Newcastle filmmaker shines light on human trafficking in Asia

NEWCASTLE documentary filmmaker Ben Randall wants to shine a light on the dark underground world of human trafficking across the world.

Five years after his first trip to Asia, Mr Randall is back and is on the hunt for 100 random locals he photographed on his first journey.

Among those he photographed was his Vietnamese friend "M", a then 15-year-old girl from Hmong.

She lived in a nearby village and would come into town to peddle clothing and handicrafts to tourists, but almost three years have passed since his Vietnamese friend was last seen.

She was then riding on the back of a local man's motorbike.

Her friends and family believe she was abducted and taken over the Chinese border to be sold off as a prostitute or as someone's wife.

M's sister was also abducted in a separate incident, but managed to contact Chinese police who helped her return home.

Mr Randall's mother Sue Randall, of Hamilton, said M's story was just one of many across the world.

She said her son's Asian adventures inspired him to raise awareness of international trafficking, a multi-billion dollar industry that often preyed on the poor.

Mr Randall launched The Human, Earth Project in March 2013, teaming up with Italian documentary filmmaker Moreno Paulon.

They are are filming their journey to locate Mr Randall's 100 subjects and give them their portraits and share their stories to the world.

"They have found 51 of their subjects so far, which is amazing," Mrs Randall said.

"I'm so proud. He's such a free spirit.

"Half the time I don't know where he is or when he'll be home. He's got the backing of so many people now, so I hope he goes well."

The pair will head to China when their crowd-funding campaign ends at the end of this month. They hope to hunt down M and bring her back to Vietnam.

■ Go to humanearth.net to learn more about Ben Randall's journey.

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