Where are they now?: Joey, Philippines

Joey where are they now

In 2015 when IOM X was just a few months old we brought together 20 youth leaders from all 10 ASEAN countries in Bangkok for the IOM X ASEAN Youth Forum. The goal was to connect with amazing young people who were passionate about social change and the issue of human trafficking and to share knowledge and resources to help them make an impact.

Now, more than two years later, what are they up to? We reached out to five of the participants and asked them for an update!

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  1. What have you been up to since the IOM X ASEAN Youth Forum?

    I coordinated with my colleagues after the IOM X ASEAN Youth Forum and implemented several youth capacity-building activities on safe migration and anti-trafficking, and a social media information campaign under the banner of “ASEAN Youth Ending Slavery” in the latter part of 2015.

    In 2016, in cooperation with my colleagues from the ASEAN Young Public Servants, we were able to implement a youth skills-building boot camp for Rohingya refugees in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where I led the anti-trafficking and safe migration session. I was also invited to attend the Laureates and Leaders Summit for Children at the Presidential Palace of the Republic of India with other Students Opposing Slavery delegates where we met the Dalai Lama and Kailash Satyathri, the child rights activist.

    Currently, I am a youth development practitioner living in Manila, Philippines, serving as Executive Director of IYC Pilipinas, and concurrently serving as an Expert Advisory Committee Member for Family Planning 2020, Youth Advocate for the Global Partnerships for Education, and Youth Advisory Panelist for the UNFPA Philippines and UNESCO GW Asia-Pacific. I have also just started working as a Special Programs & External Affairs Unit Member at the National Youth Commission – Office of the Philippine President, the country’s youth development agency.

    2. Are you still involved in the issue of human trafficking in any way?

    As a youth development practitioner and anti-trafficking advocate, I continue to advocate for youth involvement in the prevention of human trafficking and the promotion of safe migration and decent work through active participation in policy consultations.

    I, and members from International Youth Council Pilipinas, were able to influence the Philippine Government plans on anti-trafficking and youth development and inject the youth perspective on the prevention of human trafficking and the promotion of safe migration and decent work through our active involvement in the consultations for the Inter Agency Council Against Trafficking’s (IACAT) Strategic Plan and the Philippine Youth Development Plan (PYDP).  We are now waiting for the final versions of these important government documents.  Also, in recent consultations with the Department of Labor and Employment in May 2017, we were able to add input on the protection of youth from trafficking and the promotion of decent work.

    In my profession, I am exploring possible programs and avenues where the I can mainstream the prevention of trafficking and the promotion of safe migration and decent work.   


    3. Is there anything that has stuck with you from the youth forum?


The discussion on Communication for Development and the role-playing activities have stuck with me as it reaffirmed the need for strategic messaging whenever we are trying to communicate about sensitive issues like trafficking. Messaging through fear and pity may not drive the message of urgency among the target audience as the people might feel scared to even understand the issue rather than taking preventive measures for their safety.  

I applied this approach during the review of the last IACAT Strategic Plan as I and my colleagues commented that anti-trafficking materials are based on inciting fear among people instead of understanding. This approach was also effective during the role-playing session with the Rohingya refugees on safe migration practices. The participants were able to role play this sensitive issue without triggering trauma, and some of them have directly experienced human smuggling and trafficking.


4. Do you have any advice for young people who want to take action against human trafficking?

Young people must explore all possible avenues in order to effectively campaign against human trafficking. Community engagement, policy advocacy,  capacity-building of potential youth leaders, developing projects and programs for awareness, creative and performing arts, and more can be done to raise awareness and change mindsets about this issue.  No activity is too small. All forms of advocacy must converge and work symbiotically to achieve the meaningful change that we want. Always remember, this is not just about you. It is all about involving people of different backgrounds and persuasions to contribute.

Where are they now?: Naj, Brunei

Naj Where are they now

In 2015 when IOM X was just a few months old we brought together 20 youth leaders from all 10 ASEAN countries in Bangkok for the IOM X ASEAN Youth Forum. The goal was to connect with amazing young people who were passionate about social change and the issue of human trafficking and to share knowledge and resources to help them make an impact.

Now, more than two years later, what are they up to? We reached out to five of the participants and asked them for an update!

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  1. What have you been up to since the IOM X ASEAN Youth Forum?

