Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, February 8, 2022 – The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Safe Migration in Central Asia activity, implemented by Winrock International, partnered with government and non-governmental organizations across Central Asia to hold a month-long online campaign dedicated to Safer Internet Day, marked annually on February 08 to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology by children and young people around the world.
The theme of this year’s campaign is “Together for a better internet.” Safe Migration in Central Asia and its partners joined together to raise public awareness about the risk of being lured into human trafficking through false job advertisements through various online platforms.
The use of the internet is increasing globally and a vast amount of social activity has moved to digital platforms. Human traffickers have started using social media to recruit people for further exploitation.
According to the 2020 UNODC Global Trafficking in Persons Report, in one limited set of trafficking court cases, the number of victims recruited through social media rose from zero to 51 percent among 79 court cases since 2009. An OSCE/ODHIR/UN Women global survey reveals that online recruitment, grooming, and exploitation have been widely used by traffickers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To raise public awareness about this phenomenon, Safe Migration in Central Asia is producing a series of short videos that caution people to be watchful of false job advertisements and recruitment schemes online by human traffickers. The videos are being hosted on USAID Central Asia’s YouTube channel. Partner government and non-government organizations in Central Asia are disseminating the videos through their social media platforms. Additionally, non-government organizations across the region are holding various public events today, to raise awareness about internet security and how to avoid becoming a victim of human trafficking.
The USAID-funded Safe Migration in Central Asia activity is being implemented by Winrock International in Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. It is a five-year activity that uses evidence-based practices and cross-border connections to strengthen the mutual accountability and effectiveness of governments, NGOs, and the private sector to prevent trafficking-in-persons, protect survivors, and promote safe migration. The activity works in close cooperation with local governments, civil society, and the private sector to improve migration practices and prevent exploitation. For more information on USAID’s work in Central Asia, visit https://www.usaid.gov/central-asia-regional.