The definition of Human Trafficking is: ‘the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of people through force, fraud or deception, with the aim of exploiting them for profit.’
‘Men, women and children of all ages and from all backgrounds can become victims of this crime, which occurs in every region of the world. The traffickers often use violence or fraudulent employment agencies and fake promises of education and job opportunities to trick and coerce their victims‘.
It is truly the most horrendous crime and not enough is being done to stop it.
But one organisation is going above and beyond to help those affected by Human Trafficking.
They are called Destiny Rescue and their main aim is to ‘rescue children out of human trafficking and sexual exploitation and help them stay free.
They do this through their various rescue operations which ‘look different in every country they operate in’.
In the words of Destiny’s Founder Tony Kirwan, “We only have 2 choices to do something or to do nothing“.
Our founder sat down with Nerilee Sowter, Partnerships Manager at Destiny Rescue to chat more about the organisation.
Thanks for giving your time Nerilee! There are so many charities around the world, what makes Destiny Rescue unique?
Thanks for having me. Simply, we are relentless about Rescue. We will go to any length to get these kids out of sexual exploitation and abusive situations. We have had our biggest number of rescues during Covid despite all the obstacles that could have stood in our way.
Who is Nerilee Sowter? Tell us about yourself and your journey with Destiny Rescue?
I have worked with Destiny Rescue now for 8 years. I used to work with another organization where I travelled around the world with teams doing projects in developing nations. In 2011 I went to Cambodia on a holiday with friends and saw the devastation that this country was still experiencing 30 years after the Khmer Rouge had basically annihilated a quarter of their population either through starvation, disease or execution. When I was there 80% of the population were under the age of 40.
Human trafficking was on the rise, families were forced to send their children out on the streets to look for work. Because of their lack of education and skills they find themselves tricked and co-orced into working in establishments like bars and massage parlours and this is where the abuse starts to happen.
My heart broke for these children and for this nation. I knew that this wasn’t going to be my last trip back to Cambodia and it wasn’t. I accepted a job with Destiny Rescue a few years later where I was taking groups of people over to Cambodia and Thailand showing them the work that we were doing in rescuing kids out of these establishments and helping them to stay free through our Pathways to Freedom course. This course provides the children with counselling, medical checkups and care, life skills, education/vocational training and safe job placement.
I am currently working as a Partnership Manager in QLD bringing awareness and raising funds through individuals, church groups, community groups, schools and businesses.
What is your main goal and how does Destiny Rescue achieve this goal?
Our goal is to rescue children out of human trafficking and sexual exploitation and help them stay free. We do this through our various rescue operations which look different in every country we operate in.
- Covert Rescue – Rescue agents go undercover into sex establishments (e.g., brothels, bars, massage parlours, beer gardens, GoGo bars, KTV’s or street prostitution, etc.) in search of sexually exploited minors. Once identified, the agents work to build trust to offer the child a means of escape via a Destiny Rescue social worker.
- 2. Raid Rescue – Rescue agents identify underage victims and gather the intelligence and evidence needed to build a case. We coordinate rescue operations with local and federal law enforcement to arrest traffickers (and others directly involved in the offence) and rescue victims.
- 3. Border Rescue – Rescue agents are located at border crossing stations and actively identify potential trafficking victims. They detain and question possible traffickers and victims and then rescue those at risk.
- Survival Rescue – Rescue agents receive intelligence about possible abuse cases or trafficking situations. Then, they intervene to prevent exploitation or help the individual. Examples include child marriage; the infants of trafficked victims and children being sexually exploited for basic needs such as food.
Which countries are humans most at risk for trafficking?
The most vulnerable to trafficking is those who are living in poverty and don’t have access to education. We are currently working in 9 countries that are classed as high risk and are vulnerable to being exploited. 6 countries in SE Asia, 1 Africa, 2 Latin America.
What exactly is Human Trafficking?
The unlawful act of transporting or coercing people in order to benefit from their work or service, typically in the form of forced labour or sexual exploitation.
What can ordinary citizens do to help prevent human trafficking?
Our biggest need is awareness, to educate people on the issue and to encourage Australians not to visit these places on their holidays. If we can stop the demand, then there won’t be the need for woman and children to be exploited in this way. Our other biggest need is funding. Without the generosity of our supporters, we could not do the work we do. Australia is responsible for providing the funding so our work can continue.
Read more about Destiny Rescue here: https://www.destinyrescue.org.au
Follow live updates at Destiny Rescue’s: Twitter Page
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