International Journal of
Peace and Development Studies

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Peace and Dev. Stud
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6621
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJPDS
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 103

Full Length Research Paper

Internationalization of Post-1991 political reform-induced ethnic conflicts, cross-border contraband trade and human trafficking in eastern Ethiopia

Filmon Hadaro Hando
  • Filmon Hadaro Hando
  • ISS/Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 29 August 2023
  •  Accepted: 26 September 2023
  •  Published: 30 November 2023


The political changes in Ethiopia after 1991 created a context for the dynamics of ethnic conflicts, changes in local contraband trade to cross-border trade, and women trafficking, affecting social norms and leading to intersectional impacts on women and girls in eastern Ethiopia. Previous studies have primarily focused on dimensions of ethnic conflicts within a specific geographical location (territory) and their links to social exclusion, particularly examining the intersectional consequences of conflicts on gender inequality. The study assessed the dynamics of conflicts and political changes in post-1991 Ethiopia, and analyse the intersectional and transborder effects of these processes on women and girls, in Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia. The study used a document review, and key informant interviews with local elders, clan leaders, government officials, NGO workers and selected cases of women. The study found that the 1991 political changes in Ethiopia that was based on ethnic-federalism exacerbated inter-ethnic conflicts among the Somali, Afar and Oromo people in Ethiopia. Furthermore, the inter-ethnic conflicts expanded along the regions of Djibouti and Samalia bordering Ethiopia. The changing elite interests and social norms, and the expansion of contraband trade, gradually included trafficking in women and girls as lucrative source of incomes. Thus, the creation of human trafficking roots intertwined with inter-ethnic conflicts beyond the borders of Ethiopia. The study concluded that identity, social norms, conflicts and political changes in Ethiopia have brought intersectional consequences on women and girls. Thus, a rights and gender-based plus need assessment, a cross-border data and intervention is needed to understand the dynamics and address the intersectional impacts of conflicts and political changes on women and girls in East Africa.


Key words: Conflict dynamics, political change, contraband trade, women trafficking, social norms, Ethiopia, east Africa.