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The Public Interest Law Centre, in collaboration with the Asia Foundation is currently conducting a research project titled “Labour Migration in Maldives”, surrounding issues and challenges faced by migrant workers in the Maldives with a focus on the Bangladeshi workers. A key aspect of this project is human trafficking and labour exploitation and includes collaborating with government and NGOs. The project also includes raising awareness surrounding the above-mentioned issues.

Presently, it is common for migrant workers to experience xenophobia, violence, harassment and wage theft. These are inflicted on them simply due to nationality and status. To help migrants avoid such issues, and to make the general public aware, PILC has launched a social media campaign under the name of Migrants Matters, which utilises social media channels such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and IMO.

The campaign focuses on disseminating information about their rights, increasing awareness about labour exploitation, and encouraging them to reach out and seek legal advice surrounding rights and employment. These initiatives are taking off, and under the campaign, we have planned a new addition: a community involved photography competition, specifically, a photojournalism competition. 

View terms and Conditions of the competition

Photojournalism Competition

The proposed photojournalism competition will be run on Instagram in which participants capture the struggles and stories of migrant workers in the Maldives. The entries will be posted on our Instagram page. 

The competition will be wrapped up with an exhibition which will showcase 20 entries shortlisted by a panel of judges from various fields. This includes photographers, journalists and a worker rights expert. At the opening of the exhibition, an awards ceremony will be held to announce the winning prizes.

Objectives of the Competition

The objectives of the competition are as follows:

  1. To raise awareness regarding the struggles of migrants and human trafficking among the public

  2. To hold an exhibition to showcase all the photographs and stories behind them

  3. To encourage businesses and organizations to participate in a pressuring issue here in the Maldives.

  4. Through the posts/photos disseminate awareness information to the public

Main Themes

The competition aims to encourage all participants, whether they are already established photographers, or those who want to support a socially responsible initiative, and those who would like to showcase their talent. To play their part in creating a positive change through this proposed campaign, the competition shall raise awareness around the following topics:

  1. The struggles that migrants face - these can include their lifestyles, job and living conditions.

  2. Human trafficking indicators, which covers non-payment of wages and various forms of exploitation, or capturing the emotions of the migrant workers. The range of indicators are broad and allow photographers and individuals to have a wide array of options to choose from.

Entry Submission

As the aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of the humanitarian crisis in the Maldives, each participant will have to agree to the terms and conditions prior to submitting their entry.

Eligibility and requirements

  • The submitted entry must include a photo which fits the themes and a caption telling the story behind the photo. All photographs should accurately reflect the subject/theme.

  • The entries and write up must be the original work of the participant and may be in either Dhivehi or English language (write ups in Bangla, Hindi and Tamil will be accepted and translated by PILC). 

  • As the project focuses on the issues of South Asian migrant workers, the subject or topic of the photo must be related to South Asian migrant workers. 

  • Participants can submit up to 5 entries. 

  • Each submission by a participant must be substantially different from any other entry submitted by themselves.

  • The submission must not have been previously published as part of a previous competition or commissioned work of the participant for which they were paid.

  • Where an individual is the prime focus of the photograph, the photographer/participant is responsible for obtaining the necessary consent from the individuals depicted in their photograph and the consent form must be included with their submission. Participants must not submit images that indicate explicit violence or harm to any individual or infringe on the rights of any other photographer or person.

  • The photographs and write up must be submitted via Instagram.

  • For the purpose of further exhibition, all submitted photographs must have a minimum resolution of 4000 pixels, 300 dpi, sRGB.

  • Participants may edit the photograph to remove camera dust. However, photos that have been digitally altered beyond certain limitations such as addition and removal of objects will be disqualified. 

If any submission by a participant is found to be plagiarized at any point, all entries by the participant will be immediately disqualified.

Prize Categories

The competition is planned to include two different categories: Public choice (PC) and judges choice (JC). As such, the criteria upon which they will be measured is as below.

Each entry can be judged on how well the participant has covered these topics. Those which fit the theme and cover the topics as per the requirements will be brought forward for both the PC and JC awards. 


Under this category, the focus is more on how the public perceives the entry and their votes than any technicalities. Photographs submitted will be shared on the participants Instagram page and tagged @pilcmv and @migrantsmattermv with #migrantsmatter #migrantsofmv and a meaningful caption describing the struggle seen in the photo. This illustration will have information about human trafficking and labour migration in the Maldives, which can include topics on how to report a case, what are some indicators you should be looking for, and how one can make a change.

The number of engagements on the post (likes) will be used to determine the story that gives the most impact to the general audience. 


Judges’ choice category focuses on technical evaluations as detailed below. To ensure that there are no biases in the judging process, an external panel will be called onboard. This external panel shall include well-known photographers, subject matter experts, and journalists. During the judging process, the judges shall determine the top 25 submissions to the event.



All judging criteria will be made readily available for any individual interested in the event or a participant in it. This will ensure transparency and will help the participants get a clear understanding of what is expected out of them. The judges will be subject to standard operating procedures to ensure accountability, fairness, and efforts will be made to ensure that the judging will be made free from biases and thus shall be decided after discussion with the judges.

The criteria upon which the submission will be evaluated are as below: 

  • Relation to theme

  • Creativity / concept uniqueness

  • Composition 

  • Lighting 

  • Subject

  • Impact

The evaluation will be made on a scale of 1 to 10, with 0-3 indicating poor to needs improvement, 4-6 indicating good, and 7-10 indicating levels of excellence.

Selection / Awards

Based on the Judges selection and public voting, 20 entries will be shortlisted, from which 1st and 2nd place from each category will be selected. 

Subsequent to selecting the winners, an exhibition will be held to showcase the 20 shortlisted stories – providing the participants with more exposure to prospective clients and also contributing to the awareness of people who attend the exhibition. At the opening of the exhibition, an awards ceremony will be held to announce the winning prizes. 

the competition, for each category are as below:


1st place: MVR 20,000 (with a paid internship to cover REDBULL events in the Maldives for 30 days)

2nd place: MVR 10,000

Competition Timeframe

The competition will begin on April 13, 2023, and run through May 05, 2023. 

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