- The Story of
Child Prostitutes from Burma
and documentary film
presentation by Laurie Maund,
and Hseng Noung of the Shan Women's
Caroline Marsh, Lara Johnson, Voravit Suwanianichkij, Annette
Steane, Leon Noordermeer, John Cadet, Horst Schneider, Pallop
Svasti, Santiphap Inkong-ngam, Chaiya Assawapisanboon, Bernard D.
& Judy Harcourt, Gert Slambrouck, Guy Cardinal, Jim Campion, Surat
Jinnarat, Christine Chabot, Lamar & Chongchit Robert, Megan Hansen,
Ziffer, Michael Tuckson, Ralph Kramer, Matthew & Roxanne Oddie,
Berkmüller, Adrian Pieper, Victoria Vorreiter, Masimba Biriwasha,
John Dore, Simone Buys, Leonard Fong, Karis Pratt, Chris Sinclair, Thai
Duane Nelson, Tawee Donchai, Baralee Meesukh, Hans Baumann, John Butt,
& Hanna & Heinz Brandli, Susan Paquin, Kamal Hamdy, Mark Steel,
Cadet, Stefan & Tina Mickel, Christa Crawford, Alex Brodard, Chris
57 Reinhard Hohler, Liz & Beverley Kalnin, Margaret & Harry
Matta Nan Drakwang, Joyce Matchett, Ronalyn Lavin, Sharon Downing, Rex
Burington, Peter Gore-Symes, Marei Burrows, Ronnie Lavin, Amaralak
Bodil Blokker. An audience of at least
(1998) is a
50-minute documentary produced and directed by Ellen Bruno.
Each year thousands of young girls are
recruited from rural
Burmese villages to work in the sex industry in neighboring Thailand.
for years in debt bondage in illegal Thai brothels, they suffer extreme
by pimps, clients, and the police.
The trafficking of Burmese girls has soared in recent years as a direct
of political repression in Burma.
Human rights abuses, war and ethnic discrimination has displaced
thousands of families, leaving families with no means of livelihood. An
of employment in Thailand
is a rare chance for many families to escape extreme poverty.
Sacrifice examines the social, cultural, and
economic forces at work in
the trafficking of Burmese girls into prostitution in Thailand.
the story of the valuation and sale of human beings, and the efforts of
girls to survive a personal crisis born of economic and political
National Educational Film Festival
Religion Today Film Festival,
International Film Festival
Sundance Film Festival
Charlotte Film Festival
compassion and empathy with which the film was made, and the impact of
“Sacrifice” on those who watch it.
counterpoints forthright tales of four young
prostitutes with mesmerizing images: a woman standing in a door frame
her fate juxtaposed with farmers cultivating the fields. The images
poignant plea for survival, both of the exiled women and the tormented
Laurie Maund introduced the
Laurie and Hseng Noung
conducted the question and answer session after the film. Such was the
in the film’s content, and the size of the audience, that the
answer session had to be brought to a close just before 10
continued over drinks in the Alliance Cafeteria.
— Andrea Alsberg,
"Sacrifice offers a view of the terrible odds faced by women
into poverty where the only commodity for sale are their bodies. These
complicated stories that get beneath tabloid headlines to capture, with
visual invention, the dignity and damaged nobility of young Burmese
The lives of these women are revealed to be the stuff of fairy
tale…the magic goes bad and the witch, the ogre, and the monster
win the day
chilling view of sexual exploitation…one we have never seen
— B. Ruby Rich, San
"Compelling interviews and beautiful photography create a complex
of economic conditions in Burma, and the impact this has on families,
villages and the young women themselves."
— San Francisco
" Unflinching in its account of abuse and corruption, SACRIFICE
derives much of its power from the testimonies of four girls, who speak
directly to viewers with a painful directness beyond their young years.
demonstrates an exceptional ability for conveying the complex facts and
emotional upheaval of globally relevant true stories. In the sobering
poetic Sacrifice, Bruno presents the terribly moving
accounts of four young girls from Burma
who were virtually kidnapped from their homes and forced into a life of
prostitution in Thailand.
As with all her films, Bruno approaches difficult issues with the
uncovering hard truths and giving voice to people who are too often
marginalized or misrepresented by mainstream media."
