Emergency Campaign in Türkiye in Response to the Earthquakes

Through this campaign, we aim to equip young people with safety advice and information about human trafficking and exploitation in order to build resilient communities with an increased perception of risk, gained knowledge and access to legitimate support.

20 June 2023 - ‘’Do you know where to get support?’’ - insights from young people in Türkiye 

During the past weeks of our campaign targeting young people in 7 earthquake-affected provinces in Türkiye, we asked our target audience: ‘’Do you know where to get support if you are facing difficulties in Türkiye?’’

Through the power of social media (specifically Meta and TikTok), we received 29,342 responses to this question. 63% of them answered ‘’No’’.

This demonstrates a real lack of safety information in the region, indicating young people do not know where to get support following the earthquakes.

This is something we often see during our work targeting at-risk communities. Due to various factors, such as lack of trust or information in their language, individuals in need of support do not know who to go to for help or their rights. Instead of trusting legitimate support organisations, there is a risk of accepting offers of help that could lead to exploitation.

It’s important to address this issue. Access to support and resources is crucial for building resilience and ensuring they make informed choices.

Our geo-targeted campaign is responding to this by empowering young people through sharing vital safety information and contact details of support organisations.

Through social media, we have the power to reach our target audience and collect such insights about issues that matter to them. And by using these tools, we will be able to measure the impact of our work at the end of the campaign.

17 May 2023 - 100 days after the earthquakes – launching phase 2 of our emergency campaign in Türkiye in response to the earthquakes

More than three months have passed since the devastating earthquakes in Southern Türkiye and Northern Syria. The consequences of the catastrophe are still being felt across the affected areas.

Humanitarian organisations working in the disaster area continue to provide shelter, food, medical supplies, hygiene kits, WASH (water, sanitation, hygiene) services, as well as  psychosocial support (MHPSS) to meet the urgent needs of the affected population.

At the same time, there are reports of increases in child and forced marriages, child abuse and child labour in the earthquake-affected areas.

With children and youth communities remaining at risk of exploitation, at STOP THE TRAFFIK Group we are scaling up our prevention work with an improved second phase of the emergency campaign in response to the earthquakes.

We are delivering vital safety information and contact details of support organisations on the ground through targeted content on TikTok.

Our geo-targeted social media campaign utilises the popularity and accessibility of this social media platform and targets 13–24-year-olds in Arabic.

Through an engaging video encouraging the audience to learn more through visiting our bespoke landing page, we aim to build the resilience of our target audience and prevent recruitment by traffickers by :

  • increasing their awareness on issues of human trafficking (such as the methods traffickers use to lure their victims)
  • boosting their perception of risk
  • ensuring they adopt preventative behaviour
  • signposting them to safety

Ahead of the campaign launch, we learned more about our target audience by launching a TikTok poll asking whether they know where to get support if they are facing difficulties.

Through polls and surveys, we are able to collect data and better understand our audience, their needs and the gaps in their knowledge. Our poll was viewed by 307,705 users and had 13,413 responses.

61% of the young people replied that they do not know where to seek support in Türkiye if they were facing difficulties. 

This reinforces the need for our second phase.

Why Arabic? 

By launching our campaign content in Arabic, we are able to reach Arabic speakers in earthquake-affected regions who are mainly forcibly displaced populations from Syria.

More than 1.7 million of the 14 million people registered in the 11 most impacted provinces are refugees (predominantly Syrians under Temporary Protection, or International Protection Applicants and status holders from other nationalities), half of whom are women and girls.

Refugees in Türkiye, before and after the earthquake, face additional barriers in accessing vital support and finding information in their language.

4 May 2023 - A message from our partner organisation on the ground: ASAM

ASAM (Association for Solidarity with Asylum-Seekers and Migrants) is an independent, impartial and non-profit non-governmental organization based in Türkiye that has been assisting asylum seekers and refugees since 1995. 

At STOP THE TRAFFIK, we believe in building trusted and collaborative relationships with local NGOs working to support vulnerable individuals. For the purpose of this campaign, we have partnered with ASAM, whose contact details are shared in our campaign material, encouraging people in need of support to contact them.

Since the immediate aftermath of the earthquakes, ASAM has been supporting the affected communities in the region, providing vital humanitarian aid, working with other local and international partners and conducting needs analyses. Recognising the incredible humanitarian work of ASAM on the ground, and the overall key role of local partners in our response, here’s a message from them:

As long as the risks in the area remain, STOP THE TRAFFIK is committed to maintaining and scaling up our human trafficking prevention response, equipping communities with safety information and building their resilience.

