The Wrong Light Screening for Non-Profit Staff
Shine Global’s film The Wrong Light , uncovers the fraud occurring at a globally-regarded NGO that supposedly provided shelter and education for girls rescued from brothels in Northern Thailand. Because of what our team uncovered, COSA was shut down and a warrant issued for Mickey Choothesa’s arrest.
The film ultimately explores the exploitation and misrepresentation of young girls in Thailand and our outreach and engagement work focuses on exploring the broader issues of exploitation and lack of transparency at all levels of the global aid system. Safe Child Thailand, a UK-based organization, has been working for the past 30 years to “safeguard at-risk children in Thailand and empower them to reach their fullest potential.” They partner with Thai organizations on the ground to work on a range of projects. They recently hosted a screening of the film for their own staff to help highlight the need for due-diligence in their own work and the impact misrepresentation can have on those they are trying to help. The statement from the organization CEO Adrian Hatch below explains what they took away from the screening.
Organisation: Safe Child Thailand
CEO: Adrian Hatch
Safe Child Thailand was very fortunate to be granted permission by Shine Global to screen The Wrong Light for our small team of UK-based staff. As an organisation engaged in the funding of a wide range of charitable projects to protect vulnerable children in Thailand, the film taught a valuable lesson in the need for stringent due-diligence with regard to the formation of working partnerships with individuals and organisations in the field.
The Wrong Light proved to be an engaging, thought-provoking, beautifully shot and tense yet hopeful film about an organisation that, taken at face value, was conducting heroic work to protect young girls sold by their families from abuse.
It was fascinating to see the true story unravel through the eyes of the unsuspecting film makers who had intended to remain behind the camera, as audiences alike are left as unsure who to trust as the production team.
The organisation at the heart of this controversy, COSA founded by Mickey Choothesa, a self-styled vigilante and “ex-war photographer”, was known to our organisation, though it was not an organisation Safe Child Thailand had any direct dealings with. The fraudulent actions of Choothesa serve as a timely reminder that we must act with caution when engaging with unregulated private care homes for at-risk children and young adults.
For our staff it was valuable to see the effect that the use of false stories had had on those whose names and images had been used to solicit donations online under false pretenses. The film highlighted the duty of care we have to vet the standards of our partners in Thailand in order to protect our beneficiaries – the children that without our support would be left homeless, without an education, destitute and at risk of being trafficked.