An Incredible Documentary Series on Modern Day Slavery in Asia

Filmmakers from the company Good Morning Beautiful, produced by Radio Free Asia, have put together an incredible documentary series covering modern-day slavery in Asia. The  short documentaries are a beautiful portrayal of the harrowing stories of trafficking victims and their families. Though each video is under 10 minutes, each one reveals a different startling truth about modern-day slavery.


I have included a handful of brief summaries of my favorite documentaries below.

Mothers of North Korea

There has been a common trend of people fleeing North Korea to China in order to find work. They are driven by hunger and poverty due to North Korea never recovering from the famine which began in the early 1990s. This film follows three stories from women who survived trafficking in China after fleeing their home country of North Korea. One would assume fleeing the country would allow them to pursue a new life, yet this act of seeking new prosperity drove these women, and many others like them, right into the hands of traffickers.

It is estimated that 80% of defectors from North Korea are women and humanitarian organizations estimate that 90% of these women are sold upon arrival to China. Though women crossing the border believe they are doing so to find new hope, they end up experiencing the horrors of human trafficking from forced marriage to enslavement by private families. As these women have no legal status in China, they have no protection from abuse. Escape is extremely difficult and risky since defectors of North Korea that are found in China are sent back to North Korea, many sentenced to years of torture.

To view the video, click here.

Traffickers Target Refugee Camps

Refugee camps are becoming notorious as sites for human trafficking. In Thailand, this problem is especially prevalent where refugees from Burma’s civil war have traveled there looking for work. Instead of making new lives for themselves, these refugees end up being trafficked right out of the camps they flee to for survival.

The refugee camps in Thailand present several issues. Refugees are not allowed to leave the camp, forcing them to escape and pursue illegal employment, putting them in an extremely vulnerable position. For those who try to find work from within the camp, they must pay agents to organize transportation, pay Thai police to pass checkpoints, and bribe police to prevent going to jail or being deported. Many are sold to fishing boats, brothels, or private homes and the problem has only worsened after ethnic fighting increased since the 2010 election. Though Human Rights Watch reports support the human trafficking claims of refugees, Thai police and government officials deny the problem.

To view the video, click here.

The Child Soldiers in Burma

Conscripting child soldiers is a systematic and ongoing practice that unfortunately plagues families worldwide. The Tat Ma Daw Burmese Army is thought to conscript more child soldiers than any other army in the world. The horrors these children face are numerous. The Burmese Army does not distinguish between children and adults at any point, even during training. All are treated equally leading to many child deaths during the training process.

If a child soldier does make it through training, the experience of killing innocent civilians is just one of many crimes they will be forced to commit. Child soldiers are instructed to commit war crimes and human rights abuses such as using forced labor, rape, torture, and attacking civilians. Many do not escape and many are unable to survive even if they are lucky enough to escape.

To view the video, click here.

The Black Factories of China

In the province of Zhengzhou there are an estimated 5,000 parents who believe their children are victims of human trafficking, being forced to work in one of the many “black factories” in China. The black factories in China are known for their use of forced labor. They number their workers and treat them as slaves; beating them, forcing them to work endless hours, and killing them if they are caught trying to escape.

In Zhengzhou, as well as many other Chinese provinces, recruiters illegally find workers and force them to work in factories as slaves. As the police are not willing to help the parents of missing children search for their children, parents are forced to take on the search themselves. After years of searching, many of these parents believe the black factories are operating under the protection of local authorities.

This is one of the most inspiring stories I have ever heard about the love of a parent for their child. The love of a parent never ceases or fades, even when it seems all is lost. One can only hope these parents are able to find their children and rescue them before it is too late.

To view the video, click here.

China’s Trade in Babies

The international adoption scene is teaming with children, particularly in China. However, the children being fed into orphanages in China may not truly be orphans. Many are abandoned due to the one child rule in China, but the reality of what is happening behind these scenes at Chinese orphanages goes much deeper than that.

There is a trend of children being sold to orphanages to meet the demand for foreign adoptions. Foreign adoptions bring in money to orphanages; therefore orphanages are willing to pay for any healthy, ‘adoptable’ children brought to them. This inspires a trend of traffickers buying or kidnapping children to sell to orphanages, mothers giving up their children, and people having babies simply for the money.

Every orphanage in China is suspected to be involved in some way with baby buying. The government claims the Hunan scandal in 2006 was the only time this occurred and has not taken steps to investigate current claims.

To view the video, click here.


These stories paint a very real picture of what modern-day slavery looks like in Asia and reveal the difficulties vulnerable persons face in Asia. To view all of the Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery films, please click here.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge