In 2012, Radio Free Asia published a series of investigative video reports documenting the plight of trafficking victims in China and Southeast Asia. Since then, the phenomenon has worsened. Throughout Southeast Asia, women and girls are still recruited by brokers to be sold as brides in China. And men, in search of an income to support their families, are still being lured into fishing work they are not free to leave.
But some escape. And their stories reveal what could be the beginning of a wider response to entrapment through trafficking. Led by their own will to break free, and with the support of local NGOs, they come home to speak openly about their experience. This new series lets the victims speak in their own words, or through their own art, to communicate directly to their peers and warn them to “be careful out there.”
Survivors describe how they managed to escape and break free from their entrapment. In these revealing testimories, men and women overcome shame and stigma to speak directly to their peers. Hearing stories about what appeared to be lucrative jobs overseas, they had fallen prey to misinformation sometimes peddled by their own relatives. Our reporters traveled to Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam to listen to them.
The port of Samut Sakhon is home to the third largest fishing industry in the world. But last year, it became synonymous with exploitation, corruption and human trafficking.
When Xuan accepted a job in Malaysia, it was not what she expected, and she ended up having to make a daring escape.
Drugged and tricked into prostitution, a young Vietnamese woman dares to escape.
Money sent home to Laos helps alleviate family poverty. But abuse by employers is often the price these workers pay.
The Chai Lai Eco Retreat in northern Thailand is an organization that helps undocumented migrants escape exploitative employment.
The discovery of a small island serving as a prison for fishermen may have turned the tide on inhuman practices.
Only one company has ever been convicted of trafficking men onto fishing boats in the ASEAN region.
"Please don’t go, you could be cheated like me," warns Lina, who was sold as a bride against her will.
"I thought my life was over. I could have died and been buried there." Prum Vannak, a Cambodian trafficking survivor and self-taught artist, brings to life the stories of those who suffered through long years as “brides” in China and others who lived through brutal slavery on Thai fishing boats and plantations in Indonesia. His drawings form the basis for compelling graphic animations, which are narrated by the survivors themselves.
Survivors of brutal and illegal detention on Benjina Island speak about the cruelty of the fishing industry in the South China Sea
They thought they accepted high paying jobs. Instead, they found themselves trapped at sea.
Lured by the promise of a high salary, young women become prey to Chinese bride traffickers.
For the past 35 years, China's One Child Policy has become one of the major contributors to the growing problem of human trafficking.
In a new series on human trafficking and modern slavery, our reporters speak to young survivors of forced and brutal military service inside Burma. For these lucky few who escape, the ordeal is not over.
In the second part of a series on human trafficking and modern slavery, our reporters speak to Burmese residents of a refugee camp in Thailand. Many of these refugees are forced to take dangerous work through traffickers to feed their families.
"I wanted to feed them warm rice," says a North Korean woman who thought she was going to get a job by defecting to China. Instead she was forcibly married to an "unmarriageable" man.
Our reporters join Chinese parents looking for their abducted children. The parents try to recruit the help of the police, only to find that law enforcement agents are sometimes accomplices.
Between a strong demand from overseas adoptive parents and the willingness of Chinese families to abandon their child - particularly if they are girls - a lucrative market is striving.
In remote parts of Southeast Asia new roads are seen as a sign of prosperity. But for people living there they often open pathways to exploitation.
In the first of a two-part series, our reporters explore the root cause of human trafficking through the story of the Rohingyas, a stateless Muslim minority living in Burma and Bangladesh.
In the second of a two-part series, our reporters explore the root cause of human trafficking through the story of the Rohingyas, a stateless Muslim minority living in Burma and Bangladesh.
'I never thought I'd be tricked like that,' said one of the women who were duped into following a trafficker to China.