Lao and Thai media participate in joint training to increase awareness of human trafficking
Members of the Lao and Thai press, including journalists, radio presenters, and producers, participated in a Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative Against Trafficking (COMMIT) training workshop aimed at increasing their knowledge of human trafficking, and providing them with an understanding of the issue from a local context.
Jointly organised by the Lao Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, the Thai Ministry of Social Development and Human Security of Thailand, and UNIAP, the event was held in Mukdahan province, Thailand between the 29th of March and the 2nd of April 2012.
The event was attended by twenty-five Lao media personnel from Vientiane Capital and Bolikhamxay, Khammuan and Savannakhet provinces, alongside with 43 Thai media personnel from the Nakhon Phanom, Mukdahan, Amnat Charoen and Ubon Ratchathani provinces.
Deputy Director General of Thai Department of Social Development and Social Welfare, Mr Vithad Techaban, addressed the participants at the opening ceremony.
“The media plays an important role in terms of social development,” he said. “The media is able to encourage people to participate, to learn and to act. The media provides a bridge to deliver messages and experiences to the public, helping empower people to change their attitudes and practices. Good media can lead and protect people from the two countries from becoming victims of human trafficking. Good media is important to social development,” he added.
In 2005 the governments of Lao PDR and Thailand signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work together in the fight against human trafficking. Under the MOU, media training workshops have been conducted since 2008 as part of a wider communications strategy that aims to raise awareness of human trafficking and increase safe migration.
The four-day workshop focused on providing media officers and journalists with technical training on what is human trafficking and how it occurs in the region. They were also presented with information on the Thai and Lao governments’ operational plans and approaches to addressing human trafficking in the border regions.
Developing cooperation between media outlets was also a theme of the event, with participants agreeing to implement prevention measures such as:
To strengthen the cooperation and effectively raise awareness, participants proposed that the two governments consider a pilot activity on the border areas of Ubon Ratchathani and Champasak province, Savannakhet and Mukdahan, Khammuan and Nakhon Phanom, Vientiane Capital, Nong Khai, Bokeo and Chiang Rai. The radio station agreed to provide each other airtime for their respective awareness campaigns. This strategy would help ensure a consistent message to audiences of two countries who have access to both airwaves.