The Future is in Your Hands: Confronting Trafficking and Domestic Violence

An engaging radio program on women’s empowerment and safe migration, The Future Is in Your Hands has broadcast more than 100 episodes and provided critical information on trafficking and HIV/AIDS prevention.  This weekly 30-minute radio series includes an engaging drama series that captures audience interest and identification by following the story of three Cambodian girls who become ensnared in the human trafficking industry. The characters confront and overcome numerous challenges, providing listeners with key lessons to be learned as well as information and on safe migration, domestic violence, health, and awareness to help prevent unsafe practices. In addition to this compelling drama segment, the radio program also includes expert interviews as well as real success stories and “voices from the field” interviews with listeners who successfully emulated examples from the radio series to actively improve their health outcomes.

In addition to the radio series, this initiative also includes video features, radio public service announcements, and community listening and dialogue groups, all addressing safe migration and the vulnerability of Cambodian women and girls to HIV/AIDS as well as positive living for those living with the disease. The program challenges listeners to rethink perceptions about the role of women in Cambodian society and encourages greater use of legal resources to confront trafficking, domestic violence and child exploitation.

An independent assessment of the program’s results revealed that regular listeners and participants in community discussion groups have 80% greater knowledge of modes of transmission and improved attitudes and behaviors regarding HIV prevention and care and avoidance of violence against women. An even greater percentage said they have shared key points from the program with others in their community, overcoming stigmas and taboos and open up about sensitive topics, the first step towards addressing these problems in their communities.

Selected in close collaboration with the Cambodian Ministry of Women’s Affairs and local NGO outreach partners, nearly 300 community leaders and outreach partners have been trained to operate satellite receivers, form weekly listening groups, facilitate community discussions around the radio series and catalyze social change through emulating examples from The Future Is in Your Hands. Many community listening groups are producing their own performance adaptations of the radio drama to raise local awareness. Bringing the relevant issues surrounding migration and trafficking to the forefront of public attention is significant in itself, allowing community knowledge to collect and grow around previously taboo subjects. Moreover, these leaders encourage taking direct action in the community to make it safer.

This initiative was made possible with support from the United Nations Population Fund, U.S. Agency for International Development, East West Management Institute – Project on Rights and Justice, World Education through the “Options” program, The Asia Foundation, and GTZ.