16 DECEMBER 2012, YANGON: MTV EXIT (End Exploitation and Trafficking) American singer-songwriter Jason Mraz took center stage performing to 70,000 fervent fans at the MTV EXIT Live in Myanmar concert today at Yangon People’s Square, where the magnificent 2600 year-old, golden Shwedagon Pagoda brilliantly shined in the background.
“We are thrilled to be in Yangon to bring together amazing international and local artists to continue the campaign against human trafficking with the people of Myanmar,” said Simon Goff, MTV EXIT CEO. “Music is such a powerful force to fuel change, and tonight, more than 50,000 people stood up in solidarity to make a statement on this global fight to end modern-day slavery!”
Mraz makes history as the first international artist ever to perform at a massive open-air, public concert in Myanmar. The crowd erupted in excitement as Myanmar’s favorite female singer Phyu Phyu Kyaw Thein joined Mraz on stage to perform the worldwide hit song Lucky.
R Zarni, one of Myanmar’s most popular artists ignited fans with the live debut of Traps of Life, a powerful song and music video about a survivor of human trafficking struggling to reintegrate into their community. Thailand’s top rock band, Slot Machine, also got the crowd roaring with their guitar-heavy hits Paan (Yesterday) and Chan Chao (Goodbye).
In addition to Asia’s top artists, distinguished speakers also took to the stage to encourage people in Myanmar and throughout the world to join the movement against trafficking. U Myint Swe, Chief Minister of the Yangon Region Government, welcomed the crowd and opened the historical show along with Police Brigadier General Khin Maung Si, Chief of Police, Myanmar Police Force, Central Body for Suppression of Trafficking in Persons, Ministry of Home Affairs who encouraged the young audience to prevent trafficking in their home community.
Derek Mitchell, United States Ambassador to Burma and Luis CdeBaca, United States Ambassador-at-Large, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons expressed the U.S. government’s commitment in their strategic approach to combat human trafficking not only in Myanmar but also across Asia and throughout the world.
"The United States Government has a proud history of combatting trafficking in persons around the world," said USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah. "For six years, our Agency has been a dedicated supporter of the MTV EXIT campaign, helping to raise awareness about human trafficking around the world. As we've seen, knowledge can lead to freedom, giving us all the power to end modern slavery."
Bronte Moules, Australian Ambassador to Myanmar echoed the theme of the evening with her remarks on the Australian government’s continued efforts, through dynamic awareness-raising and preventative programs being implemented throughout Asia to put an end to modern-day slavery.
Ambassador Bronte Moules, Australian Embassy Myanmar said, “The work of MTV EXIT reminds us that ending human trafficking is everyone’s responsibility. Individuals, families, businesses, NGOs and governments all have a role to play in stopping this trade in human life and ensuring justice for its victims. Australia is committed to working with Myanmar and its partners in the region, on this issue of shared international concern.”
Andrew Forrest, Founder Walk Free took to the stage to address the crowd along with popular local artist and Walk Free Celebrity Ambassador to Myanmar Phyo Gyi. Forrest and Phyo Gyi inspired audience members to join the global movement of young people determined to Walk Free.
"It is such a privilege to be in Myanmar, with MTV EXIT, to launch Walk Free's global business campaign against modern slavery. This concert is a landmark event, and one we are very proud to be part of," said Nick Grono, CEO of Walk Free.
Later in the evening, in a great moment demonstrating regional support, representatives of ASEAN, including Danny Lee, Director Community Affairs Development, ASEAN Secretariat; Khine Myat Chit, Senior Officer in the Security Cooperation Division at the ASEAN Secretariat; and Mr. Aung Htoo, Director of the ASEAN Affairs Department in Myanmar; came on stage to encourage the crowd to get informed and protect themselves and their friends and family to avoid falling victim to the transnational crime of human trafficking.
“Human trafficking is a transborder issue that requires transborder solutions,” stated David Carden, U.S. Ambassador to ASEAN. “We are working with local, regional and international authorities to address this devastating practice to promote human security for all citizens of ASEAN.”
MTV EXIT Live in Myanmar will air across MTV's international networks in on 8 March 2013 as a special edition of “MTV World Stage,” MTV’s weekly live music series. Available in more than a half-billion homes, the program will feature footage taken from concert performances, interviews and key information about human trafficking.
This ground-breaking event was made possible by the on-going support of MTV EXIT from the Australian Government’s Agency for International Development (AusAID), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Walk Free, a global movement to end modern-day slavery; and produced in partnership with the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the United Nations Inter-Agency Project Against Human Trafficking (UNIAP) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Human trafficking is a tragic crime that enslaves and exploits its victims, the majority of which are women and children. There are more than 20 million people living in slavery around the world with Myanmar and Southeast Asia particularly affected. The concert forms part of a wider initiative that seeks to educate and train youth through innovative television programming, digital content, capacity building workshops and community-based events. MTV EXIT Live in Myanmar follows the production of two Myanmar MTV EXIT documentaries on human trafficking, which were broadcast in 2010 and 2012 on national television to educate the public about the dangers of trafficking.
