The Ghost Fleet will introduce audiences this strange, watery underworld through several characters’ eyes, bringing viewers deep into the lives of escaped slaves, corrupt officials, unlikely heroes and those working to end slavery on the sea.
Our project has begun production in Thailand, Malaysia, Borneo and Cambodia, following several characters, locations and storylines. At its core, this is the story of how a few men--a farmer, a motorcycle mechanic, a construction worker who were lured onto boats, trapped at sea, and against all odds escaped to freedom.
One was on a boat for 7 years without seeing land before he escaped. Another was sold with his son and together they pulled off a hair raising and miraculous escape. One man, Asorasak, escaped into the forests of Borneo before being taken in by a benevolent family of fisherman who sheltered him for three years before he could go home. We filmed his journey home and reconnected him to his family, capturing a truly rare and emotional moment.
We are following the man who runs a hotline for Burmese migrants, operated by Project Issara, twenty four hours a day, from his cell phone and will connect his story to those on the other end of the line. We'll also work with everyday citizens in Thailand or Burma who go undercover to document and expose the trafficking gangs working in their area or embed with the police as they make arrests.
We will search the beaches where men swim to shore, check out the brothels where men are drugged before waking up on board, travel to villages in Myanmar (Burma) and Cambodia virtually empty of men and sail to remote islands where captains store men, sometimes in cages. We’ll also provide an investigative through-line, tracing the roots of this issue up the chain of government command in Thailand and through the extremely murky fish supply chain back to supermarkets in the U.S. and Europe.
Our mission is to tell a captivating tale, full of incredible, real-time events and unforgettable characters that can catalyze change by shifting how we look at the fish on our plates. We believe a character-driven, widely accessible documentary film that lights up the American consciousness about fish could be ‘The Inconvenient Truth’ or ‘Food Inc.’ for the ocean. It would provide oceans advocates with a much-needed human face, add fire to the movement against forced labor and link environmental collapse with collateral economic damage.