Sylvia Yu is an Asia-based award-winning journalist and writer specializing in human trafficking. She’s the author of ‘Silenced No More: Voices of ‘Comfort Women’ (2015) and ‘Heart and Soul: The Life Story of Pastor Augustus Chao’ (2002). Sylvia is a film and TV producer and is working with her husband Matt Friedman on a feature film. As a philanthropy advisor, she has managed and directed funds to non-profit organizations in Asia to fight human trafficking, HIV/AIDS and to support migrants and North Korea aid since 2005.
Currently, Sylvia is writing stories on human trafficking around the world (including a book) and working on feature film projects.
Sylvia has managed and directed millions of dollars to humanitarian projects since 2005 that have impacted at the very least more than one million people. For more than 8 years, Sylvia pioneered and managed the funding of humanitarian programs in China, North Korea, S.E. Asia and parts of Africa and Eastern Europe. This work has given her a keen insight into anti-trafficking work, poverty alleviation among migrants and orphans, HIV/AIDS awareness & care for the affected, and North Korea aid and access to many networks in different countries.
While managing a China fund & program for a philanthropy advisory group, Sylvia also worked as a journalist and filmmaker. Besides producing media to raise awareness of international development issues and affairs, one of her strengths is in bringing together various stakeholders– such as NGOs, government, academics, the private sector, and philanthropists– to work towards strategic, social transformation in cities and countries.
She is a connector and has a vast Asia and global network: Sylvia has 8+ years of working and networking in Beijing and throughout China and the Asia Pacific region. She’s been based in China and Hong Kong since 2004.
Sylvia’s work in pioneering and managing the funding of humanitarian programs in China, North Korea, S.E. Asia and parts of Africa and Eastern Europe has given her a keen insight into anti-trafficking work, poverty alleviation among migrants and orphans, HIV/AIDS awareness & care for the affected, and North Korea aid.
Sylvia is a supporter of The Mekong Club, a leading catalyst for change, inspiring and guiding the private sector to lead in the fight against modern slavery. Led by her husband Matt Friedman, a prominent international human trafficking expert. See Matt’s TED talk here. (You can book Matt as a speaker for your conference).
This is what I wrote on my blog back in 2010: Besides writing and producing media to raise awareness, one of my passions is to bring through my consulting work various stakeholders together — such as NGOs, government, academics, volunteers, business and philanthropists — to work towards a strategic plan or social change level goals for transformation of a region or country.
I’ve fallen madly in love with southwest China which borders Myanmar. Some of my previous consulting projects that impact SW China and other parts of the country include:
*health and care project for elderly sex slave survivors (known as ‘comfort women’) in China
*freeing sex slaves (trafficked women, prostitutes) – jewelry making business is expanding to other regions
*helping drug addicts with HIV – hope to see one great model in Kunming replicated in other parts of the country
*empowering orphans and blind people so they can live with hope and dignity (I’ve helped direct funds to these projects)
You see things and ask “Why?” But I dream things that never were, and I say, “Why not?”
-George Bernard Shaw
In my spare time while living in Beijing, I helped support an organization that mobilized young people from the West to impact humanitarian work and the business sector in China. In the near future, this mobilization will begin to expand to other nations in the developing world.
I support Daybreak Asia (www.daybreakasia.org) and ISEC, and feel privileged to have been a tiny part of supporting young people to expand their horizons and to make an impact in China. For more than 10 years, ISEC has been mobilizing young adults from the top universities in North America & UK including the Ivy Leagues and Oxbridge (Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Cambridge etc) to China to make a difference among children and the poor.
Some of my earthly heroes and role models: Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Gandhi and my parents, especially my beautiful mother who models love and authentic faith every day. She has for more than 30 years given home-made meals, financial support and a listening ear to the sick, the poor and those in distress. My mom and dad have helped many low-income families in their community.
Site Visit Story (my trip on behalf of a philanthropist):
(Ma passed away shortly after)