May 26th, 2006 05:32 EST
Lao Teenage Girl Who Is Trafficked Abroad
A compelling television drama produced with United Nations support about a Lao teenage girl who is trafficked abroad, where she suffers both physical and sexual abuse, had its national premiere on Lao Television today as part of a campaign to warn young people of the dangers they face and to stimulate awareness and discussion.
“Lessons of Life” is the result of collaboration between the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Lao National Television, the UN Children’s Fund (<"http://www.unicef.org/media/media_34087.html">UNICEF) and the Lao Art Media production company.
“The Lessons of Life TV drama project is an expression of UNICEF’s ongoing commitment to advocate against child trafficking and help people understand the long-term damage it can do to the lives of children and their families,” UNICEF Representative Olivia Yambi said.
“We are proud this innovative production brings together such a broad range of partners, and that it will reach audiences across the country,” she added.
In addition to the TV drama, UNICEF is providing ongoing legal support to the Lao Government, including assistance in drafting laws against the trafficking of women and children.
“All our cooperation is focused on supporting the Lao Government to create a protective environment for all Lao children. We are working to build awareness, and to ensure that the legal system is strengthened so victims’ rights are upheld, and exploiters are prosecuted,” Ms. Yambi said.
‘Lessons of Life’ was developed from actual child trafficking case studies. It follows the story of Noi, a Laotian teenage girl whose family is facing financial and emotional problems. Noi is persuaded by a woman in her community to accept an apparently attractive job in neighbouring Thailand.
Once away from home, she realizes too late that she has been trafficked, and her hopes of a better life are soon shattered as she suffers both physical and sexual abuse. Noi finally manages to escape with the help of Thai and Lao authorities and, in the final sequence she takes a small boat across the Mekong River back to Laos.