Television presenter Petra Bagust and actor Ido Drent are in Thailand and Cambodia for just over a week, to get a first-hand understanding of the human-trafficking industry. They will be visiting Tearfund's local anti-trafficking partners who work to rescue and rehabilitate trafficking victims and prosecute offenders. They are sharing daily video diaries of their travels with the Herald.
Today, Petra Bagust and Ido Drent's journey today has taken them to "somewhere in Cambodia."
The pair are a 1.5 hours' drive from the country's capital, Phnom Penh, where they are visiting Tearfund's partner Hagar.
There they met a man suffering from polio, who as young child was taken from his family by traffickers and sent to Thailand to beg on the street.
"But today, he graduated as a councillor," Bagust said.
Drent said that through Hagar's programme, he was rehabilitated, given counselling, and was put through university.
"Not he's actually working for Hagar - helping people like him who've been through similar things to what he's been through," Drent said.
Hagar is a global organisation whose mission is "to restore women and children who suffer extreme human rights abuse to life in all its fullness."
Tearfund is a Christian organisation which aims to help those in need. In its anti-human trafficking role, it works alongside partners throughout Southern and Southeast Asia by:
• Helping to protect people vulnerable to trafficking by running empowerment and education programmes.
• Assisting authorities to break the criminal networks behind trafficking and slavery to set victims free.
• Working with local law enforcement to help prosecute the traffickers and brothel owners to prevent further people from becoming enslaved.
• Giving survivors a safe place to heal and recover, and restoring their dignity through rehabilitation.
Human trafficking is an organised criminal activity that uses deception, coercion and force to transport and harbour human beings for the purpose of exploitation.
According to Tearfund, 21 million people are trapped in slavery today, more than at any other time in history, 4.5m people are trapped in forced sexual exploitation and US$99 billion (NZ$136b) is earned through sex trafficking and exploitation.
The average age of victims trafficked into prostitution is 12 and people living below the international extreme poverty line (on $2.85 a day or less) are most vulnerable to being trafficked.
Drent and Bagust are sharing daily video diaries of their journey with the Herald, ahead of their participation in Tearfund's Live Below the Line campaign which will see them eating on $2.85 a day from September 19 to 23 and raising money to fight human trafficking.
Kiwis can join Bagust and Drent by signing up at www.livebelowtheline.org.nz