With millions of Syrians forced from their homes, the Syrian crisis may be the first example that comes to mind when you think about ‘displaced people’.  Unfortunately there are millions of displaced people across the world who are leaving their homes, families, and possessions to find sanctuary from violence and persecution; not just Syria, but Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, DRC and Iraq to name but a few - often areas weakened by years of war, with civilians suffering in the conflict and violence they seek to escape.  Many people are also displaced through human trafficking networks, with sexual exploitation and forced labour being the predominant forms of this modern-day slavery. 

This year the global number of people forced to flee their homes has exceeded 50 million for the first time since the second world war.

Bob Chambers, CEO Feba commenting on the UNHCR’s Global Trends Report

The rise of war and persecution has seen the number of displaced people globally reach an all-time high. People living in displacement camps are in real need of information, education, inspiration and entertainment – and the effective use of media and communications can achieve so much. The needs and opportunities are vast. 

We believe media can address some of the information and support needs of refugees as well as raising awareness of human trafficking, reducing the vulnerability of potential victims and helping those who have been trafficked.

CASE STUDY: Radio in India - reducing the supply of vulnerable women and children to traffickers

With many people in India living below the poverty line, families are unaware of the dangers of trafficking, genuinely believing that life and employment will be better elsewhere.  Parents in rural areas want to try and provide their daughters with a better quality of life, and many young girls are sent away when offered work as domestic maids.  Men might pretend to fall in love with a girl, promising marriage and financial security for the family.  However, many of these offers are false with women and girls finding themselves displaced from their villages, trafficked to urban areas, sold into sexual slavery, abused and exploited.  

Targeting the trafficking

Condom advert in the red light district of Siliguri

Through radio broadcasts to targeted areas, Feba’s partners in India are keen to address this issue by informing and educating listeners about the issue of trafficking.  Siliguri is a vibrant city in West Bengal, 350 miles north of Kolkata. With the borders of China, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh close by it attracts a continual influx of trade, tourists and migrants looking for a better life. The city is also the centre of a trafficking network, bringing in a steady stream of girls and young women, tricked into the sex industry and bonded labour. West Bengal is a core focus area for our partners’ broadcasts, in the first week of programmes alone, over 100 people called the station’s producers to talk about what they had heard.  We know that media has the power to effect change. 

Reaching out through radio

When trafficked women and girls end up in brothels miles away from home, it is very difficult for them to escape.  They don’t know the area, usually not even the language.  They don’t have any papers so have no legal status.  If they are caught trying to escape they may be beaten, punished and forced to work longer hours.  Many give up hope of ever escaping and fear that even if they could return to their families they would be rejected.  By tuning in to programmes listeners can hear that they are not alone.  We use media to provide holistic support to restore the dignity and hope of these women and children.

Radio is a great tool. Listeners can share their pain, they can share whatever problems they are going through

Jayshree, Feba partner, SEED INDIA, (Save Entrust Equip Disciple Society)

Our partners use radio broadcasts to speak to trafficked women in the sex industry, giving hope and support through programmes that teach listeners about their fundamental and constitutional rights.  They learn how they can receive help, including special health care for those involved in the sex industry.  Listeners can call in and contact programme makers for advice about vocational training, education, nutrition as well as spiritual and emotional support.  Families learn about trafficking, its dangers and how to avoid people who may wish to exploit girls.  Radio can bring practical advice plus real hope and comfort to those trafficked and displaced.

You can respond to the needs of displaced people and help communities with life-giving media in prayer or by donating.