Regular readers of TravelEater.net and of the TravelEater Johanna Facebook page have been following the story of M over the past two years: a young woman, a girl really, kidnapped from her home in northern Vietnam and taken to China to be sold.
In Thailand in late 2013 I met an Australian filmmaker, Ben Randall, who was trying to find M and some of the other young women from her community who had also been kidnapped and trafficked.
Ben established The Human, Earth Project and was eventually successful in finding M, who had been sold as a wife to a man in China. When he found her, she had already become a young mother.
The rest of her story is … well, like a movie, but all true.
The trailer of Ben’s documentary is now available and the film itself will be released in 2016.
Sisters For Sale is a feature-length film by Ben and The Human, Earth Project. Please give the trailer a watch and share it. Donations are always welcome too.
Before I met Ben, I had absolutely no idea of the extent of human trafficking in the world. Nor had I any idea of how other countries can make the problem better, or make it worse. China’s October 2015 decision to end the one child policy, for example, will eventually affect human trafficking. There will be a closer gender balance in the country and it will be easier for men to find wives without having to resort to buying them.
Here’s the film synopsis:
An Australian traveller and filmmaker returns to Asia to investigate the mysterious abduction of his 16-year-old friend M, sparking an incredible series of events.
In a series of meetings with family, friends, survivors and experts in the field, Ben Randall learns that not one but three of his young friends have been abducted from their homes in northern Vietnam, and uncovers the true depth of the local human trafficking crisis.
Women of the region find themselves caught between a violent custom and a vicious criminal underworld, trapped by poverty and political forces they do not understand. They are betrayed, stolen and sold across the border in thousands, as brides and prostitutes for Chinese men.
With an intimate, guerilla-style production, Ben’s investigation must remain hidden from extensive human trafficking networks embedded within the local communities.
A stroke of luck leads him from the remote mountain villages of Vietnam to the modern megacities of China, where he ultimately succeeds in contacting, locating and meeting with both M and a second trafficked friend.
Still teenagers, both young women have given birth in China, and each now faces a decision no mother should ever have to make: the choice between her child and her freedom.
As Ben struggles to find a solution for his friends, he is drawn ever deeper into the complex world of human trafficking, and realises that his journey has only just begun.