Incubating Solutions to Fight Human Trafficking

Human trafficking, also known as modern slavery or forced labour, affects more than 40 million around the world. As the world’s 3rd fastest form of organized crime, worth an estimated USD150 billion dollar industry, it is easy to see the financial incentive to lure victims into forced labor. Every aspect of this crime is a business – from recruiting, transporting, organizing to monitoring and ensuring the forced labor continues.

Mirroring the stages of the traffickers, the non-profit sector working to combat this issue can briefly be categorized by their main objectives – awareness, prevention, advocacy, enforcement, shelter and resettlement. Although separate in their direction and functional objectives, these NGOs are dedicated in working towards one goal: to end modern slavery.

However, without the right tools, the majority of the non-profit sector working against the crime fall behind the sophisticated techniques used by the traffickers. Without using digitally secure networks, without knowing how to navigate cyberspace without leaving their digital footprints, without using the right communication techniques to speak to their target audience, much of their physical and digital safety is compromised, not to mention their hard work gone to waste.

Over the last few months from August to October, TechSoup conducted a series of workshops for the anti-human trafficking sector. Most participants were Malaysian based NGOs, a handful were unions and organizations set up to address the forced migrant labor issue. The training topics spanned from data visualization, digital security, communication tools, social media insights, fundraising, and even basic photography. The event culminated in an NGO Incubator Pitch, modeled after the “Shark Tank” pitches.

Each participating NGO had 10 mins to pitch their case. Their presentation started with the tech tools used to design and execute a short social media campaign of their choice; an honest sharing of their challenges and successes; and finally, the pitch: why should TechSoup and Yayasan Salam incubate and grow them?

The grand prize, worth USD1,700, comprised a customized training plan, 1-1 support, fundraising service support, mentoring with NGO start-ups, licensed software and a tech gadget of choice.

The winner of the NGO Incubator Pitch was Ziaur Rahman, a Rohingya refugee and a human trafficking victim who has been sold 7 times in his life. Since arriving in Malaysia, and obtaining his UNHCR status, Ziaur has campaigned tirelessly on violence against Rohingyas. The panel of judges were impressed with his ability to demonstrate clearly his goals, his vision for the road ahead, and mostly, that he was able to articulate how this incubation was important in ending modern slavery.

Second prize winner was Tenaganita who received a prize value of USD800, which includes customized training, licensed software and 1-1 support. Honorary mention that won a prize value of USD300 was Friends of Women Organisation, Selangor (Persatuan Sabahat Wanita, Selangor).

The winners will be incubated from November 2018 to April 2019. During this period, the winning NGOs will receive additional resources, support and help for them to campaign more effectively against human trafficking.

The project is funded by the U.S Embassy of Malaysia, and carried out in partnership with Yayasan Salam Malaysia. For more information on the project, please contact Elizabeth Liew at eliew@techsoupglobal.org

TechSoup and Yayasan Salam: Strengthening organizations in anti-human trafficking Malaysia

TechSoup Asia-Pacific and local partner, Yayasan Salam, recently completed a series of digital tech training for non-government organizations (NGOs) working in anti-human trafficking in Malaysia.

Funded by the US Embassy in Malaysia, the project was designed with three key objectives in mind: to promote a cross-country and regional learning platform; to provide and make knowledge, tech resources and tools accessible, and most importantly, to maintain open spaces in shrinking civil society space.

In line with TechSoup’s mission to empower NGOs around the world, the capacity building component of this programme is the essence of the project. However, aside from improving their digital tech capacities, the project also aims to build linkages between local, regional NGOs as well as industry experts. With a larger and stronger network, increased trust and understanding of the various key players, the ecosystem can grow, and

The curriculum is a combination of module-based topics, one-on-one consultancy with facilitators and post-workshop support, was divided into two 2-day sessions, one in August and another in September.

The modules included data visualisation, online storytelling techniques, and basics of mobile photography, basic graphic design and video making tools using open source software, investigative journalism techniques, and fundraising and donor campaigns. Registration stood at 42 NGOs over the total 4 day session, with a mix of NGOs working on awareness, prevention, advocacy, resettlement and shelter.

The series of workshops continued with follow-up trainings on topics in demand, such as graphic design and simple video making tools, conducted by TechSoup Asia-Pacific’s Program Manager Jed Adao.

Malaysia is a popular destination country for traffickers. Victims come from all walks of life around the Asia-Pacific region – some are women who are sex trafficked, or trapped in domestic helper jobs; male migrant labourers who work in the construction sector in modern slavery conditions, many of whom are being held on debt bondage; or refugees who have been sold, resold and exploited in many ways.

Despite the significant efforts of eliminating human trafficking, Malaysia was downgraded to Tier 2 Watchlist on the 2018 Trafficking in Persons list. Over the year, the government convicted more traffickers, increased criminal enforcement of unauthorised passport retention, granted more freedom of movement, and among the larger moves – the Malaysian government tripled its funding for three NGO-run shelters in the country, and opened its first trafficking-specific court.

