Thousands of women from rural Thailand, China, Laos, Burma and Cambodia are sold to brothels in Bangkok or in other countries by unscrupulous “job brokers,” who often operate in organized international syndicates.
Sex trafficking is a worldwide problem that there is no exact answer to. One Actuality Media film crew made “Our Daughters For Sale” to tell the tale of one possible solution.
This problem does not apply specifically to any one age group, part of the world, or gender. However, Thailand has long been a country linked with sex trafficking, and a place where people and organizations go to fight this global epidemic.
The scope and magnitude of the trafficking problem in Thailand remains significant, and there continues to be a low number of victims identified among vulnerable populations and of convictions for both sex and labor trafficking. NGOs report that problems hindering the government’s anti-trafficking efforts included:
- Local police corruption, including direct involvement in and facilitation of human trafficking;
- Biases against migrant laborers;
- Lack of a comprehensive monitoring system of the government’s efforts;
- Lack of understanding among local officials of trafficking;
- Courts’ lack of a human rights-based approach to labor abuse cases; and
- Systematic disincentives for trafficking victims to be identified.
More Info Available on HumanTrafficking.org
Where to begin, and how to go about stopping sex trafficking, is always a daunting task for those wanting to put an end to this problem. Some try to stop victims from being taken, others focus on closing Thai borders to those trying to funnel women and children into popular tourist towns, and yet more of them work to remove victims from the business once they have already arrived.
“The organization that rescues women from a life of prostitution cannot be publicly named, nor can many details be revealed for the sake of the volunteers’ safety. ‘This group actually goes into the bars of the red light district and offers the girls there an opportunity to learn skills and find other work to support themselves,’ Crowder said.”
One organization in Thailand takes a different tact, working with families to provide an education to children so that they will have a better future. Children’s Organization of Southeast Asia, or COSA, is based in northern Thailand and works to prevent young girls from high mountain villages from becoming victims.
“Ethnic minorities and women and girls from the northern Hill Tribes are especially vulnerable due to their lack of citizenship.” – Humantrafficking.org
Northern Thai villages, sitting along dirt and mud roads high in the mountains, hours from the nearest city, are full of Thai people who are not given full citizenship. People who live off the land, who have no vote, no say in government, and little to no connection to the big cities like Bangkok where so many victims of sex trafficking are likely to end up.
This would seem like the perfect place to find people who make the horrible decision to sell a child into sex trafficking so that money can be had for food, for livelihood. And indeed, in one of the villages the film crew visited there was no one to be found in the village between the ages of 10 and about 30 – except for the COSA volunteers and the film crew themselves.
“Often-cited vulnerability factors are poverty, lack of education, awareness and employment, or dysfunctional families.” – no-trafficking.org – however the truth seen in these villages is that the money made by selling a child often goes to buying a new motorbike or a satellite dish, not towards survival. If the problem has not been correctly diagnosed yet, then surely the solution is still out there and one can only hope that COSA is on the right track.
“Our Daughters For Sale” has been selected as a Best Tertiary Education Resource for the ATOM Awards 2012.
This video was produced on location by an Actuality Media student crew and shot primarily with a Canon XA10.
Director: Clara Simpson
Producer: Jenny Bae
Cinematographer: Jack Dyball
Editor: Alison Ryan
Actuality Media is an organization that takes media students to developing communities around the globe to create positive media that tells the story of changemakers doing good works to fight societal and environmental problems that plague the world. These short documentaries were each produced during a thirty day outreach where crews researched their subject changemaker, wrote out their story, filmed and edited it.