To keep up to date with the incredible work ASAM does, you can follow them below:


26 April 2023 - How we’re focusing on creating bespoke campaign content

Behind the Scenes: Preparing to Launch Phase 2 of Our Emergency Campaign in Türkiye.  

Following the first phase of our response, we gathered insights and learnings regarding our target population which will inform the second phase.

Creating the campaign video  

After carefully examining metrics around audience interaction with our content, we discovered that young viewers (aged 13 to 18 years old) are more likely to engage with short, fast, interactive content. The video, which is at the forefront of campaign material, is used to grab the attention of viewers. For this reason, we decided to re-create the campaign video for the second phase of the campaign with the purpose of making it more eye-catching, colourful, and playful. The aim is to gain young viewers’ trust and deliver safety information in an approachable way. The language used, in both Arabic and Turkish, is straightforward and appealing to a young audience. The message will be communicated through the voice of a fictional character who claims to have a message for the viewer, proceeded with tips and a call for action to check our landing page for contact details of support organisations.

Additional Information to the Landing Pages

Partner organisations on the ground play an important role in determining the nature of our campaigns, including target locations and languages, as well as the type of safety information included. Upon receiving actionable intelligence, the team worked on updating the campaign landing page for the second phase of the response with additional information. This update focused on sharing links to resources around rights and protections under Turkish legislation, for example, specific issues such as forced marriage. By equipping communities with knowledge of their rights, we aim to empower young people to seek support when needed.

17 April 2023 - Why it’s important to scale up our response

Introducing Phase 2 of Our Emergency Campaign in Türkiye

It’s been more than two months since the devastating earthquakes that have caused unimaginable destruction, and large number of deaths and injuries while leaving behind a population with vital humanitarian needs. Due to the huge levels of destruction caused in the affected provinces of southern Türkiye, and despite the massive efforts of the Turkish authorities working together with local and international humanitarian organisations, the consequences of the earthquakes are all too visible  – and today heavy rains and floods recently added to the already destruction.

Based on the Türkiye Earthquake Humanitarian Needs and Response Overview, published by OCHA on the 11th of April:

  • Approximately 2.5 million children are affected and need specific humanitarian assistance for their needs. The earthquakes have left many children without a home or parents. Families under stress may resort to negative coping mechanisms affecting children such as child marriage, child labour, removal from school/education, increased cases of abuse targeting children, engagement in high-risk activities or begging. 
  • Adolescents have unique developmental and protection concerns affecting their well-being. Faced with relocation, disruption to their education, training and employment, and taking on new roles as caregivers, older children, both girls and boys, face risks to their safety associated with crowded living conditions in tent or container cities.
  • Women and girls have been affected in specific ways, and there is a real risk of deepening pre-existing inequalities. Women and girls face particular challenges in term of access to essential services and vital relief items, to remain safe and to cover their basic needs for appropriate shelter, hygiene and sanitation, healthcare and protection.
  • Refugees and migrants are also amongst the most affected groups facing barriers in accessing services and rights. More than 1.7 million of the 14 million people registered in the 11 most impacted provinces are refugees (predominantly Syrians under Temporary Protection, or International Protection Applicants and Status holders from other nationalities), half of whom are women and girls.

Monitoring the situation on the ground makes it clear that MSHT risks that emerged in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake remain. Through the first phase of our response, we reached more than 360,000 young people with safety information and provided the contact details of trusted support organisations and national hotlines. This group increased its knowledge and risk awareness through navigating our bespoke campaign material.

We are now working to scale up our intelligence-led response through a second phase of the emergency campaign with improved and updated safety material – targeting this time more provinces and more young people through social media advertising. By expanding the campaign in this way, we hope to turn the challenge of awareness-raising on the risks, rights and available services into an opportunity that will help prevent human trafficking and exploitation and build resilience.

5 April 2023 - Update on our Emergency Campaign in Turkiye in Response to the Earthquakes

In March, we launched our response to the horrifying earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria. In the first 10 days of our prevention campaign, we have targeted three of the most severely-impacted provinces in Türkiye – Hatay, Kahramanmaraş and Gaziantep – with plans to steadily expand to reach all the impacted areas.

So far, more than 300,000 young people have been reached through our campaign. More than 6,000 of them have visited our landing pages, which contain the contact details of national hotlines and partner organisations that provide on-the-ground support.

According to OCHA (UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs), an estimated 1.6 million people in Türkiye currently live in informal settlements, with bare minimum living conditions and limited or no access to basic services. Hatay currently hosts the majority of people living in both sites and settlements.

