Sabrina White

Sabrina White


I am an ESRC funded 1+3 PhD student who is researching sexual exploitation and sexual abuse in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations.  My project is collaborative with the United Nations Association in the UK (UNA UK), and aims to influence policy-making in the research area.  This research began with an intial interest in the longer-term impacts of sexual exploitation and abuse perpetrated by those who are meant to help countries emerging from violent conflict.   In 2011 I spent a few months in Cambodia, a country not only with a violent recent history, but also a country who has a burgeoning sex trafficking industry, and especially a child sex industry.   The burgeoning sex industry has largely been attributed to UN personnel who increased demand for sexual services, and who were implicated in sexual exploitation and abuse in Cambodia's peacekeeping mission in the 1990s.  

Since allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse in Cambodia surfaced, further allegations in missions all around the world emerged, indicating that the problem is systemic.  While the United Nations has reacted with several reforms, policies, frameworks, resolutions and recommendations, the abuses continue, victims are often poorly protected, and impunity is the norm rather than the exception, suggesting that what is in place is not working. At this early stage in the research, and against the backdrop of post-structural feminist theory, I'm initially interested in the tension between how international actors discursively understand  the root causes of the abuses and policy-making in this area.

Research interests

Key areas of interest include:

  • liberal interventions
  • peacekeeping and peacebuilding
  • sexual violence in conflict
  • post-structuralism
  • gender and queer studies


  • MA Social Research, Interdisciplinary
  • MA International Relations
  • BM Music Performance