Powerful Counter-Trafficking Campaign from Asia Gets a Global Stage
Oct 02, 2018

Eye-catching videos and resources reach audiences around the world

“Now I know things about safety and rights. I’ve also learned how important it is to keep documents safe, not to be confiscated by the employer.”

September 2018 — “Што такое гандаль людзьмі?” (“What is human trafficking?”) says the narrator as an animated video on human trafficking plays to a crowded room of students in Minsk, Belarus. This same video plays in Egypt, Myanmar and Thailand, however, the narrator isn’t speaking Belarusian. She’s speaking Arabic, Myanmar and Thai.

Originally developed to prevent human trafficking and exploitation in 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, USAID’s IOM X (link is external) campaign materials are now being used in over 40 countries across the world. Some 140 videos and an equal number of other resources — such as training materials, online courses, and factsheets — are available in 18 languages.

“IOM X creates content that our audience is receptive to. Having new, high-quality and engaging content on hand makes our demanding jobs so much easier, especially since we are a non-profit looking to maximize resources,” said New Su Shern, founder and president of the Malaysia-based NGO Project Liber8.

The campaign produces tailored content, such as videos and factsheets, on sector-specific issues related to the prevention of human trafficking, ranging from domestic work to manufacturing. For example, the definitions video series provides one-minute overviews of different forms of exploitation, including forced begging, organ trafficking and debt bondage. These videos are easy for other organizations to adapt to local audiences through subtitling or dubbing. They are also highly digestible, shareable and easy for all types of audiences to understand.

Much of the content is aimed at influencing young people from ages 15 to 35 to make migration decisions that protect them from exploitation.

“Now I know things about safety and rights. I’ve also learned how important it is to keep documents safe, not to be confiscated by the employer,” said a Burmese migrant worker in Yangon after watching the Make Migration Work video series.

Audiences across the region are not only fans of the content, but they are also fans of the innovative approach used to create content. A robust library of research and training materials is publicly accessible, and reversioning — translation to another language — is encouraged. For example, the Communication for Development (C4D) toolkit is now available in eight languages, including Mandarin, Bangla and Khmer.

The project’s technical team has held workshops in eight countries, training more than 500 partners on human trafficking and C4D. Campaign materials have reached a potential 505 million people globally since the campaign began in late 2014.