Refugees and migrants at risk of trafficking
International migration is a phenomenon affecting economic, social, cultural and safety aspects in the era of globalization and delicate geopolitical balances.
The world is faced with a rising migration trend in the past few years, due to conflicts, persecution, poverty and disasters – according to some estimates, over 70 million people around the world are officially displaced.
Thousands of these people are at risk of falling victim to trafficking, either through wide organised networks of traffickers or in individual attempts to cross borders in most dangerous circumstances and life-threatening conditions, reaching out for a new hope.
Migrants from MARRI participants who seek employment in Western Europe face forced labour and forced criminality. Besides that, migrants originating from Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa who transit through the territory of MARRI participants to reach Western Europe, either travelling or being smuggled, are highly vulnerable to trafficking. This particularly refers to women and unaccompanied minors who get stranded in a country of transit and may become victims of different types of trafficking, such as sex trafficking, domestic servitude, child begging, and forced labour in construction and agricultural sectors. Migrants from neighbouring MARRI participants are mainly vulnerable to forced labour, particularly during the summer tourism season.
Raising awareness, empathy and understanding about issues faced by migrants and refugees and their daily exposure to the dangers of trafficking is much needed in today’s societies across Europe, to sustain support for human rights protection and democracy despite economic challenges faced on a global scale.
In the framework of a specific toolbox/concept developed for creating awareness raising campaigns about trafficking in human beings, we have enabled a cross choice among different target groups and campaign objectives for these groups, with a short advice on the best selection of tools for the chosen campaign type.
Choosing a target group means focusing on people interested in /sensitive to a certain topic and issues that need to be addressed in the communication. Target groups in the awareness raising campaigns may include: general public, vulnerable groups (e.g. women, children, migrants etc.), media, civil society organisations, decision makers, etc.
The awareness about a selected topic is raised for one or several objectives, which differ in regard to the selected target groups. These objectives may comprise: to inform people / raise awareness on a certain topic, educate on modalities of prevention among vulnerable groups and other target groups, induce change in behaviour among key target groups, start a public discussion, or influence relevant policy /regulatory changes referring to a selected issue, etc.
Once you have identified your target groups and objectives of the campaign, you need to select the right communication channels and tools to ensure continuous flow of information in your campaign. Tools relevant for a specific topic within the awareness raising campaign may range to include: PR (press release, interview, feature story, guest appearance, press conference etc.), TVC /radio, digital and social media, film and video, promotional /informative materials, public debates, workshops, public events, out of home advertising, position papers, etc.
- Produce clear, simple educational and informative materials (multilingual brochures, posters, leaflets), distribute them in shelters and refugees & migrants centers.
- Use online groups (Viber, FB, WhatsApp) to share promotional materials that educate and warn refugees and migrants.
- Warning signs and leaflets with a clear explanation or situations posing risks of entrapment in trafficking help educate migrants and refugees to recognize risky or dangerous situations.
- Multilingual video testimonials or expert-led role play with psychologist and NGO support in shelters, especially for children as part of the migrants & refugees vulnerable group.
- Short, simple, and clear animated videos with stories about real-life cases of forced labour and trafficking can be sponsored on web platforms, but also played in shelters.
- Representatives of migrants should and can be included in the public discussion of this type as interlocutors, and their speeches can be used as testimonials.
- Create an integrated communication campaign targeting general public, by using different PR tools and mass media, with a clear and concrete messages. THB.
- Use media tools such as press conferences, press releases, interviews, feature stories, guest appearances to share objective information.
- With a social media campaign including ads & posts on popular platforms, TVC/Radio ads.
- Use out-of-home advertising (public transport stickers, park benches, city lights, billboards).
- Use PR tools, including direct communication, to explain the trafficking issue related to migrants and refugees, and educate the public about the topic.
- Use infographics to present the situation and provide information on modalities of support in shelters.
- Billboards or posters in buses/trains at bus/train stations are useful to raise awareness.
- Select adequate PR tactics and activities to motivate people to show more empathy and avoid xenophobia, with a clearly measurable call to action.
- In a social media campaign use ads & posts on popular platforms, and induce discussions to measure engagement.
