Lost in Thai Translation

May 4, 2018

Lost in Thai Translation

LIFT International's aftercare co-ordinator comforts a recently rescued survivor. Photo: Supplied

A New Zealand anti-trafficking organization was forced to rebrand following a move to Thailand, where their name had an unfortunate translation.

LIFT International, formerly Nvader, is a Christian based non-governmental organization focused on ending human trafficking in North East Asia.

Founded in Christchurch in 2009 by a former police detective who went by the pseudonym Daniel Walker, it’s first rescue operation was completed in 2012.

After successful funding and growth, the head office was relocated to Bangkok, Thailand in 2016 by newly appointed director Ralph Simpson.

LIFT operations involve a team of undercover investigators collecting information and gaining trust from owners and victims of brothels.

With the assistance of government and police force, LIFT then carries out a rescue job, collecting evidence and rescuing enslaved sex workers.

The victims are then taken to an aftercare facility while LIFT’s legal team assists in seeking prosecution and compensation.

Media and Communications director Constance Dykhuizen said initially the name Nvader was chosen to invoke the idea of “invading dark places and bringing light” and was well-respected in Australasia.

However, shortly after the move, the Nvader team experienced a negative response to the name by individuals and organisations within Thailand. The word ‘invade’ in Thai translates most directly to ‘penetrate’ or ‘aggression’, an unfortunate connotation for an anti-sex trafficking organization.

As a result, LIFT’s head of undercover investigations admitted he would withhold revealing the name of his organization as long as possible.

Ms Dykhuizen said it became clear they needed a name that better reflected their work of “lifting survivors, lifting standards and lifting justice.”

Nvader rebranded to LIFT International on April 23.

LIFT International’s chief executive, Justin Boswell, said he was excited to finally launch the name that took two years to finalise.

The rebrand has been met with success so far according to the Media and Communications director. “Everyone from Thai police officers to Tearfund ambassadors Petra Baghurst and Ido Drent has shared photos to celebrate with us.”

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