After the forum, the attendees decided to form the ASEAN Youth Ending Slavery Network and we founded our own country specific network branches in all the ASEAN countries. For Brunei, Amal Kasibah (also one of the forum attendees) and I founded Youth Against Slavery Brunei in 2015 and we continue to organise awareness projects on human trafficking in Brunei. Currently I am working and living in Brunei.

  1. Are you still involved in the issue of human trafficking in any way?

Yes, through Youth Against Slavery Brunei. Check out https://www.facebook.com/YASbrunei/!

  1. Is there anything that has stuck with you from the youth forum?

The forum served as the basis for the awareness projects we have done thus far, from promoting content shared by IOM X to the smart use of graphic and social media in promoting awareness.

  1. Do you have any advice for young people who want to take action against human trafficking?

The things that we consume physically and virtually may, unfortunately, carry the imprint of human trafficking and modern day slavery. It is high time that we be more aware of the role we play in encouraging these activities. We may not be able to solve the problem overnight but our action might change a person’s whole life.

Where are they now?: Moon, Myanmar

Moon Where are they now

In 2015 when IOM X was just a few months old we brought together 20 youth leaders from all 10 ASEAN countries in Bangkok for the IOM X ASEAN Youth Forum. The goal was to connect with amazing young people who were passionate about social change and the issue of human trafficking and to share knowledge and resources to help them make an impact.

Now, more than two years later, what are they up to? We reached out to five of the participants and asked them for an update!

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  1. What have you been up to since the IOM X ASEAN Youth Forum?

I’m currently working at BBC Media Action Myanmar as an Production Assistant with BRACED (Building Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Extremes to Disaster) Project. I’m still studying too as an English major at Dagon University.

  1. Are you still involved in the issue of human trafficking in any way?

Yes. BBC Media Action just started a program about migration and I’m sharing my experiences in using theatre, arts and roadshow activities with MTV EXIT and IOM X to build a network of youth to participate in awareness programs since this BBC Media Action project will be a media -based awareness program through radio and television.

  1. Is there anything that has stuck with you from the youth forum?

I’m really liked the scavenger hunt activity “Find X” in Bangkok related to safe migration. That was fun and interesting too. We didn’t need to sit in the training room all day, instead we had to go find embassies, modes of transportation etc… That activity gave me a lot of good messages about safe migration. And another activity that I liked was the safe migration role play where there were different characters and then people acted out a scene. Those are both good ones that I use them every time someone asks me to participate in a human trafficking or safe migration awareness program.

  1. Do you have any advice for young people who want to take action against human trafficking?

Social media is very popular these days and you can easily share migration information through videos, blogs, etc… The main thing is you need to give the right information to other people because having the wrong information is one of the biggest issues in migration and human trafficking.

Understand Your Audience: Data from 2,000 responses to IOM X Surveys Now Publicly Available

IOMX Bangkok, Thailand, February 12, 2015

Over the past three years, IOM X has conducted surveys with almost 2,000 people in Asia and this data is now available to the public on IOM’s Community Response Map (CRM), here: https://iomx.communityresponsemap.org/

CRM is an online platform where data gathered in communities is collected, coded and mapped, serving as a tool to monitor different populations important to IOM. For IOM X, data from baseline surveys done in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand is available on the CRM site. Respondents included aspirant migrants, returned migrants, employers of migrant workers and young urban audiences.

CRM Map

In the ‘Dashboard’ section, you can navigate through information about the respondents’ sex, age, country, current work status, highest education attained, what industry they are working in, their position at work, and their current household financial situation. Answers to ‘have you migrated before?’,‘where do you want to migrate to?’, ‘have you seen safe migration information before?’, and ‘do you know what human trafficking is?’ are also available. Insights into media usage habits, such as what type of media they own, which media they use on a regular basis, what time of day they use media, how they access the internet, and what social media sites and messenger services they use, are also available.

Have you seen safe migration info

Do you have a desire to migrate

Also, in the ‘Dashboard’ section, filters are available so you can narrow your search. For example, you can select filters to view only selected data such as ‘male’, ‘15-25 year olds’, from ‘Bangladesh’ and ‘Cambodia’.

CRM Filter

To explore IOM X’s data on the Community Response Map, click here: https://iomx.communityresponsemap.org/

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at IOMX@iom.int

Where are they now?: Hang, Viet Nam

Hang where are they now

In 2015 when IOM X was just a few months old we brought together 20 youth leaders from all 10 ASEAN countries in Bangkok for the IOM X ASEAN Youth Forum. The goal was to connect with amazing young people who were passionate about social change and the issue of human trafficking and to share knowledge and resources to help them make an impact.

