Take the 26 second challenge to end child trafficking

Human trafficking is one of the biggest issues being faced by children in our world today, with girls as young as 13 being sold into the sex industry.

Destiny Rescue is a not-for-profit organization that goes undercover into brothels and red light districts to rescue children of sexual slavery, providing emotional healing as well as medical and educational assistance.

With 40 safe houses set up across Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, India and Laos, Destiny Rescue cares for thousands of girls, restoring hope and healing to those who need it most.Attending Toowoomba’s annual Easterfest Festival offers the organisation the opportunity to reach thousands of people, raising much needed awareness for the victims of human trafficking.

Destiny Rescue advocates Leah Grace and Dan Pennington spoke with festival attendees about the issues children of trafficking face, and how far the organisation has come in 12 months. They also shared about the hesitations people face when thinking about sponsorship.

Dan explained that despite a common belief that slavery was abolished in the 1800s it is in fact worse than at “any other time in history.”

“Globally it is one of the largest justice issues we can care about.”

Dan explained that in countries such as Thailand, girls as young as 13 are sold into the sex trade.

“The girls are considered the breadwinners”.

He shared that the mentality of Thailand families is once you turn 13, you are old enough to work, and that as long as the girls are sold locally everything is okay.

“It doesn’t compute in our minds…but [for the family] it’s like ‘It’s okay as long as they are not sold to another town’.”

Dan also said that the reason sexual slavery continues to affect so many children is primarily due to the fact that in so many countries the issue continues to be ‘swept under the rug.’

“We tell people all the time, do you know a child is trafficked every 26 seconds?”

“They can’t believe it”.

Despite the lack of awareness surrounding this issue, Dan has been encouraged by how much progress is being made, not only by Destiny Rescue but also in local overseas communities.

“There’s a proposal in right now to connect girls in Thailand via a 1800 or 1300 number, which will allow them to call for help from anywhere… that will be an amazing breakthrough”.

Similarly, Leah also shared her excitement over how far the girls in their rescue homes have come.

“Your 45 dollars a month is going so far, it’s changing someone’s life”.

“The transformation is so amazing,” she said.

Speaking about sponsorship, Leah was excited to share that all donations made to Destiny Rescue go directly to the children of sexual slavery.

“100% goes directly to your child,” she said.

In 2012 the aim is to continue rescuing as many girls as possible, and to continue putting in place more prevention strategies for those most at risk.

Destiny Rescue offers many ways to contribute to the rescue of girls, whether it be to through sponsorship, hosting a party with jewellery made by rescued girls, or by wearing a ’26 second’ necklace.

“Any way you can help we appreciate it. Even if you’re just being a voice and raising awareness,” said Leah.

For more information please visit www.destinyrescue.org

 

Jasmine Swilks

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