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

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.

  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).

  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.

  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.


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