UNODC is cosponsor of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS - UNAIDS
Guidelines for Media Professionals While Interacting with Survivors of Trafficking and Reporting on Trafficking
Understand that trafficking as an
organized crime and expose all elements of it.
Treat the survivors with dignity and ensure that you seek permission from them before you interact with them. Report about the survivors only with their informed consent and not just permission from those supporting them.
Informed consent implies that the survivor is informed in a manner that they understand:
who you are,
what is the purpose of the interview,
where will it be published,
what is the tone and the direction of the article, and
that though the interview may benefit the cause of countering trafficking it will not benefit her/him as an individual, further and above all, that she/he has the right not to talk to you
problems of the survivors not the details of their traumatic experiences. As appropriate, raise issues on lack of care and treatment for the survivors of human trafficking.
Select your words carefully so that you do not worsen the stereotypes that stigmatize the survivor or criminalize her/him. Try not to generalize, be judgmental or intrusive.
When you report on the case, expose - as appropriate -
shortcomings in the law, its enforcement and possible delays. Make suggestions to protect and further the rights of the survivors.
Focus on victims' vulnerabilities: Sometimes stories of victims also contribute significantly to an increased awareness of potential victims and the general public.
Be aware of your body language: for example, sitting at the same level or lower level than the victims rather than standing above them always helps. Ensure softness in voice and gestures.
NGO or social worker to facilitate or be present while the interview is taking place.
Protect identity: While reporting, try to protect the identity of the survivor. Do not take pictures of survivors or reveal their location.
build trust before starting the interview.
The journalist should not look for an
immediate response from the survivor about how they are feeling.
Ensure that the survivor is not treated simply as
an object in the report.
By the same token, survivors should not be portrayed as
helpless victims. The report should also focus - to the extent possible - on their success, strength and courage.
Do not be patronizing and assume that you know what is best for the survivor (for example, do not tell them that they have been brave).
It is necessary for senior journalists and editors to put in place a clear
editorial policy and guidelines for reporting on human trafficking. Reporters and even stringers should also be provided with training on how to report on this sensitive subject.
Vulnerabilities/push factors: Try to also focus on the vulnerabilities that may expose individuals to trafficking such as poverty, gender discrimination, lack of employment etc.
Provide information and
create awareness among families and communities on the hazardous effects of trafficking
Provide information about the
dangers of unsafe migration.
Do not be too "directive" about the interview -
let the victims tell their story in their own way and at their own pace. Be patient to listen to the entire story. Do not complete their sentences.
Do not provide any kind of
assurance to the victim/survivor.
In case of interviewing
children, get the information from the shelter staff/NGO/mother rather than probing the child.
Do not refer to the survivors as a "case" or "victims" while interviewing them.
Emphasize the need for reintegration and increase livelihood opportunities for the survivors of human trafficking.