·         Pilot project by the International Organization for Migration’s X Campaign, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), U.S. Embassy Singapore and Microsoft underscores the role of technology in the fight against human trafficking
·         Of 100 Singaporeans surveyed as part of the project, only 50 percent correctly identified potential victims of human trafficking
·         The IOM X Learn, Act and Share App provides a way for young people to engage their communities

SINGAPORE, 1 December 2015 – The International Organization for Migration’s X Campaign (IOM X), along with its partners USAID, U.S. Embassy Singapore and Microsoft, yesterday presented the findings from IOM X Connect Singapore – its pilot outreach project aimed at raising public awareness for the issue of human trafficking in Singapore.

As part of the pilot project, university students from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Singapore Management University (SMU) participated in a workshop where they learned about human trafficking and the increasing role technology is playing, both in terms of recruitment of victims, and for counter-trafficking efforts. Following the workshop, and aided by the new IOM X Learn, Act and Share App, the students set off to busy public areas to test 100 Singaporeans’ knowledge on the issue.

Findings revealed that while a majority of Singaporeans (75 percent) knew the correct definition of human trafficking, only half of them (50 percent) were able to correctly identify who could be a potential victim of human trafficking. In addition, when asked about the total number of human trafficking victims globally, majority of the respondents underestimated the gravity of the issue, with the average response coming up to only 11 million, which equates to around half (53 percent) of the actual 20.9 million victims globally.

“While the findings from IOM X Connect Singapore revealed a broad understanding of human trafficking and exploitation in Singapore, the severity of the issue has been largely underestimated. Human trafficking continues to impact countries all over the world including Singapore, and we believe that by driving widespread public awareness and support to counter this, we will be able to help prevent exploitation and better protect the victims at large. We are delighted to see how the use of technology and the IOM X Learn, Act and Share App have helped us to gain quick and accurate insights into the public’s understanding of the issue, and this information will help us to design better activities and messages that are relevant to the rest of the ASEAN community,” said Tara Dermott, Program Leader, IOM X.

The students discussed the findings and their experiences at yesterday’s IOM X Connect Singapore Conference, a dialogue on how technology is impacting the fight against human trafficking. The event also featured an expert panel including U.S. Embassy Singapore’s Deputy Chief of Mission Blair Hall, Microsoft’s Vice President Asia, Public Sector, Stefan Sjöström, actress and advocate Eunice Olsen, U.N. Women Singapore Committee’s Public Awareness & Youth Initiatives Manager Mrinalini Venkatachalam and Jolovan Wham, Executive Director of the Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics (HOME).

“Over the last decade, the global community has made appreciable progress in understanding human trafficking. Social media and technology have played a crucial role in expanding our efforts to raise awareness by enabling us to reach new audiences and to amplify our message,” said Blair Hall, Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy Singapore.

The IOM Learn, Act and Share App, which was created by IOM X and Microsoft, is now available for download at the Windows Store, and has the potential to be re-versioned and scaled to further awareness of human trafficking and exploitation in the region.

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