Most people know the story of Cinderella but before you get to the part about the fairy godmother, fancy ball and the swooning prince with a missing shoe, it’s a story about a young woman who is forced to work long hours, without pay, cooking and cleaning for her stepmother and stepsisters. You know what that sounds like? Exploitation. Cinderella was a victim of forced labour as a domestic worker. It’s strange to think of a well-known fairytale as a story about exploitation but really, it shouldn’t be surprising since exploitation exists in many different sectors, all around the world. The challenge is how we connect a complicated, global issue to our everyday lives. How can we bring more people into the conversation about what human trafficking is and how we can help end it?
Project Liber8 is one organization that’s leading the way when it comes to engaging young people in Malaysia as advocates against human trafficking. With the support of partners like the Malaysian and US Governments, CIMB Bank and local artists and schools, they’ve been coming up with creative ways to get people talking about human trafficking. They’ve organized over 10 big events that have reached thousands of people, including the Freedom Festival that focused on using art and music to share thoughts on human trafficking. Recently, they decided to channel the power of social media to take the conversation about human trafficking to a new audience - Malaysian YouTubers and their fans.
Advoc8:The YouTube Edition brought together media students and YouTubers for a two-day workshop in January 2016 about human trafficking and effective communication strategies. IOM X was invited to facilitate some of these discussions and we were really excited to help social media savvy Malaysians figure out how they can get the people they’re connected to online thinking, talking and acting in ways that help to prevent human trafficking. As Daniel Lo, a human rights lawyer and special advisor to the Malaysian Prime Minister’s Office, said at the workshop, even when we know a situation is bad, we often don’t recognize that it’s exploitation - just like in the case of Cinderella. More awareness needed!
The next step is for the videos to be created and then posted and shared on YouTube with a screening party in Kuala Lumpur in April. A winning film will be chosen based on view on YouTube and audience votes at the screening. IOM X will be helping push out these videos so stay tuned!