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.