Professor Margaret Boittin’s research lies at the intersection of criminal law, local government law, international and comparative law, and Chinese law, with a focus on the regulation of prostitution, human trafficking, law enforcement and civil servants. She uses empirical research methods to examine how marginalized individuals perceive their relationships to the laws and institutions that govern their behaviour. She explores how they think about, and interact with, individuals who represent these laws and institutions, such as law enforcement officers, judges, and lawyers. She reflects upon how and when laws define different types of individuals as lawbreakers, victims, or both, and examines the choices that state agents make when implementing these laws.
She is currently working on a book manuscript entitled "The Whore, the Hostess and the Honey: Policing, Health, Business and the Regulation of Prostitution in China," based on two years of field research in China. She also conducts research on human trafficking vulnerability and public opinion around human trafficking policies in Nepal and China, which is being funded with grants of $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Labor, USAID, Humanity United, Terre des Hommes, Stanford University and Vanderbilt University. She is an investigator with The Governance Project, led by Francis Fukuyama at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, doing research on the Chinese bureaucracy and civil servants.
Professor Boittin has been working and conducting research in China since 2001. Her work has been published in Law & Society Review.
Keywords: Criminal law; international and comparative law; human rights; China; empirical methods; prostitution; human trafficking