MTV Exit Fights Human Trafficking - The Borgen Project
MTV, in cooperation with USAID, Australian Aid and ASEAN, has launched an awareness campaign targeted at young people called MTV Exit, which seeks to raise awareness about human trafficking, especially in the Asia Pacific region.

The program seeks to educate young people in the region and around the world about human trafficking through media campaigns such as music videos, informational videos and through other interactive tools. A significant number of these tools are also specifically targeted toward young people in the Asia-Pacific region who are disproportionately affected by human trafficking globally.

Part of the campaign includes what MTV calls an Exit Map, available on the campaign’s home page. The Exit Map is a 6-hour workshop through which anyone can educate a target group about human trafficking, the ways to prevent trafficking and methods for helping survivors.

The first part of the workshop focuses on making participants feel comfortable around each other and with the instructor so that the many difficult topics associated with human trafficking can be more easily and freely discussed. According to the workshop, it is important to make sure people feel they are in a safe environment so that misconceptions and myths about trafficking can be most easily debunked.

Another focus of the workshop is on the danger of taking risks. Trafficking takes place when traffickers take advantage of people in vulnerable situations trying to pursue their dreams. They often lure young people with promises of fantastic jobs and good wages, knowing that they are more likely to take chances in order to achieve their dreams.

The Exit Map workshop tries to educate people about how to spot traffickers. It teaches people to ask the right questions of potential employers and to use a hotline in order to identify whether an advertised job is run by a legitimate company or if it is merely a hoax used by traffickers to capture people.

MTV’s definition of human trafficking is “when someone is recruited, moved, held, or received in order to be exploited.” According to the campaign, human trafficking is a process that includes more than just exploiting the person; it involves recruiting, holding and moving the person in order to exploit them. Therefore the issue must be addressed at all levels of the process in order to most effectively combat it. Educating people about how to spot illegitimate job offers, for example, attempts to combat the recruiting phase of trafficking.

The campaign also emphasizes that traffickers can be anyone and that trafficking is a business facilitated by the demand for cheap products in other countries like the United States. As long as people keep demanding cheap products, people in other countries will continue to be trafficked into forced labor in order to make these cheap products. Therefore MTV emphasizes that consumers should be educated on where and how goods are made and whether slavery took place in any part of the supply chain, which means holding companies accountable for inspecting their supply chains and addressing slavery where it exists.

MTV also seeks to educate young people about the many different types of trafficking. When most people think of trafficking, their first thought sex trafficking, but it also includes forced labor, debt bondage, trafficking into domestic work, child adoption and trafficking of women for surrogacy, trafficking for the removal of organs and trafficking for marriage.

The last point that MTV hopes to emphasize through its Exit Map education plan is that vulnerability is not the cause of human trafficking. Circumstances such as poverty, hunger, lack of education and gender inequalities do not cause trafficking. These things make it easier for traffickers to exploit and take advantage of people, but traffickers are the cause of trafficking.

As long as there are people willing to exploit other people in vulnerable situations, trafficking will exist. Therefore, tackling the problem is two-fold. Improve people’s situations so that traffickers are no longer able to take advantage of vulnerability and educate vulnerable people about how to spot traffickers effectively cutting off trafficker’s supply of easily exploitable vulnerable human beings; this is how to combat human trafficking.

— Erin Sullivan

Sources: Mumbrella, MTV Exit 1, MTV Exit 2, MTV Exit 3, MTV Exit 4, MTV Exit 5, MTV Exit 6
Photo: Tumblr