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  • Published: 14 December 2021
  • ISBN: 9789814954433
  • Imprint: PRH SEA
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $24.99

Where were you?

A Profile of Modern Slavery

My boots-on-the-ground work to fight human trafficking throughout Asia

There are more slaves in the world today than any other time in history.
Enter the world of human trafficking and explore what we can do together to end this global crime. Where Were You?: A Profile of Modern Slavery by Matthew Friedman provides an up-to-date overview of human trafficking, a largely ignored present-day evil, and recounts true stories of enslavement in Asia today. Former United Nations and USAID expert Matthew Friedman obtained in-depth first-hand knowledge with boots-on-the-ground work over 30 years throughout Asia. Human trafficking exists in nearly every nation on earth and Friedman has personally interviewed hundreds of freed slaves and imprisoned traffickers throughout South and Southeast Asia.
The modern slave trade operates in brothels, fisheries, clothing and chocolate industries, as well as a myriad of other manufacturing jobs and is a billion dollar business that continues to grow unchecked.
Even with the collective response of governments, the UN and civil society partners, less than 0.12 percent of the victims are assisted.
"We're not winning the fight against human slavery. Relying solely on the anti-slavery community around the world to tackle the scourge of modern slavery and the criminals behind it simply is not working. Unless something drastic changes, this trend will continue unabated," writes Friedman.
This book not only reveals the plight of human trafficking victims, Friedman also offers valuable advice and guidance related to his own personal experiences working in the counter-trafficking and development world. He offers valuable lessons for those thinking about entering this field.

  • Published: 14 December 2021
  • ISBN: 9789814954433
  • Imprint: PRH SEA
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $24.99

About the author

Matthew S. Friedman

Matthew Friedman is a leading, internationally renowned global expert on modern slavery and human trafficking. An award-winning public speaker, author, filmmaker, and philanthropist, Friedman regularly advises heads of governments and intelligence agencies.
As the founder and CEO of The Mekong Club, Friedman is considered the leading catalyst of the anti-slavery movement in Asia's business sector by captains of industry. The Mekong Club is one of the first international not-for-profit organisations of its kind based in Asia to use a 'business-to-business' approach to fight slavery. Bridging the gap between the public and private sectors, the Mekong Club helps companies of all sizes to understand the complexities of human trafficking and to reduce their vulnerability within their supply chains/business environment. Together with business partners, the Mekong Club is spearheading innovative and strategic projects to achieve a slave-free world.
In 2017, Friedman received the prestigious 'Asia Communicator of the Year Gold Award' for giving more than 800 presentations to 80,000 people, including government leaders and the Vatican, on the topic of modern slavery within a five-year period in different countries. Friedman has a unique and powerful speaking style that inspires people and helps them reach their fullest potential.
Each year he is cited at least 40 times in the news media (CNN, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, the Financial Times, The Economist, etc.) and invited to speak at major international conferences around the world.
During his time as a UN and US diplomat, he managed and directed tens of millions of dollars to major humanitarian portfolios impacting millions of people for the World Bank, the U.S. State Department, and the United Nations. His work over the last 30 years of pioneering and managing international anti-human-trafficking projects from Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand and Hong Kong has given him access to many influential networks in different countries throughout the world.
Friedman is the author of 12 books including non-fiction accounts of his human rights work, to a book that outlines his unique philosophy of 'time'. A long-time supporter of film and the media arts, Friedman was an executive producer and advisor on four award-winning films, one of which was nominated for an Emmy and another executive produced by Emma Thompson.
Friedman has launched a new global campaign called Be the Hero and has published a book to go with it entitled Be the Hero: Be the Change (published on Amazon in March 2020). He believes that the collective actions of ordinary people have the greatest chance of effecting a real transformation. He considers everyone who volunteers, no matter how big or small the gesture, to be heroic.
Friedman is represented by international speaker agencies and provides a range of inspirational keynote speeches to teach, mentor and motivate people from all walks of life to step up and take a stand in life. He has an uncanny ability to take something as complicated and confusing as slavery and break it down into a series of simple messages that walk an audience down a path to understanding. He has shifted the mindsets of many, even the most resistant detractors. His is always a message of hope.
Friedman is married to Sylvia Yu Friedman, who is an award-winning journalist, filmmaker, international speaker, and author of Silenced No More: Voices of Comfort Women. She also fights the scourge of modern slavery, and together in the summer of 2016, they gave 113 presentations in 27 U.S. cities. Friedman has done speaking tours in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Singapore.

Praise for Where were you?

Matt’s grasp of the issue(s) of human trafficking is 30 years deep, and reflects a long journey of action and reflection which he graciously allows us to learn from. There is something here for all of us, and indeed it will TAKE all of us to end human trafficking. That’s the moral of Matt’s superb book.’

- Jennifer Roemhildt Tunehag Co-founder, European Freedom Network Core team, Freedom Business Alliance Member, World Evangelical Alliance Global Human Trafficking Task Force

‘Must read for all. I highly commend this book for everyone to read whether you are an inquirer or a veteran abolitionist. If you are a government employee, business person or NGO worker, this is a must read. There is a growing list of literature to read on the topic of slavery and human trafficking, this one should be one of the first to read. In this new and very readable profile of modern slavery Matt Friedman gives a well-balanced take on the issue, his experience, and what each of us can do practically to join the “second generation abolition movement”.’

- Peter J Mihaere, CEO, Stand Against Slavery

‘Where Were You?: A Profile of Modern Slavery by Matthew S. Friedman, is a short text that has appeal for both the beginner and the veteran abolitionist. The theme of the book is really that of Friedman’s personal experience as a counter trafficking agent over the past few decades… Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book. I felt the author’s transparency was very inspiring.’

Rachael Williams-Mejri, Editor, Grace As Justice Magazine

‘Accounts Mr. Friedman relates are disturbing, troubling, and overwhelming, but must be told. In often what seems too-vivid detail, he describes lives of some of the most forgotten and used unfortunates, who are mostly women. Where Were You, a readable, concise account of human suffering, must be read by all the fortunate enjoying a safe, comfortable life, to be enlightened that not all humans are so lucky. We Americans too-easily dismiss human trafficking as something that happens “over there.” Detailing the extent of the problem in the US, he honestly labels it what it is—slavery. Read it. You will be moved, angry, overwhelmed.’

Frank Hilo

‘Although often difficult to read due to its subject matter, members of the counter-trafficking community will find a wealth of valuable insights in this book about not only the world of slavery, but in how to fight it.’

B M Vance

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