Now, more than two years later, what are they up to? We reached out to five of the participants and asked them for an update!

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  1. What have you been up to since the IOM X ASEAN Youth Forum?

After joining the forum, I co-organized some events in 2015 with some organizations in Viet Nam. In May 2015, I was a facilitator for a training on the Anti-trafficking in Persons Hotline project to talk about modern slavery and build the capacity of nearly 20 students from the Foreign Trade University (FTU). Then, in August, these students and I supported a field-trip activity of the hotline project and World Vision Vietnam. In September, we worked together to organize a 3-day event at FTU, attracting more than an audience of more than a thousand people. Later that year, my friend and I received some small funding from IOM X. With great support from the trained students, we held a series of three activities such as a music night, a training and an online competition on our Facebook page.

2015 was a memorable year for me! I had the busiest and happiest year. Since then, I decided to focus more on my career path and I am always thankful for the opportunity I grasped from the forum. I’m living now in Hanoi and working in human resources for an international organization.  

  1. Are you still involved in the issue of human trafficking in any way?

Yes, in some ways I still continue to raise awareness about human trafficking among my community. I sometimes read articles about human trafficking, migrants or domestics workers, etc. who are vulnerable to being trafficked and exploited. When someone I know plans to work overseas or even travel, I give them some advice on safe migration (e.g leave your travel details with someone you trust, memorize at least one mobile number in case of emergency) in order to help protect them from human trafficking and other risks.   

  1. Is there anything that has stuck with you from the youth forum? Either something you learned or an activity or resource that you have used again?

Well, a lot I think. During the forum, I had a chance to share my planned activities and listen to the others. We could learn from each other and make our own plans better. After the forum, I used some of the warm-up activities I learned in my trainings and introduced IOM X Act toolkit to the participants. It was such an easy resource for new learners. They found it useful when we explained this kit and shared some real experiences. Another great thing from the forum is that I created a network of great ASEAN friends.

  1. Do you have any advice for young people who want to take action against human trafficking?

Keep a flame of passion. Talk, share and take action with your peers whenever you and they have ideas.

Where are they now?: Chhaya, Cambodia

Chayay then now

In 2015 when IOM X was just a few months old we brought together 20 youth leaders from all 10 ASEAN countries in Bangkok for the IOM X ASEAN Youth Forum. The goal was to connect with amazing young people who were passionate about social change and the issue of human trafficking and to share knowledge and resources to help them make an impact.

Now, more than two years later, what are they up to? We reached out to five of the participants and asked them for an update!

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  1. What have you been up to since the IOM X ASEAN Youth Forum?

I’m still living in my homeland, Cambodia. For the past years, I have done a lot of things. I must say that IOM X ASEAN has taught me a lot and led me to this path. I have been working part-time as a radio presenter. I worked at Destination Justice. I have organized various youth activities, workshops, programs, digital campaigns related to human trafficking issues. And one project that I am most proud of is our Cambodia-ASEAN Youth Ending Slavery which could not be successful without support from groups of young people who are really passionate about fighting against human trafficking. And now I continue to work in this field at the International Organization for Migration.

  1. Are you still involved in the issue of human trafficking in any way?

Absolutely, the International Organization for Migration rescues trafficking victims and offers them options of safe and sustainable reintegration and/or return to their home countries. I’m very glad to be a small part of a big team that works together to create a positive change.

  1. Is there anything that has stuck with you from the youth forum?

There’s no way to take away my memories from the youth forum, everything has always stuck with me. The forum has provided me with two main things that I could never forget: human trafficking knowledge and teamwork experience. 

I had an opportunity to learn from experts from different sectors and backgrounds. I gained a deeper understanding about human trafficking and its main cause. For example, I used to think that the main cause of human trafficking is poverty. But the truth is it’s because of the demand. Human trafficking could happen to anyone, anywhere and in many different situations and industries. We all have a responsibility to prevent and to stop it.

The teamwork experience I had at the forum was far more than I  expected. I  learned about social life, culture and friendship. I also learned from all the participants from ASEAN countries. All these experiences helped me improve in many aspects, they made me become stronger, more matured and helped me become the person I am today. 

  1. Do you have any advice for young people who want to take action against human trafficking?

Welcome to the anti-human trafficking world! You have made the right decision to become part of a great team that saves humankind. The best way to start is to join programs or organizations that are working in this field. You will have a chance to learn and understand more about the issue. The more knowledge you have, the more ideas and actions you can have to fight against human trafficking. We need fresh ideas and energy to continue what we’ve started! We all are human beings. Nobody wants this to happen to your loved ones or anyone else. Please do not stay silent. You have the power to create positive change. Together, I believe that modern day slavery will no longer exist in our wonderful world.