The UNFPA (UN Population Fund) highlights the significant safety risks, including gender-based violence (GBV) and sexual exploitation, that people living in these types of settlements face – and highlights occurrences in the report at this link.

This in turn exacerbates the risk of harmful coping mechanisms such as forced and child marriage. Additionally, as millions of people are in need of vital assistance, risks of child labour and labour exploitation are also emerging for both the refugee and host communities.

Through our work, we are constantly gathering insights and intelligence about the risks that children and young people are exposed to after the earthquakes. We are also closely coordinating with our partners and support organisations on the ground, while updating our campaign material and ensuring they deliver the right information in an empowering and impactful way.

Through our campaign material, we will equip the targeted population, and especially those most at-risk, with safety information around human trafficking and exploitation – and connect them with trusted local organisations on the ground who can provide assistance and protection.

22 March 2023 - Launching our Emergency Campaign in Türkiye in Response to the Earthquakes

Since the devastating earthquakes hit regions of southern Türkiye and north-west Syria just over a month ago, STOP THE TRAFFIK Group has been gathering intelligence to coordinate a response. We are proud to announce that the first phase of this response has started in the provinces of Hatay, Kahramanmaraş and Gaziantep.

Our intelligence shows that children are the most at-risk group in the region following the earthquake and so this initial phase will target 13–18-year-old boys and girls through video content on META (Facebook and Instagram) in Turkish and Arabic languages.

The young people reached through our campaign in areas impacted by the earthquake (such as Hatay and Gaziantep) will learn how to stay safe from exploitation as well as receive information about emergency national hotlines and contact details of support organisations on the ground.

Through this campaign, we aim to equip young people with safety advice and information about human trafficking and exploitation in order to build resilient communities with an increased perception of risk, gained knowledge and access to legitimate support.

This first phase of our response was developed in collaboration with key stakeholders on the ground and we will adapt the campaign based on the intelligence we receive.

Further background to our response

We now understand more about the trafficking risks that have emerged post-earthquake and this work will degrade trafficking routes and hotspots in the area, supporting at-risk communities.

One month after the earthquake, aftershocks continue, causing renewed fear, trauma and further destruction to the already fragile infrastructure. Over 2.7 million people have been displaced, with many living in temporary settlements, and about half in informal settlements.

1,915 unaccompanied children have been identified, of which 1,661 have been reunited with their families. Access to education has been hampered for nearly 4 million children, including 350,000 refugee and migrant children.

Our intelligence also tells us that

  • Natural disasters create mass displacement, which has been repeatedly demonstrated to increase communities’ vulnerability to trafficking.
  • Children are separated from their primary caregivers; they are highly traumatised and especially trusting of adults during and after the crisis making them even more vulnerable to trafficking.
  • At-risk individuals are not aware of the support available to them on the ground that can help them.
  • At-risk individuals cannot distinguish between legitimate support organisations, and bad actors posing as NGOs. It is particularly difficult for a child or youth to discern whether an adult can be trusted, especially if that person is making false promises of finding the youth’s family.
  • Individuals are not aware of how or where to report their experiences in order to protect one another.

This is the first phase of a response that we anticipate will last many months. We are constantly gathering intelligence and so the campaign will constantly adapt to new information we receive from our collaborators and key partners on the ground. We are open to exploring new partnerships with complementary organisations that could add to our response and help reach more people who could be at risk.

Statistics in this blog have been taken from Türkiye: 2023 Earthquakes Situation Report No. 8, As of 9 March 2023

6 February 2023 - Response to the Türkiye and Syria earthquake

This morning, areas of Türkiye and Syria were hit by two earthquakes. At the time of writing, an estimated 1000 people are reported to have lost their lives and the death toll is expected to continue rising.

In addition, the area near the first earthquake’s epicentre – specifically the Turkish provinces of Gaziantep and Kahramanmaras – is home to hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees.

At STOP THE TRAFFIK Group, we stand alongside the people of Türkiye and Syria, as well as the many disaster relief organisations who will be responding to the emergency.

Natural disasters such as this create displacement and increase the potential for exploitation in the wake of the event itself, as traffickers seek to take advantage of the situation.

As Türkiye responds to this disaster, we must remember that recovery comes in two phases – the response itself and the protection of vulnerable people.

We have been working alongside on-the-ground NGOs in the region for many years during our Aman Safety programme campaign, which aims to prevent trafficking of refugees and asylum seekers as they seek safety.

As part of this, we have supported individuals from countries including Syria, signposting people to support organisations so they can access essential services.

We will continue to work closely with these organisations and individuals as the crisis unfolds, gathering intelligence and providing vulnerable people with the information they need to stay safe.

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