What a crazy 24 hours it’s been!
Following on from my recent article on Australian sex tourists in Thailand, I thought I’d do up a short blog post to answer a few questions about myself for my new followers.
The response to the article has been far greater than I ever imagined. 90,000 views in the first few hours was NOT what I was expecting, and yet, I am thrilled.
Now, let me take a moment to explain why I am so proud of this article. There have been a few people online who have (as you would expect) said rather nasty things about the article, and accused me of everything from racism, to ‘making my career off the backs of poor sex workers’ (neither of which are true).
Meanwhile, some have mistaken my excitement at seeing my article published across news.com.au, Daily Telegraph and Courier Mail as being a moment of journalistic narcissism.
Let me say firstly, this article isn’t about me. It’s about Dan’s experience as a rescue agent, and the trauma done to young girls and women by male sex tourists looking to ‘fill a void’ in their lives.
The real reason I was so excited to see this article published, was because I knew it would have the opportunity to reach thousands of people who may desperately need to see this; not only those who are passionate about ending sex slavery, but also the men who purchase women.
Writing this article was never going to be easy. Dan and I knew that there would be strong opinions on both sides – those who believe that sex tourists and pedophiles deserve no empathy, and those who believe that sex workers are all ‘happy and consenting adults’.
For me personally, it is difficult to feel empathy for the men who abuse so many in the sex industry. But I also strongly believe that we need to have discussions about what drives these men to buy sex (either with girls or women). After all, sex trafficking and the buying of women for sex will never end so long as there is still a demand (generally, from men).
I’ve written many articles in the past about human trafficking, how it happens, and the devastating impact it has on the lives of its victims. But I’ve never before focused on the reason for their supply: the men who demand their bodies. That was one reason for this article.
It’s been interesting reading through the comments (and honestly, there have been so many of support for Dan’s work – which is great to see), because there are some who mistakenly assume that this is a new topic that I’ve chosen in order to try and get my 5 minutes of fame, or something to that effect.
The truth is, I have been an anti-trafficking advocate since 2011, when I first came across and organisation named Destiny Rescue, and made the decision to sponsor a rescued girl. Since that time I have volunteered my time with organisations such as A21 (as a photographer at a fundraiser event), have sponsored several girls, spent several weeks overseas in 2013 meeting rescue survivors (including a girl I had sponsored for several years) and helping to renovate buildings/doing farming work to assist rescue victims and safe houses, have run fundraisers and awareness events, and have personally helped find sponsors for many rescue girls through my own initiative.
Several years ago I also had a western trafficking victim from the other side of the world reach out to me online, simply to thank me for the work I’ve done. Over the years we became close, and although we’ve never met, I’m proud to know that I’ve been a support system to her during many difficult times.
This isn’t something that is a ‘fad’ or a ‘trend’ to me. It’s been my life for many years. But again, seeing this article go viral wasn’t so I could feel awesome about myself. It was about sharing a bigger message; to hopefully get people (specifically male sex tourists) to think about the damage done to prostituted and trafficked women.
These days I am a strong advocate for victims of domestic violence, rape and other forms of abuse, but am also still a firm advocate for ending human trafficking.
If you’re new to my blog, welcome! I’m really honoured to have your support, and hope you enjoy my future articles. In the meantime, feel free to have a read through my former blogs 🙂 You can read all my anti-trafficking articles here.