By Alexandra Embiricos
Mira Sorvino spoke at the press conference held on April 12th, which aimed to raise awareness of the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking. The three guest speakers touched on a wide range of issues within human trafficking. Gary Lewis, the Regional Representative of UNODC for East Asia and the Pacific, gave welcoming remarks followed by an address from renowned human trafficking champion Dr. Saisuree Chutikul. UN Goodwill Ambassador, and Academy Award winner, Mira Sorvino was the final speaker and spoke passionately about the “atmosphere of impunity” that surrounds traffickers, and what can be done to combat this issue on a global level.
Lewis was quick to draw attention to the fact that the UN Voluntary Trust Fund would help bring money to those grassroots organisations that need it most, and the survivors they serve. He highlighted the four P’s of counter trafficking; policy and law, prevention, prosecution by promoting proactive investigations, and protection of victims of trafficking. With these responses we can help fight this modern day form of slavery “both in the stratospheric level and in the trenches”, but must bear in mind that great “resolve and will” are required in the short and long term. With $1 million dollars all ready in the Trust Fund, and 400 projects in the pipeline, this undertaking aims to have an immediate effect.
Dr. Chutikul recounted a few stories in her long career as an anti-human trafficking activist. She was a member of the United Nations Comission on the Status of Women, and was instrumental in developing the Thai National Committee on Combating Trafficking in Women and children, established in 1994. She recounts how forced prostitution of women in Thailand was brought to the forefront of national conscience when a brothel in Phuket burned down. The discovery of the bodies of four young women inside chained to beds and window frames revealed a harrowing example of the brutality of the trade.
Sorvino, who is in Bangkok shooting her latest film ‘Trade of Innocents’ about child sex trafficking in Cambodia, was the last to give her address to the stakeholders, NGOs and press. Sorvino has been part of the counter trafficking effort since 2005, and is the face of the UNODC’s Blue Heart campaign to end human trafficking. She also launched UNODC’s first Global Report on Trafficking in Persons at the UN headquarters in New York. MTV EXIT had the opportunity to meet with Mira Sorvino following the press conference.
Watch this space to see some of the work we’ve been doing with Mira.