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What is 'The Human, Earth Project'?

‘The Human, Earth Project’ is a grassroots organisation founded in February 2013 to raise awareness of the global human trafficking crisis and women’s rights issues.

Founder Ben Randall was inspired by the abduction and suspected trafficking of May, a young Hmong friend from Vietnam.

What is 'Sisters for Sale'?

‘Sisters for Sale’ is an incredible true story exploring the complex realities of human trafficking. It premiered as a feature documentary in November 2018, and has now won awards for exceptional filmmaking and courageous storytelling at film festivals around the world.

Young women on the border between Vietnam and China find themselves caught between a violent custom and a vicious criminal underworld.

Investigating the mysterious disappearances of his local friends May and Pang, an Australian filmmaker uncovers a human trafficking crisis and sparks an amazing series of events.

Betrayed, kidnapped, and forced into marriage with strangers, May and Pang – still only teenagers – forced to make the heartbreaking choice between their baby girls and their own freedom.

Refusing to accept the role of victims, May and Pang transform their personal tragedies into a dramatic story of hope and courage.

How can I see 'Sisters for Sale'?

‘Sisters for Sale’ is now screening on Discovery Channel in many countries in Asia. 

In all other countries, you can now watch ‘Sisters for Sale’ online here on Vimeo.  

Who are May and Pang?

May and Pang are young Hmong women from the mountains of northern Vietnam, who were born into impoverished families and had very little formal education. From a young age, May and Pang began selling handicrafts and treks to tourists on the streets of Sapa.

Both girls were kidnapped in separate incidents in 2011, trafficked into China and sold to local men.

Who are the Hmong people?

The Hmong people are an ethnic group originating from China, now dispersed across northern Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and the world.

Marginalised both geographically and economically, the Vietnamese Hmong tend to live in small rural communities with highly traditional gender roles.

With high levels of poverty and ineducation, these communities have now become ideal targets for human trafficking.

What is human trafficking?

Human trafficking is a violation of our most basic human rights. It involves buying and selling other human beings, usually for sex or forced labour.

Along with the trafficking of drugs and weapons, human trafficking is one of the world’s largest criminal industries – and it is growing every year.

While there are no precise statistics available, according to the 2016 Global Slavery Index there are now an estimated 45.8 million human trafficking victims around the world.

Among the Hmong communities of northern Vietnam, the major factors leading to human trafficking are poverty, ineducation, the extreme gender imbalance in China resulting from the ‘one-child’ policy and a cultural preference for male children, and the Hmong custom of marriage by abduction.

What is the 'one-child' policy?

The ‘one-child’ policy was designed to control population growth in China, by allowing couples to have only one child.

With a Chinese cultural preference for male children, tens of millions of baby girls were killed, abandoned or aborted.

This led to the world’s most serious gender imbalance, and created a demand for young women trafficked from neighbouring countries, including Vietnam.

Although the policy was relaxed in 2015, its devastating effects will continue for at least another generation.

What is marriage by abduction?

Marriage by abduction is a Hmong tradition allowing a young man to kidnap a girl and hold her captive in his home for several days, while he negotiates her marriage with her family.

This custom may be considered a form of human trafficking in itself, and in Vietnam it facilitates a more insidious trade in trafficking girls to China.

While some Hmong communities have recognised this tradition as harmful and have successfully stopped it, it continues in other areas, including the Sapa region.

Who is behind 'The Human, Earth Project'?

‘The Human, Earth Project’ was founded by Ben Randall, an Australian activist, author, and award-winning documentary filmmaker.

Since 2013, dozens of people from across the world have assisted with the project. Core team members have included John Bardos, Giang Thi Chan, Claire Harris, Jeppe Hildebrandt, Marinho, Barry O’Kane, Nick Randall, and Ben Warren.

We have received guidance and support from numerous anti-trafficking organisations, most notably Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation and Alliance Anti-Trafic.

How can I help?

We’re currently seeking volunteers with skills and experience in fundraising, promotion, and web development.

If you have specific skills that you feel might benefit our work, please email Katie at thehumanearthproject@gmail.com.

Several groups and individuals have also fundraised on our behalf, which makes a very real difference by giving us more time to focus on our core work.

Who funds THEP's work?

Our work has continued thanks to the contributions of individuals from around the world.

Visit our Donate page to see how you can make a difference, and to see the growing list of people who have made our work possible!

How can I contact you?

Can’t find the answer you’re looking for?

Please contact us with any questions, comments or media enquiries via our form on the Contact Us page.

Please note that the victims and survivors of human trafficking featured in ‘Sisters For Sale’ are not available for interviews.

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