BANGKOK, 25 November 2013 – Twenty-four young people from Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam attended MTV EXIT's second annual ASEAN Youth Forum in Bangkok from 14-17 November. The purpose of the Forum was to equip young people with the knowledge and tools they need to hold creative human trafficking awareness-raising events in their communities.
"The MTV EXIT ASEAN Youth Forum brings together young people from around the region with a shared interest in reducing human trafficking in their communities. The Forum empowers these young people to take actions that will bring visibility to the crime and help people make wiser migration choices," said Matt Love, Director, MTV EXIT.
As part of the Forum, participants were trained to use MTV EXIT’s newly developed My EXIT Plan toolkit, which provides a blueprint for holding engaging human trafficking-awareness events.
"This issue is important to me because anybody can be trafficked. By using the toolkit, I can help make people in my community aware of risky situations and teach them how to stay safe," said Rochelle Medrano, 25, from the Philippines.
Kroekkiat Kavindhra Tiamsai, 21, from Thailand, said: "This Forum gave us a deep look in to human Trafficking, and a better understanding of this unacceptable human rights violation. By empowering people like me to spread awareness of this issue loudly and effectively in my communities, we will reduce the number of people who fall into the trafficking trap."
The participants, aged 18-25 years old, were selected following a call for applications on MTV EXIT’s social media platforms and website. The group included the MTV EXIT Youth Leader from each of the six countries as well as MTV EXIT Youth Ambassadors who have previously participated in MTV EXIT activities in their home communities.
MTV EXIT is providing US$200 to fund each Forum participant's human trafficking awareness-raising event to mark International Day for the Abolition of Slavery on (or around) 2 December. The ASEAN Youth Forum provided a platform for participants to work with MTV EXIT staff and partner to fine-tune their event plans for this day.
"The Forum was a great opportunity to get different perspectives on the same issue. Having an opportunity to present my human trafficking awareness-raising event plans to such a diverse group was really helpful," said Nadia Arviani, 20, from Indonesia.
This is MTV EXIT's second annual ASEAN Youth Forum. The first forum (called the MTV EXIT ASEAN Youth Sessions) was held in Jakarta in December 2012.
The MTV EXIT campaign is produced in partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through the Australian aid program and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and supported by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The MTV EXIT ASEAN Youth Forum was supported by Air Asia.
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MTV EXIT is the world’s largest behaviour change campaign in the fight against human trafficking and exploitation. Harnessing the power of the MTV brand, MTV EXIT’s mission is to contribute to a reduction in human trafficking through the design and implementation of innovative on-air, on-the-ground and online activities that equip young people to make informed, empowered decisions. Launched in 2004, MTV EXIT has held 38 awareness-raising concerts in 18 countries, reaching over 800,000 people on the ground with critical information about human trafficking. More than 87 million people have watched MTV EXIT programs on television, and thousands more have attended over 200 community outreach events. For more information, please visit www.mtvexit.org
Australian aid program
The Australian Government's aid program is improving the lives of millions of people in developing countries. Australia is working with the governments and people of developing countries to deliver aid where it is most needed and most effective. In East Asia, the Australian aid program helps to address regional and transboundary development challenges such as human trafficking and migration, and pandemics and emerging infectious diseases. For more information, visit http://aid.dfat.gov.au/Pages/home.aspx
USAID, the United States Agency for International Development, is an independent U.S. Government agency that operates under the foreign-policy direction of the U.S. Secretary of State. Since 1961, USAID has been the principal U.S. Government agency extending assistance to countries worldwide recovering from disaster, trying to escape poverty, and. engaging in democratic reforms. USAID’s Regional Development Mission for Asia, based in Bangkok, oversees a broad portfolio of regional and transnational programs, and also provides support to several USAID bilateral missions in Asia as well as manages programs in countries in which it does not have a permanent presence. Its regional approach addresses problems that cross national boundaries, such as human and wildlife trafficking, HIV/AIDS, natural resources conservation, trade, and political and economic conflict. For more information, visit www.usaid.gov.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established on 8 August 1967. The Member States of the Association are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The ASEAN Secretariat is based in Jakarta, Indonesia. General information on ASEAN appears on-line at the ASEAN Website: www.asean.org.