— Steven Jenkins,
"Sacrifice illuminates a difficult subject of major social
consequence with integrity and objective attachment. Told with delicate
simplicity, Sacrifice paints a picture of an unfamiliar reality
by turns, unbelievably ugly and startlingly beautiful. The
eloquent words of the girls lead viewers into a society whose mores are
completely alien to our own."
— Laurence Vittes, The Hollywood Reporter
In view of the number of people who
arrived at the Alliance
just after 7.30
and couldn’t physically get into the room to see the film; people
sitting on the floor centimetres away from the screen, we are going to
organise another showing of the film as soon as arrangements can be
international relief worker Ellen Bruno has spent much of the last 20
years in Southeast Asia. She began
her relief efforts more than 25
years ago in Mexico,
working in remote Mayan villages. Since then she has worked in refugee
the Thai-Cambodian border, as field coordinator for the International
Committee, she served for four years as director of the Cambodian
Project for the American Friends Service Committee. She has been a
worker for the Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco, providing bedside
assistance for people
dying of AIDS and cancer.
Ellen completed a Master’s degree in documentary film at Stanford University
in 1990. Her first film SAMSARA,
her Master’s thesis at Stanford, documents Cambodian life in the
Pol Pot's killing fields. SATYA:
A PRAYER FOR THE ENEMY is based on the experiences of young Tibetan
Buddhist nuns who have been imprisoned and tortured for their
protests of the Chinese occupation of Tibet. SACRIFICE is the
installment in her Asian trilogy. All three films premiered at the
Ellen was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1998, a Rockefeller
1997, fellowships from the Western States Media Arts and a Shenkin
from Yale University School of Art.
Hseng Noung – Co-director of
Hseng Noung was born
in Hsipaw, Shan State
Demoralised by the political situation in that country, she joined the
underground movement in 1977. She spent six years with the Shan
she came to live with her husband in Thailand.
She has worked as a
freelance photographer since 1983. In December 1995, she became one of
human rights monitors from around the world to be honoured by Human
Watch for her work in helping girls and young women from Burma lured
sex trade in Thailand, and in exposing the networks behind this
trade in human beings.
On March 28th 1999, Hseng Noung together with 40 Shan women
the Shan Women's Action Network.
She is currently an
advisory team member of the Shan Women's Action Network and is also a
Board Member of the Women's League of Burma (WLB), which was
December 9th 1999 and comprises 12 women’s
Maund – Translator on “Sacrifice”
Lawrence Maund was
born in Australia. He read about Buddhism from a young age, and
by his early twenties he was practicing the faith. In 1972, he left Australia
make a pilgrimage to the sacred places of Buddhism. While in Thailand
ordained as a monk in a rural area of Isaan. There, he learned to speak
fluently and taught himself to read and write the language.
He was a monk for two
then he left Thailand
went to Nalanda
to study for four years. In
1979 he returned to Thailand
and worked at the Buddhist University in Bangkok.
On a subsequent visit to Australia,
he took the international examinations and achieved United Nations
accreditation in translation and interpretation. Returning to Thailand he worked at Chiang Mai University
teaching language translation
courses and developing a master’s level translation curriculum.
In the course
of his work as a translator Laurie began to see HIV-related information
statistics, research, education and prevention. That was when he knew
was a problem in the way international organizations were trying to
HIV-related issues in Thailand.
They were going through the medical establishment when they should have
going through the monks and monasteries to utilize their role in Thai
It was while he was a
teacher at Mahamakut
at Wat Chedi Luang that the basic idea of the Sangha Metta Project was
After two years spent refining the proposal, he finally presented it to
and it was born as a pilot project.
The Sangha Metta
Project is a model
of community care. The monks are educated about HIV, and in turn
community. They provide information and care from infection to
to full-blown AIDS and finally death. And because the state of a
is so important at the moment of death, they do all that they can do to
death peaceful. Many hospitals in every Buddhist country in Southeast Asia now work with the Sangha Metta
Project, and it has been
recognized by organizations all over the world. It has trained over
people, and developed many additional programs. As Director of the
Project, Laurence has traveled the world, sharing his knowledge and
experiences. He met with the Global Health Council and Faith in Action.
model of care now crosses religious barriers and has become interfaith
parts of the world.