IT was in Bangkok that Tony Kirwan first heard about a Western man being offered to buy children for sex for US$400.
“It really hit me and I knew I had to do something,” Tony said.
When he visits Milton this month Mr Kirwan will share his story of how he and wife Jenni sold everything they owned to begin Destiny Rescue.
After running their own electrical contracting company for 10 years in northern Queensland, the Kirwans began Destiny Rescue in 2001.
“Our vision is to end child slavery in our lifetime,” Mr Kirwan said.
“If we want to change that, we need more people to come on board and dare to reach into the darkness to pull a child into the light.”
With about 1.2 million children a year, or one every 26 seconds, being lured or sold into the sex trade, Mr Kirwan said people needed to be more than “emotionally moved” when hearing about the problems overseas.
“They need to be moved to action, either by parting with dollars, being a voice for the kids and spreading the word or by giving us a hand,” he said.
Mr Kirwan is visiting Australia to share his experiences rescuing children from brothels and situations of abuse in Thailand, where he now lives with his wife and three daughters.
Destiny Rescue’s mission is to empower the poor, protect the vulnerable, rescue the sexually exploited, restore the abused and be a voice for those it aims to help.
It has operations in Cambodia, India, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Mozambique.
One of its more important jobs is using undercover teams to locate, find and rescue children who have been sold into sexual slavery, and then assisting in prosecuting the people who abused them.
“We’re getting better at what we do. We’ve got some good strategies on finding and getting these kids out,” Tony said.
Destiny Rescue has rescued hundreds of children and has helped more than 2000 children through its programs.
It commits 100 per cent of child sponsorship money to overseas projects.
The goal in coming years is to establish projects in all developing nations as funding continues to increase.
The organisation has gone ahead in leaps and bounds, employing an extra 100 staff around the world.
Mr Kirwan said he wanted to be talking about the tens of thousands of children they have saved, not just the hundreds.
“We’ve got to do some big things to make a dent in this,” he said.
Locals are invited to hear Mr Kirwan’s inspiring accounts of rescuing and rehabilitating child slaves on Tuesday, February 18, 7pm, at Shoalhaven Anglican School Hall.
Supper and live music will be provided.
For more information call Amber McFarlane on 4457 3697 or visit www.destinyrescue.org.