Join our #LettersforMigrants Campaign!

Brunei guys

Do you care about migrant worker rights, but aren’t sure what you can do to help? Are you a migrant but feel that no one has heard your story?


We’ve all seen disturbing news stories about the abuse of migrant workers. How many left their homes for better lives, only to be exploited, or even trafficked, abroad. It’s a hard life to be sure, but their story shouldn’t stop at abuse.


If we want to make it morally unacceptable to mistreat migrants, we have to change the narrative, to show that we—people like you and me—care about them and are willing to speak out about how they’ve positively impacted our lives. At the same time, we need migrant workers to speak about their lived truths, to fill in the gaps that the media and reports may miss. We need to bring these voices together in solidarity to make real change.


Regardless of what country we live in, we all know migrant workers. Maybe she’s a Filipina who cleans your friend’s house, a Cambodian motorbike driver who takes you to work, a Myanmar woman who waits tables at the restaurant down the street. Maybe she’s your mom. Or maybe she’s you.


With the goal of uniting the voices of migrants and the public, we’ve launched a campaign called #LettersforMigrants. Simply put, we aim to build public support for migrants’ well-being, showing that they’re human beings who deserve to be treated well. Once we’ve collected several letters, we’re going to deliver them to local NGOs across Asia that work with migrant communities.


post card 8


Here’s how YOU can add your voice:


Send your letters to [email protected] and we’ll post them on our Medium page.


Ideas for letters:
1. Personal stories if you have a connection to migration (e.g. a friend or family member who has migrated)
2. An open letter if you just want to express your support to migrant communities
3. If you are a migrant, a letter about your experience or a message to the migrant worker community


To make this more creative, we’re looking for:
• Short letters around 400 words + a photo of yourself holding a white piece of paper that has a short, powerful quote from your letter written on it
• Letters can be in any Asian language (bonus points if you can do this!) or English


And if you’re a superstar:
• An audio recording of you reading your letter OR
• A video recording (can be done with your phone) reading your letter

We all have a role to play in creating social change. Writing a letter of support is a simple, easy action you can do, and you never know how it will brighten someone’s day!

From the Regional COMMIT Youth Forum to my COMMIT-ment


By Ngoc Thi Minh To

Last summer, I spent almost 3 weeks in Siem Reap (Cambodia) to join a youth-led project on human trafficking prevention. Just a few kilometers away from lavish nightclubs and luxurious residences in the heart of the town a totally different world exists: a lot of people are suffering from extreme poverty, living in dilapidated shacks, and desperately migrating to cities or even other countries (often irregularly) to make ends meet.


To be honest, I could never imagine how brutal human trafficking was until I talked to local children. There was a girl whose older brothers followed “friends” to cross the border to Thailand for promising job opportunities and didn’t come back for 10 years. Her family heard that one of the boys had died in Thailand but they didn’t know anyone to contact or have the money to bring his body home.


I heard a lot more stories about unsafe migration and “family friends” taking the children’s siblings away that made me feel sympathy for the victims and indignation toward the traffickers. That summer changed me forever.


Returning from that life-changing trip, I became seriously concerned about human trafficking. Looking back on my project in Siem Reap, I thought we, as a group of young people from around the region, still lacked the knowledge and experience to effectively tackle an issue as complicated as human trafficking. Though our aim was to spread information and warn children about human trafficking in a particular at-risk area, sadly the results did not meet our expectations. There were language barriers, ineffective methods to distribute messages, and the project seemed unsustainable.


It was perfect timing that the application for the Regional COMMIT Youth Forum 2016 opened. I applied for the forum right away and was thrilled to be accepted. I was so excited about the Regional COMMIT Youth Forum in Laos because it would be coordinated by counter-trafficking specialists and I could gain a deeper understanding about how to end modern slavery.


The 5-day forum in Laos was definitely an unforgettable journey. I was most interested in two specific sessions: 1) the exchange sessions for the youth delegates, government, and organizations on the response to human trafficking and 2) the training session on how to deliver positive messages to help prevent human trafficking.


The former gave me an insight into human trafficking in the region through presentations from specialists at Save the Children in Myanmar and China and from a friend living in rural Pathet (Laos). Stories from other delegations contributed to a general picture of poverty, migration, exploitation, and human trafficking in the Greater Mekong Sub-region; those were issues that a young girl living in an urban middle-class family like me had never ever envisaged before.


Through the latter session, I figured out why our summer project was not as successful as we had hoped: we relied on negative messages like “Don’t do this, don’t do that” to raise awareness of human trafficking and unsafe migration. We had thought that positive messages were not cool and alarming enough but they are indeed more effective. Had we realized it sooner, then we would have implemented other ways to raise awareness about human trafficking among children in Siem Reap.


