Reporter for the New Zealand Herald

Petra Bagust and actor Ido Drent's human-trafficking diary: Day One

Two Kiwi television personalities are embarking on a week-long journey which will take them to Bangkok's red light district, to meet undercover investigators and survivors of human trafficking.

Petra Bagust and actor Ido Drent flew to Thailand yesterday to get a first-hand understanding of the human trafficking industry, which is rife in Southeast Asia, as ambassadors of New Zealand aid and development organisation Tearfund.

There, they will visit Tearfund's local anti-trafficking partners who work to rescue and rehabilitate trafficking victims and prosecute offenders.

The pair will share daily video diaries with the Herald, documenting their journey.

"Women and girls are being coerced into leaving their homes and they end up working in brothels, so they're essentially in sexual slavery," Bagust said.

In Bangkok, they will visit the red-light district, participate in a mock investigation as well as meeting undercover investigators and lawyers who work to take down trafficking networks.

And in Cambodia they will meet trauma councillors and human trafficking survivors.

Petra Bagust is travelling to Southeast Asia to highlight human trafficking. Photo / Supplied
Petra Bagust is travelling to Southeast Asia to highlight human trafficking. Photo / Supplied

"There are some incredible people doing some incredible stuff over there, and we're going to head over and have a look first-hand to hear their stories and see what they're up to," Drent said.

They both admitted to being a little nervous about the journey ahead.

"I think the subject matter's quite heavy, so I'm not quite sure what to expect," Drent said.

But Petra said she hoped they could then spread the word about what was happening to women in these countries - and what was being done to fight human trafficking.

The pair will return to New Zealand in time to participate in the Live Below the Line challenge, which will see them eating on $2.85 a day from September 19 to 23 and raising money to fight human trafficking.

Ido Drent wants to hear the stories first-hand. Photo / Supplied
Ido Drent wants to hear the stories first-hand. Photo / Supplied

Bagust did the challenge last year - and her progress can be followed here.

Kiwis can join Bagust and Drent by signing up at www.livebelowtheline.org.nz.

- NZ Herald

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