MTV EXIT is also proud to partner with Edelman, the world’s largest public relations firm. For more information, visit www.mtvexit.org or follow MTV EXIT on the following social media platforms: Twitter @mtvexit, Facebook www.facebook.com/mtvexit, Google+ www.google.com/+MTVEXIT and YouTube www.youtube.com/mtvef.
The MTV EXIT (End Exploitation and Trafficking) campaign is an award-winning multimedia initiative to raise awareness and increase prevention of human trafficking and exploitation. MTV EXIT was launched in Europe in 2004 and expanded across Asia with USAID in 2007. To date MTV EXIT has produced an extensive catalogue of powerful TV programming to promote awareness about human trafficking. MTV documentaries include Sold: An MTV EXIT Special presented by Lara Dutta; Traffic: An MTV EXIT Special, presented by Lucy Liu; and Inhuman Traffic, presented by Angelina Jolie; each of which have been translated into a dozen local language versions presented by Asian celebrities such as Rain of Korea and Phyu Phyu Kyaw Thein and R Zarni in Myanmar. Further MTV EXIT programming also includes short films, public service announcements, animated drama and music videos. MTV EXIT and Radiohead collaborated on an anti-exploitation video for their song All I Need, which premiered across MTV’s global network with similar collaborations with The Killers, MUSE, The Click Five, etc. MTV EXIT has also established partnerships with over 100 non-governmental organizations, distributed hundreds of thousands of anti-trafficking brochures in over 25 languages, and reached out to millions of young people through anti-trafficking messages at concerts and music festivals featuring R.E.M., Radiohead, The White Stripes, The Hives, Thievery Corporation, Placebo, Jason Mraz and hundreds of other international and local artists. For more information visit www.mtvexit.org
USAID, the United States Agency for International Development, is an independent U.S. Government agency that operates under the foreign-policy direction of the U.S. Secretary of State. Since 1961, USAID has been the principal U.S. Government agency extending assistance to countries worldwide recovering from disaster, trying to escape poverty, and engaging in democratic reforms. USAID’s Regional Development Mission for Asia, based in Bangkok, oversees a broad portfolio of regional and transnational programs, and also provides support to several USAID bilateral missions in Asia as well as manages programs in countries in which it does not have a permanent presence. Its regional approach addresses problems that cross national boundaries, such as human and wildlife trafficking, HIV/AIDS, natural resources conservation, trade, and political and economic conflict. Please see www.usaid.gov for more information.
AusAID is the Australian Agency for International Development. Australia’s development assistance is guided by the Millennium Development Goals, the internationally agreed targets for poverty reduction, and by the Australian aid program’s objective to assist developing nations to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development. Australia works with NGOs, multilateral institutions and volunteers, as well as directly with national governments. Australia’s support to the MTV EXIT Campaign complements other anti-trafficking work AusAID is undertaking in the region. These projects include the Asia Regional Trafficking in Persons (ARTIP) Project, which aims to strengthen the capacity of criminal justice agencies in South East Asia to respond to human trafficking; Project TRIANGLE, which works with governments in the region to improve the living and working conditions of migrants; and Project Childhood, which seeks to better protect children from child sex tourism and improve government systems to put the perpetrators of this crime behind bars. See www.ausaid.gov.au for more information.
Walk Free is a new movement of people everywhere working together to end one of the world’s greatest evils: modern slavery. As we build our community across the world with the powerful tools of new technologies and social media, we will seek change at local, national and global levels. Walk Free’s aim is to mobilise citizens, governments, businesses and communities to take action – so that slavery in all its forms is brought to an end, and people everywhere can walk free. www.walkfree.org
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established on 8 August 1967. The Member States of the Association are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The ASEAN Secretariat is based in Jakarta, Indonesia. General information on ASEAN appears on-line at the ASEAN Website: www.asean.org.
Human Trafficking is defined by the United Nations as “the recruitment, transportation, and receipt of a person for sexual or economical exploitation by force, fraud, coercion, or deception” in order to make a profit. It is a form of modern-day slavery with the UN estimating that there are more than 20 million people living in slavery around the world, with the majority of these victims in Asia and the Pacific. It is the second-largest illegal trade after drugs, with criminal traffickers earning over US$32 billion every year through the buying and selling of human beings. Often, victims are young men and women – the MTV demographic – who are guilty only of wanting a better life.