Pedestrian traffic came to a standstill today in Bangkok’s busiest shopping district as crowds thronged to watch the premiere of Prisana: An IOM X Drama, a gripping love story set against the devastating underworld of human trafficking in Asia Pacific’s fishing industry.
“Young people will be drawn to Prisana because it’s a powerful love story with their favourite actors set to an amazing soundtrack. Our hope is that this story will increase understanding of how human trafficking affects families across the region, ultimately inspiring young people to share what they have learned with others to prevent exploitation and human trafficking in our communities,” said Tara Dermott, Program Leader, IOM X.
IOM X is the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) new campaign to prevent human trafficking and exploitation. It is produced in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
IOM X’s Prisana packs some serious star power, with Ananda Everingham at the helm as producer and actors Mario Maurer and Mai Davika Hoorne as the lead characters. This is the couple’s first on-screen reunion since Pee Mak, Thailand’s highest grossing film. Socially engaged rock stars Slot Machine provide the soundtrack and feature in the video, and Vithaya Pansringarm plays a supporting role. Behind the camera is renowned director Suttisit Dechaintaranarak and award-winning film score composer Jessada Sookdhramorn.
In Prisana, Mario Maurer plays a photographer who finds himself helping a migrant woman look for her husband, who is a victim of human trafficking in the fishing industry. Mario’s work takes him away from his girlfriend, Mai Davika Hoorne, causing tension in their relationship. Mario is torn between his love for Mai and passion for his work; he believes he must fight for those who don’t have a voice. In an effort to understand Mario’s absence, Mai embarks on a learning journey, and soon discovers the inherent heroism in his fight against human trafficking in the fishing industry.
“Ending the global scourge of human trafficking is one of our highest priorities,” said W. Patrick Murphy, U.S. Embassy Chargé d’affaires a.i. “We are working with partners across the Asia-Pacific region to tackle the problem from multiple angles. IOM X’s Prisana is a powerful example of how mass communication campaigns can contribute to increasing understanding of the issue and build a movement starting at the community level for more effective and localized counter-trafficking efforts.”
“Prisana was a work of love for everyone involved in it. We grew up in this region. Our family is here, our friends are here and our lives are here. Tackling exploitation in the fishing industry is the responsibility of all of us in Asia Pacific. As an actor, I have been fortunate enough to be given a voice, and I am using this voice today to ask my fans to watch Prisana, and then talk about what they learned with family and friends. Tackling this issue is everyone’s responsibility, but this also means that everyone can be part of the solution,” said Ananda Everingham, actor and producer of Prisana: An IOM X Drama.
Fishing is one of the biggest industries in the ASEAN region, and working conditions on fishing boats are often extremely difficult. According to findings from a recent IOM and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine survey, trafficked fishermen spend an average of 1.5 years trapped, more than trafficked people in any other sector. In the worst cases, fishermen face 18-20 hour workdays, live in cramped quarters, face drinking water and food shortages, and are required to work even when they are fatigued or ill. Boat owners sometimes prevent fishermen from leaving through threats of financial penalty and physical violence. Many of these fishermen are never paid. Prisana is a fictional depiction of the worst form of this.
Prisana: An IOM X Drama was produced with the support of the Royal Thai Government. IOM is pleased to have TQPR, Channel 7, Baidu, Thai Rath TV, EmDistrict, True Plookpanya, Skynet TV (Myanmar), CTN (Cambodia), SpokeDark, Amarin TV, MTV Philippines, MTV Thailand, TV Pool, Bright TV and Love Frankie as official launch and distribution partners for Prisana.
The 12-minute Prisana: An IOM X Drama is now viewable at IOMX.org/FISH.
The public can show their support for IOM X’s campaign against exploitation in the fishing industry by using the hashtag #ICAREDOYOU in their social media posts.
All IOM X programs are rights-free, and available free of charge to broadcasters, organizations and individuals who would like to use the materials for educational purposes.
To learn more about human trafficking in the fishing industry, as well as a list of helplines in Asia Pacific, please visit IOMX.org/FISH
To view factsheets, images from Prisana, and high-resolution photos from the press launch, please visit http://iomx.pr.co/110667-iom-x-drama-casts-a-light-on-human-trafficking-in-the-fishing-industry
 Zimmerman, C. et al. 2014. Health and human trafficking in the Greater Mekong Subregion. Findings from a survey of men women and children in Cambodia, Thailand and Viet Nam. International Organization for Migration and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.