CCLP Researchers in Jakarta Launch Major Study on Media & the Fight Against Trafficking

The Technology & Trafficking research team spent a week in Jakarta, Indonesia, to launch a major study that assesses the potential success and effectiveness of media campaigns to raise awareness and ultimately change behavior towards human trafficking. The project is being conducted with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Institute of International Education (IIE), and MTV EXIT Foundation.

The research team is co-led by CCLP research director Mark Latonero, Ph.D. and USC Annenberg Communication professor, CCLP faculty fellow Patricia Riley and Annenberg associate professor Sheila Murphy. Research associates include Communication doctoral student Prawit Thainiyom and Masters of Public Diplomacy student Soraya Ahyaudin.

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CCLP researchers in Jakarta. (From left: Soraya, Wit, Mark, Patti, and Ali Aulia Ramly, a Child Protection Specialist from UNICEF Jakarta).

Indonesia has high rates of social media engagement and participation, says Latonero. Jakarta provides an ideal laboratory to assess the impact of mass media campaigns to penetrate local awareness and mobilize citizens to counter trafficking, adding, “The potential for utilizing such a widespread presence of social media for good in combatting human trafficking is promising for a country known as a source, destination and transit country for trafficked victims of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor.”

Specific objectives of the research address how public opinion survey and social media research can be utilized to assess attitudes, awareness, and behaviors of Indonesian youths. The team met with several organizations, including the State Department, USAID, UNICEF, MTV Exit; NGOs such as Walk Free and change.org and several local stakeholders to better understand the local perception and cultural sensitivities to human trafficking.

Additionally, the CCLP team presented a two-day workshop for local NGOs from the nearby region Indramayu, an area known for having large numbers of trafficking victims. The workshop was organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Indonesia, and brought together more than 20 participants.

CCLP’s presentation was praised by Nurul Qoiriah, the national project coordinator for the Counter Trafficking and Labour Migration Unit for IOM Indonesia.

“It was a pleasure to have the USC research team present in Jakarta […] The workshop is great and it enables us to learn valuable theory, methods and practice to better develop awareness raising projects in IOM. I am also excited to share the knowledge on trafficking situation in Indonesia as well as IOM’s role on assisting the trafficked victims for the workshop,” she said.

With the conclusion of a successful workshop, the collaborative research relationship between USC, local NGOs and international organizations with the final report to be completed in late 2014.