Child sex trafficking and exploitation are in every crevice across the world – in brothels, family homes and in dark corners of the internet.
Destiny Rescue’s vision is to play a leading role in stamping out this global crisis in our lifetime. But how can this Goliath-sized issue be knocked down?
Today is International Day for the Abolition of Slavery. It marks the day in 1949 when the United Nations General Assembly declared to fight modern slavery worldwide.
Modern slavery includes human trafficking, sexual exploitation, adult and child labour, and forced marriage among others. Basically, it refers to a situation where a person is being exploited and cannot easily leave.
This is not a rare situation either.
The scope of the giant
In 2016, a little more than 40 million people across the world were caught in the grip of modern slavery, according to a report in 2017 by the global human rights agency International Labour Organisation.
Fifteen million people were in forced marriage while nearly 25 million people were in forced labour worldwide. While the latter banner includes people enslaved in factories, farms and in fishing sectors, it also includes 4.8 million people who were in forced sexual exploitation.
WOMEN & GIRLS
Of those sexually exploited, 99.4% were women and girls. In a commercial setting, they can be sold for sex in a brothel, on a street or online. Heartbreakingly, child marriage, rape and incest are common forms of sexual exploitation too.
Their perpetrators can look like a stranger, friend, family member, brothel-owner, or “mamasan” – a female trafficker in Southeast Asia who has often retired from the sex industry.
This type of exploitation can ruin a person’s mental health. Beyond the physical dangers of their exploitation, victims also battle suicidal thoughts, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and a high chance of using drugs.
“[If we didn’t rescue,] underaged girls will live with disappointment and depression,” a Destiny Rescue rescue agent in Cambodia says.
Road to abolition
The scope of this crises is dauntingly large and painful for its victims, and, unfortunately, there is no quick fix.
According to the report in 2017 by International Labour Organisation, modern slavery needs to be tackled by changing laws, boosting government assistance to help people who are affected by, say, jobs losses or natural disasters, and changing gender discrimination against women and girls in societies scattered across the world.
While these three approaches are targeting modern slavery as a whole, Destiny Rescue is playing a role in ending one side of this issue – child sex trafficking and exploitation.
Raid rescues help battle this issue on multiple fronts. Our efforts in coordination with law enforcement help to strengthen the government teams working to abolish slavery in their own country.
In the Philippines, our team members have been invited to speak in senate hearings as the country strengthens laws that protect survivors and bring charges against traffickers. When raids result in arrests and the closing down of establishments, it sends a message that this kind of criminal activity is not tolerated and comes at a price.
Our teams rescue girls who are caught in the middle of exploitation in seven countries, but we also tackle the root causes of the issue. Both our prevention efforts and post-rescue care focus on combating the risk factors that lead to exploitation and empowering individuals, families and communities.
We have residential homes that care for survivors in certain countries after they are rescued. In our home in Cambodia, they work with a caseworker and get free education, counseling, life-skills training, vocational training, and help finding a job. These are practical benefits to empower survivors to find safe employment. We also have a program called community care where survivors can access the same benefits while living at home.
There are tens of thousands of women and girls stuck in sexual exploitation in Southeast Asia, and Destiny Rescue’s rescue agents are working hard to free them. This year, we have rescued more than 500 people and last year, we rescued 1426 people.
If you would like to help our vision become reality, please consider donating.