Lao and Thai media personnel attended a workshop recently to strengthen their knowledge about human trafficking, discussing the key role that the media plays in raising awareness and helping efforts to combat the problem.
The Lao Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, together with the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security of Thailand, jointly organised the workshop for Lao and Thai media staff in Mukdahan province, Thailand from March 29 to April 2.
Deputy Director General of the Thai Department of Social Development and Social Welfare, Mr Vithad Techaban, addressed the participants at the opening ceremony.
“ Currently the media is playing an important role in terms of social development,” he said. “The media is able to encourage people to participate, to learn and to act.”
“The media provides a bridge to deliver messages and experiences to the public, helping empower people to change their attitudes and practices. Good media can lead and protect people fro m the two countries from becoming victims of human trafficking. Good media is important to social development,” he added.
The governments of Laos and Thailand signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together in the fight against human trafficking in 2005.
The Lao Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and the Mini stry of Social Development and Human Security of Thailand are implementing a joint prevention effort by holding public awareness campaigns in targeted border communities.
Deputy Director of the Social Welfare Department at the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Mr Khamkeng Keovong, said “The Lao government is working to combat human trafficking at the national, regio nal and international levels through cooperative efforts with other countries, and these efforts are getting stronger all the time.”
“We have a common purpose and commitment to prevent our citizens from becoming victims of human trafficking. For the benefit of the women and children of the two nations, we are actively supporting policy mobilisation of the Lao-Thai media action plan.” In order to ensure they get the message out to people who are vulnerable to exploitation, Lao and Thai media organisations plan to target several border regions where trafficking occurs.
They will cooperate to broadcast public awareness campaigns in the border regions of Ubon Ratchathani and Champassak province, Savann akhet and Mukdahan, Khammuan and Nakhon Phanom, Vientiane and Nong Khai, and Bokeo and Chiang Rai. Participants at the workshop agreed to implement prevention measures on radio and television, and plan to exchange expertise in terms of technical capacity and information on human trafficking.
The participating media organisations will provide airtime for each other's awareness campaigns on their respective stations, to ensure that the message reaches as many people as possible.
Twenty-five media personnel from Vientiane and Borikhamxay, Khammu an and Savannakhet provinces took part in the workshop, alongside 43 Thai counterparts from Nakhon Phanom, Mukdahan, Amnat Charoen and Ubon Ratchathani provinces.