Sunshine Coast charity helps rescue 22 girls from brothel
A SUNSHINE Coast-based charity has helped free 22 girls - many underage - from a Thai brothel.
Last week Destiny Rescue assisted in a raid in which the brothel manager was arrested.
Thai police carried out the operation in Bangkok after a covert intelligence operation by Destiny Rescue identified the establishment as employing child sex slaves.
The Christian not-for-profit agency is based at Warana, has fundraising arms in Australia, New Zealand and the United States, and runs operations in six Asian countries including Thailand, Cambodia and India.
It has eight undercover teams in Asia and since in 2001 has helped rescue and rehabilitate 1500 former sex workers, both male and female.
The group has doubled its operations year on year - in 2012 it rescued 200 people and in the first six months of this year has reached the same figure. It aims to have rescued 100,000 people by 2020.
As well as conducting intelligence operations and assisting local police forces, the group helps to reform former sex workers, offering them education and employment.
Destiny Rescue country manager David Jones acknowledged the organisation had a big fight on its hands, however he said it was making a difference.
"The youngest person who we have in our care is a five-year-old," he said. "We'll take them in until they're fully trained. So from five until they're 20 they'll be with us."
A child is trafficked once every 26 seconds and the child-trafficking trade is the now largest and fastest growing illegal trade in the world.
The organisation is largely reliant on donations and Mr Jones said it needed assistance to continue its work.
"Because we're doubling the number of children we rescue year by year, it's imperative that we get more sponsorships," Mr Jones said.
"What we're doing is working in a lot of impoverished areas and helping people to become economically self-sufficient, teaching them to speak English, so that they're not caught up in an illicit trade."