I feel incredibly privileged to live the way I do at the moment. But I’m very conscious that not everybody in SE Asia has a life like mine. The more I get to know people in SE Asia, the more I understand about the darker side of SE Asia – and the more opportunities I get to give a little back to the countries that have welcomed me and blessed me with friendship and a wonderful environment.
What if your friend was kidnapped and sold to strangers?
In December 2013, I met Ben Randall, someone who had a shocking experience that compelled him to take action on the issue of human trafficking.
Ben used to be a tourist, a travelling photographer who spent three years in SE Asia. Teaching English in Vietnam, he met M, a vibrant and sharp 16-year old from a village in Northern Vietnam.
A year after he left, he had a message from one of her friends – M had been kidnapped, believed to be a victim of human trafficking, sold as a wife or sex worker in China.
As Ben searched for more information on what had happened to M, he realised she was one of many. Human trafficking is an enormous issue in Vietnam, in Asia, and around the world, and it’s not getting enough attention.
The UN reports that there are 2.5 million victims of human trafficking right now, and 56% of them are in Asia and the Pacific. 1.2 million of these are children, and 95% of the victims will have experienced physical or sexual violence during trafficking.
Ben could have taken the easy option, and turned away. Instead, he’s using the skills he has, which lie in film-making and photography, to shed light on the issue, going back to Vietnam to find out what happened to M, and creating a feature-length documentary about the search.
He’s paid for most of the production so far himself. He’s now raising money to complete the production and post-production phases of the documentary.
Making the documentary a reality will show people what’s really happening in this evil industry.
I heard the story of M directly from Ben when we met in Chiang Mai, Thailand. You can hear how profoundly he was affected by M’s kidnapping, and galvanised to take action, by watching his short minute video here:
I hope it encourages you to contribute financially to their campaign – even the equivalent of a few beers or coffees would make a difference. If you can’t contribute financially, please share this post, or their crowdfunding page on your social media, and help to spread the message more widely.
Visit ‘The Human, Earth Project’ crowdfunding page to learn more about the project and make a donation.
Anything you can do to help would be greatly appreciated.