After the forum, I spent more time reading books about human trafficking, victim empowerment and development projects. I’m sure young participants of any youth forums, conferences, or camps are extremely enthusiastic to carry out youth-led projects based on lessons learnt from their programs.


With the lessons learnt from my summer project and the Regional COMMIT Youth Forum, together with my genuine ambition to liberate the vulnerable from the hands of human traffickers, I will continue learning and community organising to prevent human trafficking.


I COMMIT to fight against human trafficking!


Recognize this Fruit?



Heard of sodium lauryl sulfate? What about stearic acid? Glyceryl?


You might not know what these are, but chances are you’ve used all of them (maybe even today). They’re all other names for palm oil and its derivatives. Just take a look at the list of ingredients in your shampoo, your pack of instant noodles, your lipstick, even your ice cream. It’s not clearly labelled “palm oil”—but make no mistake, it’s in almost everything and it’s the most widely consumed vegetable oil on the planet.


In recent years, demand for palm oil has skyrocketed and countries across Southeast Asia—where most of the world’s palm oil is grown—have vastly expanded palm plantations. With growth, however, comes challenges. Many concerns have been raised around the environmental impact given the destruction of rainforests and conversion of carbon-rich peatlands to make way for palm plantations.


More recently, we’ve started to see research documenting human rights abuses in the industry, with some companies being implicated in cases of trafficking, forced labour and child labour on plantations. As complex as global supply chains are, that palm fruit picked by a twelve-year old may very well make it into the shampoo you used this morning.


Two of the most vulnerable groups to abuse in the industry are migrant workers and children. Migrant workers—many of them from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nepal, and India—have had their passports held by their employers, an indicator of forced labour according to the International Labour Organization. Without possession of their identity documents, workers effectively have no way to leave if they’re being mistreated. While in some cases companies have claimed they are merely “safeguarding” passports in case workers lose them, in reality this practice violates labour laws.


The presence of child labourers on plantations is a more complex problem, one that is reflective of systemic exploitation of workers. Adult men are tasked with harvesting the palm fruit—each bunch weighing around 15-20 kilograms—to meet a daily individual quota of around 2 tons. If you do the math, that means chopping down more than 100 bunches of fruit per day—an incredibly high quota for one person alone to meet. So what do these men do? They bring their children to work so they can meet their quota, pulling them out of school to do so. Of course, companies don’t hire these children as workers, meaning their labour goes uncounted and unregulated.


You might be thinking “How could this happen?” For one, the journey from palm oil plantation to the supermarket shelf is a long one, and the processing and refining that transforms the massive palm fruit into sodium lauryl sulfate goes through many stages and passes through many hands. Companies buy from large suppliers, who source from multiple mills, who themselves source from multiple plantations across the region. Thus, tracing supply chains down to individual plantations is a complicated task, and it’s one several responsible companies are currently trying to map. After all, it only takes one drop tainted by forced labour or child labour to taint the ocean.


This is not to say that the palm oil industry is wholly bad or that you need to start boycotting your favourite ice cream brand. As abuses come to light, there are companies that are acting to fully trace their supply chains and enforce sustainable palm oil sourcing commitments that address both environmental and human rights concerns. It’s up to you, as a responsible consumer, to do your homework.

ราแคร์ แล้วคุณหละ IOM X PSA (Thai)

Trafficking in the Fishing Industry


IOM X เปิดตัวมิวสิควิดีโอ “ปริศนา: ภาพยนตร์สั้น โดย IOM X” ที่แน่นไปด้วยดาราศิลปินที่มีชื่อเสียงมารวมตัวกันเพื่อสร้างความตระหนักเกี่ยวกับปัญหาการค้ามนุษย์ในอุตสาหกรรมประมง 
Thai with English subtitles

มิวสิควิดีโอ ปริศนาโดย IOM X (Thai)


IOM X เปิดตัวมิวสิควิดีโอเพลง ปริศนา: ภาพยนตร์สั้น โดย IOM X วันนี้ แคมเปญที่แน่นไปด้วยดาราศิลปินที่มีชื่อเสียงมารวมตัวกันเพื่อสร้างความตระหนักในเรื่องการค้ามนุษย์ในอุตสาหกรรมประมง.

ปริศนา ภาพยนตร์สั้น โดย IOM X (Thai)


IOM X เปิดตัวมิวสิควิดีโอ “ปริศนา: ภาพยนตร์สั้น โดย IOM X” ที่แน่นไปด้วยดาราศิลปินที่มีชื่อเสียงมารวมตัวกันเพื่อสร้างความตระหนักเกี่ยวกับปัญหาการค้ามนุษย์ในอุตสาหกรรมประมง