You and I are lucky to live in a world where many committed people are campaigning for the human rights and dignity of exploited children. But make no mistake – thousands of young children are being entrapped, kidnapped, or sold for sex and subjected to unspeakable exploitation and abuse. Even as I write these words, one young child, perhaps no older than six or seven, is being prepared to be raped. UNICEF tell us that thirty precious girls just like her will die today and every day in this evil trade.
Their average life span is seven years in this vile business. Child sex-slavery is thriving in the poorest countries, like Cambodia, and thousands of children need rescuing from the terror, drugs, and brutality that steals not only their childhood but their lives. Unless rescued, their life expectancy is short, most don’t live beyond twenty, and if they do they live lives replaying the horrors they endured, many finding respite in drugs or suicide.
The poverty and corruption that causes this problem, and the distress that is its result, is the greatest challenge to our compassion. These innocent children could be your children, in a way they are, and we are all responsible
Child sex traffickers prey on the weaknesses and difficult circumstances of their victims in the poorest countries in the world. Their intentions are sometimes masked behind a warm and friendly smile, offering a welcome job to someone’s child whose family is in desperate need for the basic necessities of life. Then, they are sold into the violent and heinous world of the sex traffickers.
Human trafficking is an intricate web of deceit, greed, and depravity. It’s a vast industry of corruption that is bigger than the illegal drugs and arms industries combined. Whatever methods traffickers use for any given situation, the innocent lives they target are lured into a life of unimaginable horror. Sometimes, tragically, it is also the family desperately trying to find money for essential living costs which cause them to knowingly or unknowingly sell their young daughters to sex tourists, businessmen, and officials. Once done, these children find themselves in brothels and the back rooms of bars, prey for further predators. Sometimes, as broken young women they are smuggled into the underground sex industry overseas, even into Australia.
The Sunlight Foundation’s vision is to give these children their childhood back by working to end the monstrous crime of child sex trafficking. The Sunlight Foundation will play an important part in saving these children from harm, but rescue alone is not enough – we want to give these children the chance to change their own world for good and go further than they deemed possible, despite their circumstances.
I am passionate about fighting the atrocity of trafficking children for sex, and preventing as many children as possible from ever suffering the unimaginable exploitation and abuse that follows. I hope you will follow my journey as I try to raise awareness and support against this vile business.
Robert Barclay is an Australian author of some of the best Australian crime/mystery novels. His Australian romance novels and stories follow the lives of Katy Yehonala and her daughter, Clara, his quirky, rather flawed protagonists as they confront the evils of society.