One ordinary day in Vietnam, a young woman was approached by her friend who knew a benefactor who wanted to support someone’s education in Malaysia.
When she was given the opportunity to go out with a regular customer, she took the chance to run to a nearby police station. Using limited communication, the police managed to find the brothel, return her passport and she was sent to a shelter. After nine long months, she was finally sent home.
Scenarios like these appear on television and as viewers, we just watch and sympathise but don’t stop to think that these are realities we could possibly stop.
Life Sdn. Bhd. 8: Human Trafficking will feature a collective of brave individuals who will stand on stage to tell stories from the victim’s perspectives. They represent various organizations including Tenaganita, Women’s Aid Organisation, Voice of the Children, Yayasan Chow Kit and International Organisation for Migration (IOM) who help these victims in our country.
“Malaysians are now more affluent, but the sense of humanity is gone,” said Urmilah Dass, a clinical psychologist and shelter volunteer who has dealt with many heartbreaking stories like the one above.
While running her own practice Valley Psychological Services and providing consultant clinical psychologist services at a hospital, Urmilah takes time off to help children and women to lead better lives while they wait to be sent home.
Other than running the SMILE buddy programme, she also gives counseling for those who have undergone trauma and creating awareness of human trafficking through various media. She has worked with numerous NGO’s and is currently volunteering at IOM.
“Many people don’t understand the definition of human trafficking. It is more than just smuggling individuals, kidnapping, or selling babies, the definition encompasses many elements,” added Urmilah, who has worked with refugees after working together with the Doctors Without Borders organisation in 2009.
According to the United Nations definition of human trafficking, it is “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.”
“Maids being forced to work 14 or 15 hours a day, not giving them an off day and treating them like plague is sad and a form of trafficking,” explained Urmilah.
Yes, it’s true. You or someone close to you may be the perpetrating acts of human trafficking without knowing it. Still, there is always time to act, starting with being more aware and conscious about people around us.
“It is important to be educated about the matter. Government too should have stricter laws, proper legislation and checks to curb this problem,” added Urmilah.
On stage for the first time, Urmilah will be sharing stories of those she has encountered throughout her volunteering days. She hopes that the show at The Actors Studio Lot 10 will create awareness human trafficking and that audience will take back the knowledge the gain, spread the word and make a change in themselves.
Directed by Dato’ Faridah Merican The Life Sdn. Bhdseries started back then in 2004. Similar to the previous Life Sdn Bhd shows, the upcoming edition aims beyond storytelling and awareness. It aims to tell the public “what to do” and “how to do”, to make a change about the human trafficking situation, at the same time giving hope to the victims and help them heal.
This time around thre will be a gathering of actors Malik Taufik and Kimmy Kiew as well as non-actors like Dr Hartini Zainudin, Wong Su Zane and Glorene A. Das to share true stories on stage. In keeping with the positivity of the programme, there will also be songs and a dance with hopes that the audience will leave their seat not depressed and disappointed, but with hope that their action could make a difference.
Life Sdn Bhd 8: Human Trafficking starts from April 12 to 15 at The Actors Studio @ Lot 10 and May 3 to 6 at Penangpac. Tickets are priced at RM35 for adults and RM25 for students. Parental guidance is recommended. For bookings and information call 03-21422009 or 03- 40479000 or purchase tickets online at iLasso Tickets Sdn Bhd.
- What We Liked
Questioning the many assumptions underlying our current philosophies.