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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.