Assessing Changes in Attitudes, Awareness, and Behavior in Indonesian Youths (2016)

A Multi-Method Communication and Social Media Approach

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Principal Investigators:

Through the C-TIP Campus Challenge Research Grants, teams of researchers at three universities implemented public opinion surveys in USAID priority countries for C-TIP programming. The researchers sought to generate data to inform the design of programs to raise awareness about trafficking among vulnerable populations and influence knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to trafficking. This paper focuses on research conducted in Indonesia by a team led by the University of Southern California (USC). C-TIP Campus Challenge grants also were awarded to Texas Christian University (TCU) to conduct research in Albania and Moldova, and to Vanderbilt University to conduct research in Nepal.

The USC team’s research in Indonesia included two components: a public opinion survey and an analysis of social media, both implemented in 2014. The public opinion survey was administered in Indramayu, West Java, Indonesia, a district with more than 1.77 million people that is a “hot spot” for human trafficking. USC administered the survey twice, with 527 participants; between the first and second wave, 319 of the participants watched an MTV Exit documentary on Indonesians’ experiences with human trafficking. USC conducted the social media assessment from May to July 2014, searching Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube in Indonesia for posts containing one or more of seven key words that would indicate that a post was about human trafficking. Key findings include:

  • The MTV Exit documentary on Indonesians’ experience with human trafficking had limited effects on increasing the viewers’ knowledge of trafficking, awareness of vulnerability to trafficking, or intention to reduce vulnerability—suggesting that awareness-raising materials should be pretested to ensure that messages are compelling for and relevant to the target community.
  • Face-to-face engagement and discussion were the most effective ways to decrease misconceptions about human trafficking, trafficking vulnerability, and effective risk reduction.
  • Although there clearly were social media conversations about and activism around human trafficking in Indonesia, USC found no evidence of activists using Twitter to organize or augment a strategic advocacy campaign, so it may be useful to consider how activists in other countries in the region have used social media to disseminate information or build and leverage networks for collective action and social change.