A Long Road to Justice: My Journey of Investigating the Trafficking Underworld for Two Decades
Mar 09, 2023
Sylvia Yu Friedman
A Long Road to Justice: My Journey of Investigating the Trafficking Underworld for Two Decades

Sylvia Yu Friedman is an award-winning filmmaker, Penguin Random House SEA author, serial entrepreneur, and philanthropy consultant. She is the author of three books, A Long Road to Justice: Stories from the Frontlines in Asia; Silenced No More: Voices of Comfort Women, the only journalistic account of historical Japanese military sex slavery during WWII, and Heart and Soul: The Life Story of Pastor Augustus Chao. 


Sylvia is the host of a LinkedIn show called ‘Inspiring You with Sylvia Yu’. A former TV anchor and advisor to philanthropists, Sylvia was awarded the Global Top 50 Women In Sustainability Awards 2022 by The SustainabilityX® Magazine. In 2017, she was included in the Top 100 Human Trafficking & Slavery Influence Leaders List by Assent Compliance. In 2013, she won the prestigious International Human Rights Press Award for her three-part documentary series on human trafficking in China, Hong Kong, and Thailand. 


After ten years of intensive research and interviewing elderly survivors, academics, lawyers and activists in different nations, Sylvia is considered an expert on “comfort women” Japanese Imperial military sex slavery. She’s been interviewed or featured on the BBC, CNN, SCMP, Globe and Mail, CGTN among others and covered widely in the Chinese media. Sylvia is a SheSource expert of the Women’s Media Center, founded by Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem and is listed in a database of women experts who serve as a resource for journalists. She serves as a Member of Jury for the Asian Academy Creative Awards in the Documentary category. 


Sylvia led a Hong Kong-based movement against human trafficking that involved more than 120 churches, NGOs, and organizations and later expanded to other nations like Malaysia, South Africa, and the U.S. 


Since 2005, Sylvia has managed and directed millions of dollars to major humanitarian portfolios impacting at least more than one million people. This work has given her access to many influential networks in different countries.


Sylvia is married to Matthew Friedman, a top-ranked keynote speaker and global expert on slavery, CEO of The Mekong Club, and former U.N. and U.S. diplomat. Together in the fall of 2022, they went on a 53-day Speaking Tour on Modern Slavery's Impact on the Private Sector in the U.S. and Canada (also a Book Tour), and in 2016 they gave 113 talks in 27 U.S. cities over 70 days. Matthew is a producer of two award-winning films; he advised the movie Sold (2014) executive produced by Emma Thompson. Currently, Sylvia is writing books and also developing TV and film projects.