Learn to act, stop exploitation — a memorable visit to IOM

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As a member of the VIA Global Leadership & Engagement Program, I got a chance to tap into a pressing and acute issue facing the world today, which most of us felt powerless to resolve–safe migration and the prevention of human trafficking.

I can still recall when we were sitting on soft office chairs in a bright and spacious meeting room, watching a video by IOM X, and reading data collected by government institutions, the feeling of unease and sadness that motivated me to take on my share of responsibility.

But how? We are neither police nor government officials. No direct combat or policy making can be done. Usually, we feel nothing but vulnerable to it. However, what IOM X has always specialized in offered us a good example to follow.

  1. Incentive

Before the start of the discussion, lecturer Emily first introduced us to IOM X, the International Organization for Migration (IOM and the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) innovative campaign encouraging safe migration and preventing human trafficking.

“Our focus is prevention,” said Emily, which indicates that IOM X doesn’t act as a problem-solver but tries to cut the source of the problem.

Taken in this way, the seemingly dangerous and unattainable issue for most individuals became quite clear and tangible: if every one of us is equipped with basic knowledge about migration and human trafficking, and always a careful observer, we can simply help prevent others from becoming victims and prevent the crime.

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  1. Offer

“This Song Changed My Life” by Simple Plan is one of the videos  IOM X played. It told the story of how a child in forced labour managed to escape. This changed her life as well as thousands of others who lived the same life as her. The crack-down on the crime happened when a man found a note for help sewed secretly into his new shirt’s collar by the girl. Just as Emily told us, “Learn, Act and Share” are three steps that are inseparable from that man’s actions. Only by obtaining knowledge about human trafficking and exploitation will we be able to take more precise action targeting criminal gangs.

In addition to video programmes for television, online platforms and community screenings, IOM X also offers a collection of learning package, tips for taking offline actions and information sharing. During the 2-hour lecture, we learned about ten forms of human trafficking and exploitation (forced marriage, organ trafficking, labour trafficking, debt bondage, child sex trafficking, forced begging, forced domestic work, forced child labour, child soldiers and trafficking for sexual exploitation), staggering numbers of victims and several causes of such crime (poverty and lack of education can be two major ones).

If you are now starting to feel more attracted to this issue as I did, we can move on to the next step—online learning through the IOM X website (IOMX.org).

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  1. Mesmerize

We were lucky enough to be the first of a few to engage in their learning prototype. Following the instructions to enter into the learning platform, what we saw were pages of colourful and vivid comic figure with clearly explained definitions for human trafficking and specially designed questions to deepen our memory and understanding of what we learned. We were also encouraged to give feedback and constructive criticism.

For me, this was my favourite part. For one, I was excited to witness what we were taught about the elements of “design thinking”—a way of promoting projects that focus on the user experience, which is employed and practiced by IOM X. I really did learn actual knowledge in a flexible and interesting way, without spending a large amount of time or enduring the boredom of heavy analysis.

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  1. Xie Xie

 “Xie Xie” is Chinese way of showing thankfulness and appreciation. I’d like to use my mother language as the ending of this blog. Thank you IOM X for providing a platform for people to get closer to human concerns and figure out what they can do about it.  It is a way to use every possible strength together to build a future society that bears less human-caused tragedy.

Post was written by Muki a member of 2017 VIA Global Leadership & Engagement Program.

 

Cleaning up supply chains

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Supply chains in this globalized world are massive and extremely difficult to oversee, and this leads to problems such as human trafficking and forced labour. Fortunately, there are different actors that taking action, and these actions are leading to promising outcomes.

One of these actors is government. As supply chains span across different continents, it is difficult to implement laws that will successfully lead to positive change. In recent years there has been an increased effort from governments to take action. Some examples of this are the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act (2010), Executive Order 13627 (Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking in Persons in Federal Contracts) (2012) and the UK’s Transparency in Supply Chain Provisions (2015). These initiatives require companies to increase their transparency and outline clear solutions to end forced labour in their supply chains.  

