About the Film

On June 19, 2012, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton presented an award to ten individuals from around the world for their outstanding work in the area of combating human trafficking:

I want personally to thank them because they do remind us that one person’s commitment and passion, one person’s experience and the courage to share that experience with the world, can have a huge impact and I am delighted to welcome all of our TIP heroes here today, thank you.

—Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, June 19, 2012

The occasion also marked a new partnership between the Freedom Center and the U.S. Department of State. The TIP Heroes honored by Secretary Clinton were featured in a 35-minute documentary showing the startling similarities between both the slavery of early American history and the human trafficking of today. It also represented the efforts of abolitionists, like the TIP heroes, in both eras.

Journey to Freedom tells the stories of 21st Century Cambodian Vannak Prum and 19th Century American Solomon Northup, as well as the stories of the advocates and defenders, caretakers and freedom fighters, and every day people who, together, make up the networks that bring people to freedom.

Centuries apart, Prum and Northup were promised jobs to support their families. Instead, each was trafficked into slavery. Slavers forced Prum to work on a Thai fishing boat for four years – and then a Malaysian Palm Oil Plantation for two more. Northup spent twelve years as a slave on a series of Louisiana plantations.

Like Frederick Douglass’ Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, each man made a record of his story, so the world would know the truth about slavery. Northup’s sensational memoir, Twelve Years a Slave, and Prum’s powerful drawings are the inspiration for the film. Built around this backbone, the stories of individuals in both eras demonstrate the many different roles we all can play in bringing an end to slavery in our time.

This film is a Fair Trade Pictures Production.

This production was funded, in part, by a grant from the U.S. Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the Fair Trade Productions and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of State.

The funding that made this production possible was provided, in part, by Google.