MTV EXIT documentary programs will reach 380 million households with other artists.
LONDON/BANGKOK/HONG KONG – 8 August 2007 – MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B) and the MTV Europe Foundation, a registered UK charity, announced the launch of MTV EXIT (End Exploitation and Trafficking) across Asia and the Pacific, in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The Campaign is the first youth-focused pan-regional initiative created to raise awareness and increase prevention of human trafficking – a tragic form of modern day slavery.
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. The UN estimates that at any one time there are 2.5 million trafficked victims in 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$ 10 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 for themselves and their families.
But trafficking can be fought through awareness and prevention. Thus, MTV Networks in Asia and the Pacific and the MTV Europe Foundation are collaborating on a multimedia campaign funded by USAID to inform youth across the region about trafficking. In recognition of the diverse nature of the MTV audience in Asia and the Pacific, MTV EXIT will feature multiple general and targeted messages, including safe migration advice and guidance to young people who might be at risk of trafficking, and messages to educate all young people that, as consumers, they may play a part in the demand underlying trafficking and exploitation.
MTV EXIT will highlight and address three major forms of trafficking in Asia and the Pacific: sex trafficking and forced prostitution, labour trafficking, and forced domestic servitude. Due to the complexities of trafficking and the differences found geographically, the campaign is split into two regions: Asia-Pacific and South Asia. MTV EXIT is producing dedicated campaign television programming, beginning with a unique half-hour documentary for each region, versioned in the 8 languages of MTV Asia and Pacific and presented by major Asian and international artists. Pan-Asian heartthrobs Rain of Korea and Tata Young of Thailand will present the Korean and Thai versions respectively with more artists to be announced shortly.
"I'm honored to join the MTV EXIT Campaign and make a stand against exploitation and trafficking. It is shocking and sad that so many people, the majority who are women and children, fall into modern-day slavery and are suffering, with their rights to pursue happiness stolen," said Rain. "I hope that my involvement in the MTV EXIT Campaign will encourage others to join the fight to end exploitation and trafficking."
Tata Young commented: "I'm so honored and very proud to join MTV EXIT as Thailand's representative. This campaign is about a social issue that is very important to me so I'm glad to take part and join other international superstars, such as Rain in Korea, to help raise awareness. Human trafficking and exploitation are happening every day and we can't ignore it."
The documentaries will premiere in September 2007, with fictional short films and a series of public service announcements to follow in 2007 and 2008, along with a multi-language website, http://www.mtvexit.org, and live awareness and prevention events.
"Human trafficking has become a critical human rights issue facing young people across Asia and the Pacific. Victims are subject to horrendous abuses, including rape and torture, with women and girls particularly affected," said Bill Roedy, Vice Chairman, MTV Networks. "Education is key to prevention. MTV EXIT is part of our commitment to help highlight issues affecting young people in Asia and across the world."
"Law enforcement and community-level efforts to stop human trafficking have been hampered by the public's lack of awareness about the severity of this problem," said USAID Regional Mission Director for Asia Olivier Carduner. "USAID is funding this project with MTV because of the unique opportunity that MTV Networks provide to reach hundreds of millions of people in a region that accounts for many of the world's trafficking victims," Carduner said, adding that raising awareness will encourage communities to promote the law enforcement and victim outreach efforts needed to stop this modern-day form of slavery.
The MTV EXIT initiative across Asia and the Pacific is an expansion of the successful MTV EXIT European campaign, which has been raising awareness and increasing prevention of trafficking and exploitation in Europe since 2004. Many influential artists have supported MTV EXIT's special programming and events in Europe, including Angelina Jolie, Helena Christensen, and R.E.M.
MTV EXIT television programming is produced rights-free and free of charge for all broadcasters and organisations.
MTV Europe Foundation
Launched in 2003, the MTV Europe Foundation is a UK-based charity (Reg. No. 1103267) whose overarching aim is to utilize and maximize the power of MTV's network to educate youth and adults on critical social and human rights issues. The Foundation produces multimedia programming and events aimed at raising awareness and influencing attitudes and behaviors on key issues, as well as inspiring young people to take action. In addition, the Foundation seeks to support nongovernmental organizations that are working on the ground to address these issues and effect positive change.
About MTV Networks in Asia and the Pacific
MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), is one of the world's leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms. MTV Networks in Asia and the Pacific comprises three distinctly branded channels in the region reaching more than 400 million households: MTV, the world's largest television network and the leading multimedia brand for youth; Nickelodeon, the leading entertainment brand dedicated exclusively to kids; and VH1, the music video network that keeps adult viewers connected to the music they love. In Asia and the Pacific, MTV and Nickelodeon's businesses also include branded consumer products, program sales and digital media comprising of 19 websites, three broadband services and various mobile platforms. MTV Networks in Asia and the Pacific has a total of 25 channels which are seen via 24-hour and programming blocks.
USAID, the United States Agency for International Development, is an independent U.S. government agency that receives foreign policy guidance from the U.S. Secretary of State. Since 1961, USAID has been the principal U.S. agency to extend assistance to countries world-wide recovering from disaster, trying to escape poverty, and engaging in democratic reforms. See http://www.usaid.gov for more information.
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