- Use some of out-of-home advertising tools such as city lights with interactive displays (creative visual invites one to press the button to learn more about the topic) to reach out to the general public.
- In order to evoke empathy and avoid prejudice and xenophobia towards migrants and refugees among general public, use public relations tools such as TVC and radio ads with effective slogan, and social media posts with the same hashtag.
- Engage celebrities to spread the message about the status of migrants and refugees in local communities, by sharing the key message via their profiles n social media and via interviews, & tv appearances.
- By planning public discussions, round tables, and conferences that include representatives of the CSO sector, experts and intermediaries (social and health workers etc.) you can present and exchange field data and statiscs on this issue.
- Networking among various civil society organisations provides data sharing and learning about best practices and case studies that can improve your future plans and activities.
- Provide press releases with statistic to media, or oganise a press conference.
- Provide statistical data and best practices from international environment to educate CSOs about trafficking of refugees and migrants, and organise a series of training sessions.
- Provide guidelines to CSOs for addressing trafficking issues among this vulnerable population. e.g. by using adequate language, understandable signs and visuals.
- Encourage involvement in collaboration with relevant state bodies to combat trafficking through better prevention mechanisms and support to the refugees and migrants.
- Encourage CSOs to act through advocacy towards decision makers in order to induce the change in a broader setting, to combat xenophobia and tackle the importance of human rights agenda.
- Set public debates & round tables with the participation of experts, media, third-party endorsers, CSOs and public institutions to present the complexity of the refugees and migrants status, in particular faced with risk of being trafficked for purposed of sexual exploitation and forced labour.
- Create a draft policy brief with recommendations for the improvement.
- Organise round tables and public debates with representatives of CSOs dealing with human rights, targeting migrants and refugees, intermediaries (social workers, healthcare workers, police).
- Prepare a press release for media and share the information with the public.
- Organise intreviews and tv guest appearances to explain the topic and the initiative.
- Involve media as partners in an integrated communication campaign to raise awareness about THB among general public and other key stakeholders.
- Encourage media to stand out against xenophobia and trafficking among migrants & refugees, by regularly disseminating information about this topic.
- Provide to media brochures and statistical data on the topic of trafficking among migrants & refugees that can be used as a source of information to be further disseminated to their audiences.
- Invite media to participate in trainings and round tables on this topic.
- Advocate with media to give space to experts whose task is to sensitise the public about trafficking issues among migrants & refugees.
- Engage media to participate in round tables on the topic of trafficking among migrants & refugees and put this topic on their agenda on a long run.
- Encourage media to speak out about the fact that dangers of trafficking lie ahead of any of us who may face harsh living conditions at some point in life, while migrants and refugees have to be perceived as our neighbours that need support.
- With collected relevant data and information from the field, propose the organisation of a joint workshop with relevant public institutions (in the field of health care, social welfare, police) in order to discuss exposure of migrants and refugees to risks of trafficking.
- Prepare a press conference after the workshop, with a press release and a brochure with illustrative data, infographics about migrants flows, mechanisms of reception and support.
- Request from public institutions to support a workshop or training course with the engagement of different intermediaries (healthcare and social workers, shelter workers, police officers, psychologists etc.) aimed at discussing the dangers of trafficking , as well as the mechanisms of prevention and support.
- Prepare a press release with joint conclusions on best practices in future work.
- In coordination with human rights experts, academia, CSOs, present a fact sheet with recent data on combating trafficking to public institutions in charge for issues of migrants and refugees.
- Require support in setting up a joint working group to assess the status of migrants and refugees in shelters and within local communities.
- Require direct meetings with relevant public institutions to discuss the policy brief and work towards creating a position paper that defines further steps in improving education, prevention and support towards migrants and refugees.
- Involve representatives of CSOs dealing with human rights, experts, media and public institutions in a round table.
- Organise a press conference to present joint conclusions and recommendations.
Examples of Good Practice
The section “Best Practice” is intended to show what works best for particular topics or environments in awareness raising campaigns. Descriptions are made according to data available on-line and illustrate specific practices that have proved to be successful in their implementation. Campaigns described in this section were internationally implemented.