On June 25th in Chiang Mai, Thailand, the MTV EXIT (End Exploitation and Trafficking) campaign held a major concert performed by Asian megastars ‘Super Junior M.’, Australian vocal sensation, Kate Miller-Heidke, and top Thai artists, ETC., Slot Machine, Thaitanium and Southside Phuket. The free outdoor concert, “MTV EXIT Live in Chiang Mai” was conducted at Chiang Mai’s 700th Anniversary Stadium to raise awareness and increase prevention of human trafficking.
ASEAN Secretary-General, Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, joined the event to lend ASEAN’s voice to the fight against trafficking. Dr. Pitsuwan was a big hit with a strong crowd of 20,000 people, leading a resounding call and response chant in between musical acts of “Human trafficking—NO, NO, NO! Human security—YES, YES, YES!”
The crowd was also greeted by U.S. Ambassador to Thailand, Kristie E. Kenney, and the Australian Ambassador to Thailand, James Wise, who were introduced by Secretary-General, Dr. Pitsuwan as representing key supporters of the MTV EXIT program. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), together with a range of private sector entities are strongly supporting MTV EXIT’s campaign in Southeast Asia. Ambassador Kenney and Dr. Pitsuwan continued to stay in touch with youth, who were following the event on Twitter (Twitter handle @aseanSG), throughout the entire evening.
In the days leading up to the concert, 40 youth leaders, aged 14 to 23 from across Thailand convened in Chiang Mai at the inaugural “MTV EXIT National Creative Youth Forum” to receive media and public-speaking training conducted by media professionals from the film and advertising industries. The youth were selected for their involvement in community organizations around Thailand. MTV EXIT hopes to foster the next generation of activists by empowering these youth leaders with creative skills plus knowledge to educate other members of their respective communities on human trafficking and exploitation issues.
Similar youth events and more concerts are planned through the end of 2012 in five other ASEAN countries. Dr. Pitsuwan said he hopes to attend more of MTV EXIT events to support the campaign. He tweeted, “ASEAN wants to reach out to all 600 million people in all 10 Member States. With a Message! With a Cause!”
Since 2008, MTV EXIT has now produced 26 concerts in 9 countries across Asia, featuring international stars and some of Asia’s best talent, reaching out to over 550,000 concert-goers and tens of millions more have viewed MTV EXIT’s made-for-television programming. For more information on MTV EXIT campaign to raise awareness and increase the prevention of human trafficking in Asia and the Pacific, visit www.mtvexit.org.
“Music is really an incredible force for change and this concert illustrated that,” said Matt Love, MTV EXITs campaign director. “Tonight, over 20,000 people attended this concert in solidarity to make a statement that we all have to join together to end modern day slavery.”
To see the Bangkok Post’s coverage to this event, please click here.