Another set of key actors who are producing change is non-governmental organizations (NGOs). A good example is the Responsible Sourcing Network program by As You Sow, which launched the Cotton Pledge in 2011. To date, more than 260 companies have signed, pledging that they will not knowingly source cotton for any of their products from Uzbekistan, a country notorious for using child and forced labour in their cotton industry. Pressure from the Cotton Campaign has caused several large companies to voluntarily sign the pledge. Although tractability is often difficult and companies may unknowingly be producing goods with Uzbek cotton, the Cotton Pledge is a step in the right direction. 

Arguably the actors with the most power are companies themselves, and while many companies have Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) guidelines on forced labour and human trafficking, this are not enough. Regular CSR monitoring mechanisms such as audits, even if done unannounced and through third parties are often ineffective, as companies instruct auditors how deep into the supply chain they should look.[1] Unfortunately few companies look further than the first tier, the factories that supply the finished goods to the companies.

Fortunately some companies are taking concrete steps that can help stem issues such as human trafficking and forced labour. For example, HP Inc., Hewlett-Packard Enterprises, Coca Cola, Unilever and Ikea together with the Institute for Human Rights and Business, Verite, and the Interfaith Centre for Corporate Responsibility, formed the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment. This group calls for the abolition of recruitment fees for migrant workers. The ‘Employer Pays Principle’ has been outlined as one of the group’s core goals. Without recruitment fees, it is more difficult for workers to fall into debt bondage, thereby decreasing the likelihood of forced labour. Collaboration such as this, especially with amongst competing companies, is powerful as it can help create industry standards.[2]

No initiative alone can fix the use of forced labour and the lack of transparency in supply chains. Because supply chains are so big and difficult to oversee, it is important that both public and private actors are vigilant and act in a preventative fashion. For companies, this means understanding their supply chains and the labour that feeds into the factories and farms that are related to suppliers.[3] For government and NGOs/CSOs it is important to take measures such as policy engagement, awareness raising and reaching out to companies to seek joint solutions.

Despite companies’ best efforts, it is likely that cases of forced labour and human trafficking will rise. It is important to remember that the victims need to be protected. Actors in this sphere must do their best to implement corrective actions. Victims must have rights to redress and compensation. It is also essential to support the victims’ economic and social rehabilitation and, especially for migrants, their reintegration into the community.[4]

[1] LeBaron, G. and J. Lister (SPERI – Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute), Ethical Audits and the Supply Chains of Global Corporations (2016).

[2] http://www.supplychainquarterly.com/topics/Global/20161107-three-ways-to-combat-the-risk-of-forced-labor-in-supply-chains/

[3] Vertie, Corruption & Labor Trafficking in Global Supply Chains (December 2013). Available from https://www.verite.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/WhitePaperCorruptionLaborTrafficking.pdf. 

[4] The Ashridge Journal, Corporate Approaches to Addressing Modern Slavery in Supply Chains, 360° Journal (2016).

Who is making your stuff? A look at labour exploitation in supply chains

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Stories of labour exploitation make headlines time and again. It seems that forced labour is in almost every product – shoes made in factories where workers labour 18 hours a day with meagre salaries and no overtime pay, clothes sewn by children who are not attending school, batteries for phones made with minerals extracted in conflict zones by people who see none of the profits. Unfortunately there is no certainty that the clothes we are wearing, the shoes on our feet and the cell phone in our pocket are not affected by this problem.

Companies usually are not purposefully producing their products with forced labour. The problem is that companies’ supply chains are extremely long and complex, making them difficult to oversee. Take for example, the bed sheets you sleep on; first, the cotton must be planted and picked. Next, the raw cotton is sent to spinning mills where it is turned into fibre. After that, it is processed into fabric. This fabric is then sent to a factory where it is cut and sewed into a final product. Until the bed sheet reaches the consumer, the materials to produce it have travelled thousands of kilometres and were processed by countless pairs of hands. There could potentially be labour exploitation in every one of these production steps as it is difficult for the company that sells the sheets to keep track of every worker involved.

The company that sells the bed sheets does not typically own the fields where the cotton is grown, or the factories where the raw material is turned into fabric. Companies are also unlikely to own the factories that create the final product. Instead, suppliers (usually in developing countries) are contracted to produce certain goods. These suppliers are in charge of hiring their own workforce.

The people who are employed in these types of factories are usually low-skilled workers, and often migrants. Labour migration is crucial to our economies as migrant workers fill the labour and skills gaps that exist in countries. However, migrant workers are susceptible to labour trafficking and exploitation. This is because migrants are often marginalized, have limited access to legal and medical services and lack the protection of family and social networks that locals may have. Migrant workers are often recruited under false promises of good wages and working conditions. Once at their workplace they can have their documents confiscated and may be threatened or coerced to work under bad conditions. Products from exploited migrant workers then get distributed all over the world through the intricate supply chains that exist in this era of globalization.

