Using Radio to Raise Awareness of Human Trafficking in Guatemala

Volunteer facilitators record radio spots.

Radio remains one of the most trusted and widely used media. Over the years, the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) has partnered with radio stations throughout Latin America and the Caribbean to share vital information with the communities we serve. Radio can be listened to everywhere, even when electricity or connectivity are not reliable, and community radio can often reach those underrepresented in mainstream media.

In Guatemala, victims of human trafficking are often recruited for criminal groups or become subject to sexual or labor exploitation. To educate the public and prevent human trafficking, PADF worked with volunteer facilitators to write and record 10 radio spots. Aiming to ensure the radio spots were representative of their community and reached a wider audience, the facilitators recorded the spots in both Spanish and Mam, an indigenous Mayan language.

The spots aired on ACODIM NAN PIX 97.7 FM, a community radio station serving 12 municipalities in the Western Highlands of Guatemala, including the municipality San Ildefonso Ixtahuacán, Huehuetenango.

Advances in technology have also made it possible for radio content to be shared in a variety of formats. While the spots ultimately reached about 200,000 people on the airwaves, the radio station shared a virtual forum, videos, and other educational resources on its Facebook page, reaching 8,000 more people.

[Community radio] transmits messages that strengthen the culture, customs, and traditions of the Maya Mam people. These programs encourage the prevention of human trafficking. And as volunteer facilitators, they have helped us a lot so that the community is well informed and can report crimes to the relevant authorities. … We have made it known in both languages, the mother tongue and Spanish. That is why the struggle continues to maintain community radio as a right of indigenous peoples.”

UNESCO #WorldRadioDay banner | Yes to Radio, Yes to Trust

Published on February 11, 2022.

Jed Hoffman

Jared (Jed) Hoffman

Regional Director for Mexico & Central America

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