Masja van Meeteren


Dr. Masja van Meeteren is Associate Professor in the Department of Criminology at Leiden University. Her research interests include intersections of migration, migration policy, informal social structures, crime and criminalization. She has conducted research on irregular (‘illegal’) migration, intended and unintended consequences of migration policies, human trafficking, migrant legalization, informal labor, immigrant integration and transnationalism, and the role of formal and informal social networks in facilitating different forms of migration and immigrant integration.


In 2015, Masja was awarded a VENI-grant by the Dutch research Council (NWO) for her research The New face of human trafficking: understanding different types of labour exploitation. Since labour exploitation has been criminalised as human trafficking, new cases arise regularly. However, it is unclear exactly how labour exploitation comes about. In this project, Masja examines which types of labour exploitation can be distinguished and how can these be understood using a newly developed research approach that focuses on both victims and employers.


Previously, Masja worked on a research project entitled Theorizing the Evolution of European Migration Systems (THEMIS), in collaboration with the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo (PRIO), the Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning in Lisbon (IGOT-UL), and the International Migration Institute in Oxford (IMI). In this project, migration dynamics and the evolution of migration systems are studied.


She obtained her PhD degree from Erasmus University Rotterdam in 2010. Drawing on extensive qualitative research, her dissertation develops an empirically grounded typology of irregular immigrants’ integration based on their aspirations. An extended an updated version of this work is published by Amsterdam University Press in 2014 and carries the title “Irregular Migrants in Belgium and the Netherlands: Aspirations and Incorporation". (link to open access)