socio-economic independence and risk awareness should also be points of focus. 

Subcategories