Reporting Trafficking in Persons: A Media Handbook

30 Dec 2006


Media play an important role in the prevention and control of trafficking and HIV by disseminating information to key stakeholders and people at large. This publication promotes good practices and aims to favourably impact coverage of the many issues that surround trafficking and HIV. It also intends to demystify the subject, set out a roadmap for the media and provide fresh inputs to them on reporting.

Trafficking and HIV have both emerged as two of the fastest growing development challenges faced by the country today. Whilst the two social issues are huge challenges on their own, the linkages between them create even greater challenges that must be understood if the design of our responses is to facilitate the kind of change we seek.

Poverty and the lower social status of women in our society make them more vulnerable and susceptible to such exploitation, and also heighten their vulnerability to HIV. Those who become HIV positive as a result find themselves further ostracised and marginalised with even fewer options of regaining societal acceptance.

Media can play a critical role in the prevention and control of trafficking and HIV by increasing the knowledge and understanding among key stakeholders and people at large. The media can give a face to the issue, shape the debate and help determine the choices available. It has been observed that reporting on such issues is inadequate and quite often sensationalised. While we don’t undermine the work that has been done already, there is still a need for continued, consistent and sensitive reporting on the issue and commitment from the media and the public which will be translated into action.

Through this publication, we intend to get the media on board while campaigning to put an end to trafficking in persons, changing the gender-poverty equation and social attitudes that prompt it, with the purpose of turning the media into a agent of social change. As a result, it is hoped that this will create an enabling environment for the survivors and PLWHA to be rehabilitated and re-integrated. The publication also aims to be a ready tool to facilitate more sagacious writing and reportage about trafficking in persons and the related issues including the linkages with the spread of HIV. And above all, to harness the power of the media to make reportage enabling for those vulnerable to trafficking as well as the survivors of trafficking and HIV and AIDS.

The media handbook includes two parts - the media guide and the media manual. The media guide is designed on one hand to bring the various facets of trafficking in persons, its extent and its effects to the notice of the media persons who would be reporting on these issues, on the other hand, the media manual delineates the role of the media when it comes to reporting about and countering trafficking.

We are sure that the media handbook will sensitize the media into better reporting about trafficking and HIV and inspire them to take a pro-active approach and become partners in countering the twin problem of trafficking and HIV. HDRN acknowledges the support provided by UNDP – TAHA project, especially Ms. Mona Mishra, Project Manager and her team in helping us bring out this manual. HDRN would also like to thank Mr. R. Mohan for conceptualizing and Ms. Aparna S. Reddy for authoring the media handbook. We extend our thanks to Ms. Rebecca Khosla, Ms. Afsana Cherian, Ms. Saraswathi G. Rao and Ms. R. Mangathai for providing substantive contributions in preparing the kit and Mr. Ajay S. Kathait for administrative support, Mr. Pavitra D Tuladhar & Mr. Harish Bhardwaj for design. Photos are by Mr. Keshav Chaturvedi.

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