Bodean Hedwards


Dr. Bodean Hedwards is a criminologist, focused predominantly on responses to slavery, human trafficking and related forms of exploitation in Australia and abroad and specialises in qualitative research design and implementation.

Currently, she is the project manager for Monash University’s Global Immersion Guarantee; an Australian first initiative that seeks to engage students in issues and solutions to the human impact on the environment in innovative and sustainable ways. Prior to this, Bodean was a Research Associate at the Border Crossings Observatory and the Rights and Justice Priority Area at Nottingham University, where she worked on a variety of research projects focused on slavery and trafficking. She was also a Researcher with the Walk Free Foundation where she specialised in assessing government responses to modern slavery throughout Southeast Asia. Bodean has also worked with the Australian Institute of Criminology in Canberra on a range of issues, including anti-human trafficking, countering violent extremism and indigenous justice. Outside her formal employment, Bodean was also the Vice-Chair of the Canberra Chapter of Young UN Women and established ‘A Million Hands Project’, a small NGO that supported a health clinic in Lucknow, India. 

Bodean has published on a range of issues, including the response to modern slavery in Australia and abroad, refugees, people smuggling, Indigenous justice programs, technology and crime, and qualitative research methods.

Research Topic

‘It’s a dangerous crossing’: A Tibet experience of borders, border control & irregular migration


There is a growing body of research coming from criminology in particular that points to the border as an indisputable organising feature of modern society. This scholarship has highlighted that the way in which the border is constructed and enforced across many nations and regions, often has detrimental implications for irregular migrants. Drawing on the experience of irregular Tibetan migrants living in exile in India, this thesis interrogates the nature of borders and border enforcement in their irregular border crossing experiences. The thesis is grounded in an emerging criminological literature that is committed to revealing the way that borders impact the constantly changing forms of, and trends in human mobility. Specifically, it draws on the notions of the sovereign performance, and technologies of control to investigate and explore the contours of the border and border regulation when it is attached to a non-democratic government regime in the context of an ongoing occupation.

Given that the majority of research regarding Tibetans is focused on either their lives and experiences in exiled communities around the world, or on the situation inside Tibet, this study offers an account of the journey between these two contexts via its focus on the border crossing between Tibet and Nepal. Empirically, this study builds on our understanding of a highly complex migration corridor that has witnessed an ongoing exodus since the 1950s. It sheds light on the nature of the border and border control in this very specific geopolitical and historical context. Theoretically, this insight into the Tibet-Nepal border, and the enforcement mechanisms around it contributes to a much broader body of work on borders by offering a platform to examine the application of the sovereign performance and technologies of control, that to date have drawn on the borders of democratic, pluralistic government regimes. Finally, based on my commitment to learn from the barriers and challenges faced in this research, this study also contributes to the body of methodological literature focused on research with political and politicised groups. It highlights the importance of capturing the lived experience, and what can be revealed by recognising and documenting the experiences that are left unsaid. 


Prof Sharon Pickering
Dr Marie Segrave

Research Interests

Forced and irregular migration, refugees, anti-slavery, human rights and gender.

Personal websites


Twitter: @bodean.hedwards