Despite the difficulty of overseeing complex supply chains, there are plenty of motivations for companies to implement strategies that can fix these problems. Primarily, human trafficking is a crime and companies can face legal penalties if found guilty of forced labour. Additionally, cases of human trafficking can cause severe damage to a brand’s reputation and this can be costly as 30 per cent of a business’ value is attributed to its brand. Conversely, a company that publically aims for a clean and sustainable supply chain may also attract more customers, as a study suggests that 87 per cent of customers are likely to change to brands that are associated with a “higher purpose”.

Consumers are becoming more aware and conscious about the products they buy and are increasingly calling on companies for more transparency in their supply chains. In the United States consumers have filed a number of class action lawsuits against companies for not disclosing that there was forced labour involved in their supply chains. Employees themselves are also starting to file lawsuits against companies. Even if such lawsuits are not successful, it is another motivator for companies to eliminate forced labour from their supply chains.

Cleaning up human trafficking and forced labour in supply chains is unfortunately not a quick and easy fix, because there are so many suppliers and workers involved, often spanning multiple continents. Yet since a series of stories broke about child labour in creating goods for major sports brands in the 1990s, companies seem increasingly motivated to clean up supply chains; a study shows that 54 per cent of Fortune 100 companies have policies in place that target human trafficking and 68 per cent have made a commitment to monitor their supply chains. There are a number of effective solutions that are being implemented, some of which you can read about in our next blog.

Give your audience what it wants

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When we make a video here at IOM X, our research team steps in to make sure that what is being created will be clear and appealing to our target audience. Getting feedback along the way helps improve the final product, which will increase the likelihood of having a strong impact with viewers.

One way to get feedback is by holding focus group discussions. This means getting a small group of people together, who ideally match the characteristics of your target audience and presenting them with the idea or the draft product. They are then asked to discuss their thoughts, feelings and emotions towards it.

IOM X recently released a YouTube miniseries that revolves around exploitation and human trafficking in the garment industry. The story is about a fictional clothing company, ‘Torres Fashion’. The company is run by Winston, a young entrepreneur, and the clothes are produced by Mr. Cho, a factory owner. Like some clothing brands we wear on a daily basis, the factory in the miniseries cuts corners, exploiting workers under conditions tantamount to forced labour.

The aim of the miniseries is to make viewers aware of the fact that their clothing may be produced with the use of forced labour or exploitative practices. The viewers should be left thinking and caring about the labour that goes into the products that they use on a daily basis and moved enough to share the videos with their friends.

Armed with the first two scripts of our YouTube miniseries, IOM X’s research and learning team set off to find participants for our focus groups. Three separate discussions with students from Mahidol University and Thammasat University in Bangkok took place. A mix of about 30 bachelor and master’s students, from many different countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam participated in the focus groups.

While each group had different preferences and feedback, some of the same points were raised in all three discussions. For example, Winston’s sister, Lian came across as too stereotypical. In the original script, Lian was an unfashionable intern who cares about the environment and human rights. One participant pointed out, “I think it is a stereotype that people who are not fashionable care about human trafficking”. Another agreed, “It seems very Ugly Betty-ish,” she said.

In two of the three focus groups the idea of having facts at the end of each episode to help raise awareness about exploitation of factory workers came up. A student suggested, “Something that is visual is easier to understand. Maybe have evidence at the end, facts about what trafficking really looks like”. This prompted IOM X to include a quiz question at the end of each episode to let viewers test their knowledge about trafficking and exploitation in the garment industry.

Another common point of feedback from focus group participants was that they do not like to wait for new episodes of a series to be released. One participant explained, “Our generation likes to binge watch. I won’t remember to come back next week to watch the next episode”. Another said, “A week between episodes might be too long. All episodes should be released at the same time. Netflix made me this way. I hate when there is only one episode because then I can’t binge”. Based on this feedback IOM X decided to release all episodes of the YouTube miniseries at once.

Once the focus groups discussions were finished, the IOM X team sat down and discussed the comments generated in the three discussions. The issues that were most often raised were then noted, and this feedback was delivered to the production company, which made the appropriate changes to the scripts. The YouTube miniseries you can now watch HERE, features all these changes.

To learn more about forced labour, visit IOMX.org/ForcedLabour