Words that save lives: IOM and Thomson Reuters Foundation conducted regional training for journalists

8 October 2019

Batumi – 23-27 September 2019

On 23-27 September 2019, IOM in partnership with Thomson Reuters Foundation organized regional training for journalists «Write for Change: Reporting on Human Trafficking and Advocating for Human Rights». Sixteen journalists from Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and Belarus had an opportunity to gain knowledge and practical skills on coverage and investigation of slavery and trafficking from experienced Thomson Reuters Foundation journalists and invited speakers.

The training was conducted under the Regional Anti-Trafficking Program in Georgia, the Republic of Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine, implemented with the financial support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Norway.

Kieran Guilbert, Slavery and Trafficking Editor at Thomson Reuters Foundation in London, UK, shared his experience of dealing with human trafficking related issues from the international media perspective. He encouraged participants to think beyond the obvious and challenge stereotypes while still writing stories that are catchy and appealing to the public.

Margarita Akhvlediani, Caucasus program director and regional editor at the Institute for War and Peace Reporting in Tbilisi, Georgia, shared her insights of human rights protection in the region.

Participants had an opportunity to apply the newly gained knowledge during practical tasks and simulation interviews, analyzing case studies and working on the drafts of their own reports under the guidance of the trainers from Thomson Reuters Foundation, successful journalists and media experts Vittorio Longhi and Sara El Khalili.

Child begging, labour exploitation, reintegration of victims, gaps in local and regional legislation and addressing public misconceptions – these are only a small part of the topics, chosen by journalists for their reports.

Three best solution-based stories were selected by collective voting. Their authors will have an opportunity to further develop the stories in cooperation with IOM and a chance to be featured in Thomson Reuters Foundation media outlet (https://www.trust.org/).

The crime of human trafficking – the second most profitable crime in the world – is complex and challenging for policy makers, as well as the general public perception, which creates gaps between the real situation and the way it is addressed. The journalistic community all around the world remains an integral advocacy force for bringing the human trafficking crime to light, encouraging adequate response to the problem and promoting accountability of the stakeholders, as well as fighting misconceptions and raising awareness of the general public.