Three generations of a family who migrated to America.

Human Trafficking in Bolivia

When people are desperate to survive, they will avail themselves of anything that seems like a path to a better life. In our current world, large numbers of people are migrating, by any means necessary, to places they believe will be better for them and their families. Some are even forced or coerced…

In Bolivia, the government realized that many citizens who were searching for a better life were falling prey to human traffickers. PCI Media joined the national strategy to combat human trafficking and its consequences with our radio program, La Caldera (the Boiling Pot). This program educated and mobilized journalists, radio broadcasters, and school teachers to increase awareness and action around commercial human trafficking and forced labor. The signature radio drama, augmented by a call-in show, brought prevention messages to a broader public for consideration, discussion and use.

Students took the radio drama’s core message seriously and listened to family advice to protect themselves. Canela, one of the students, felt the importance of her grandfather’s message to her. As she put it, “I have learned to take care of myself, to take care of my little brother and older sister. I talk to them about not talking to strangers. This is what I’ve learned.” As the program developed, adolescent boys and girls took to the airwaves as radio hosts to educate their peers and facilitate important discussions about ways to avoid traffickers.

Trailer for ‘La Caldera’.

La Caldera, with a listenership of over 1.2 million, made the controversial and frightening topic of trafficking something that parents can now discuss openly with their children, that teachers can discuss with their students, and that communities can work together to solve. As is the case in all of PCI Media’s programs around the world, shifting the narrative about human trafficking takes a village. Over 200 local partners joined the program and over 20,000 people participated in community mobilization activities.

More People on the Move, but for Different Reasons

As we watch the news coverage of the current conditions in Central America and at the U.S./Mexico border, we are reminded that migration north is born of serious underlying issues; climate change that forces people to abandon their fields due to drought, or gang violence that threatens family members. It is not surprising that people are willing to risk their lives and chances at the border of a new country, in order to escape financial ruin, starvation, and/or violence at home.

Immigration discussions tend to focus on fear and scarcity which polarizes communities and results in confusion and inaction. Our immigration system is so complex that even experts have a tough time explaining it. It is difficult to navigate the issues of those who are able to stand in line on the decades-long waiting list to become a legal citizen, refugees of war or natural disasters who need immediate relocation, immigrants who enter the United States on work visas, and seekers of asylum from persecution based on sexual orientation, or political or religious views. These and other immigration categories along with the caps and lottery system are difficult to comprehend.

As North Americans, we need to find ways to better discuss the confusing topic of immigration so that we can work together as a country to find solutions.

At PCI Media, we offer a methodology that engages people in a discussion about seemingly unsolvable issues and helps them unlock and act on our ability to solve their own problems. Imagine the possibilities of:

  • Educating US citizens about immigration issues and problems associated with the current system.
  • Creating an understanding of the current push and pull factors for migration and migrant classifications (e.g. immigrant v refugee).
  • Shifting the overarching narrative about immigration to that of compassion and connection.
  • Connecting US citizens to civic solutions to improve US immigration policy in the context of community-based solutions.

Immigration Categories


Those who choose to move to a country, usually for greater opportunities than are available at home.

Asylum seekers:

Those escaping persecution, war or severe crime in their home country. They must apply to receive refugee status according to the law.

Trafficked persons:

Those who, through force, fraud or coercion, are laboring against their will and without due compensation.

Consider how an informed and purposeful dialogue might result in real progress. We envision a campaign that uses the power of story to create dialogue in schools, civil society organizations, and religious institutions. Decisions would flow from a better grounding in the realities of migration. At its fullest, the campaign would generate open dialogue and a deeper understanding of the issues and the systems that are needed to improve migration policy. It would highlight tangible human stories reflecting the nuances of every migrant’s journey.

We Have All Come From Away.

Fixing the current immigration impasse is doable if we use the tools at hand to shift the narrative and inspire action to address our country’s core immigration issues.

PCI Media is reaching out to our friends and supporters, and to people on all sides of the political spectrum to join us in this cause. We are more convinced than ever that storytelling has much to offer in a world that is suffering at so many levels.

The North American immigration story is still being written. Let’s make it one we can all celebrate.

Immigration Data

migrant deaths in 2018 and 6,163 in 2017

million persons trafficked for labor worldwide

million refugees, which has steadily increased since 2005, with the biggest increase between 2010 - 2015 due to conflict in the MENA region

million migrants of all types, globally 2019, and the number has continued to increase since the 1990s

Countries hosting the highest number of refugees:
  • 3.8 million in Turkey
  • 2.9 million in Jordan
  • 1.6 million in Lebanon
  • 1.4 million in Germany

By contrast,

the US only hosts 929,800 refugees

(this is equivalent to 0.1% of the US population,

whereas Lebanon has the highest refugee percentage of population at 13.9%)

This article was originally published in our Fall newsletter. Download the PDF here.