The year 2020 holds much significance for Malaysia. Back in 1991, the nation announced Wawasan 2020 : the year that Malaysia would achieve developed nation status level. It has since been pushed to 2050.

In recent years, with the escalation of human trafficking cases that has placed Malaysia in negative international limelight, the government has made significant efforts to improve the situation, increasing enforcement and prosecutions, making amendments to current legislations to protect the migrant communities. By 2020, the government hopes that Malaysia will promoted to Tier 1 on the Trafficking in Persons list.

Calling all NGOs in the Anti-Human Trafficking Sector – Step Up For the NGO Incubator Pitch

Working towards social transformation is never a straight road. The painstaking effort undertaken by all actors at various levels of governance such as the policy-making, enforcement and grassroot levels must work as a cohesive unit to truly tackle the issue of human trafficking in order to effectively eradicate what we now understand to be modern slavery.

This series incorporates classroom style learning of theory and hands-on practice, post-workshop support for participants, ultimately culminating with an NGO Incubator Pitch where the winner will not only receive a tech gadget to help them with their work, but also the much envied opportunity to develop one’s tech capacity through means and platforms provided by TechSoup for a period of one year!

All eligible NGOs will be competing to showcase how they have applied what they have learnt from the workshops – from data visualisation, graphic design skills and video making tools – to help them address gaps and deficits in their campaigns and lobbying efforts.

The NGO Incubator Pitch is an opportunity for NGOs to become more effective whether it is engaging with victims of human trafficking or to create awareness in order to develop better infrastructure for victims of human trafficking.

USEFUL LINKS:
Download the Application Form
Post-Workshop/Incubator Timeline
Recommended Timeline
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Consultation Calls

COMING SOON!
Panel of Judges
Prizes

Continue reading Calling all NGOs in the Anti-Human Trafficking Sector – Step Up For the NGO Incubator Pitch

Strengthening Capacities of NGOs working in Anti-Human Trafficking

 In an increasingly globalized and digitized world, ‘organizing for change’ has moved beyond the mere mobilization of people in a physical space, but also the organizing of data and narrative to make meaningful and compelling statements in line with campaign goals. As civil society take their campaigns online to reach a wider audience, it is necessary that they are also equipped with the necessary tools to design a successful and impactful campaign.

TechSoup Asia-Pacific in partnership with Yayasan Salam is organizing a series of workshops to help improve the tech capacity of NGOs working towards combating human trafficking in Malaysia. Through sharing national and regional best practices, knowledge, tools and resources at the workshop, we also hope to strengthen the knowledge pool and network of anti-human trafficking players.

This workshop is the first among a series of workshops that incorporate classroom style learning of theory and hands-on practice (see full agenda here), post-workshop support for participants, and a convening for shared learning and successes of the applications of these tech tools to combat anti-human trafficking.Throughout 3 sessions (see more details below), the workshops will tackle various digital literacy topics ranging from proper utilization of data to digital security.

training-series-schedule

Currently, the Series A workshop – for Data Visualization, Security and Protection – is already fully booked and is expected to cater for a number of  leading NGOs that focus on combating human trafficking. This group will be trained by professionals and experts from both the human rights sector, and the field of data science.

To learn more about the expected content, you may see the agenda for the initial workshop below:

If you are working for, or with, an NGO which you think would be interested in the succeeding workshops, please feel free to contact both Liz Liew at eliew@techsoupglobal.org for more information.

ICT in the outskirts of Malaysia

Yayasan Salam, our partner NGO in Malaysia, recently set up a Mini Library and Community ICT Center in a small town in Batu Caves, in the outskirts of Selangor.

The two-year project funded by HSBC Malaysia aims to bridge the digital divide between the socio-economic groups in the country. Individuals who live in smaller towns and outskirts of the city, generally cannot afford to attend paid computer lessons. Without simple technology knowledge, their employment opportunities are reduced to minimum wage blue-collar worker jobs.

Over the last few months, volunteers from Yayasan Salam have taught the basics of navigating the Internet, understanding computer components, website development, video making and editing, along with walk-throughs of common office productivity suites to more than 30 individuals in the community.

Although the center was initially set up to teach computer skills to 13-18 year olds, it has since received students from various socio-economic groups, predominantly unemployed youth and single mothers who are intent on learning new computer skills. Armed with basic technology skills, these individuals be given better job opportunities and contribute to the nation’s goal in Malaysia’s Eleventh Plan of developing human capital, towards becoming an advanced nation.

Malaysia — Yayasan Salam

Yayasan Salam Malaysia is a nonprofit organization that promotes the spirit of volunteerism among Malaysians, providing opportunities for individuals to volunteer in communities, both locally and internationally. In recent years, Yayasan Salam has embarked on several community projects from women empowerment, ICT for rural youth, to education for indigenous groups in Malaysia.

  • Email: info@salam.org.my
  • Website: salam.org.my
  • Tel: (+60) 3 7958 4021