Crusader to speak on fight to save children from sex trade slavery

A former Queensland man who set up an international organisation that saved more than 800 children from sex slavery will share his story with residents in Blacktown on Saturday.

Tony Kirwan, 45, who set up Destiny Rescue in 2001, now lives with his wife, Jenni and three daughters in Thailand.

He is visiting Australia to talk about his experiences on rescuing children from brothels and situations of abuse in Thailand.

He’ll speak at the Novotel Hotel, Rooty Hill at 7pm.

In a phone interview, Mr Kirwan said he was in Bangkok when he first heard about a western man being offered children for sexual pleasure for US$400 each.

“It really hit me and I had to do something,” he said.

He and his wife sold their 10-year-old electrical contracting company in northern Queensland to start Destiny Rescue.

“We want to end child slavery in our lifetime and can only do this if we can get more people to come on board and reach into the darkness to pull a child into the light,’’ he said.

He said according to latest reports about 1.2 million children a year, or one every 26 seconds, is being lured, or sold into, the sex trade across the world.

‘‘People must be more than emotionally moved on hearing about the problems overseas,’’ he said.

“They should 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.’’

Destiny Rescue has operations in Cambodia, India, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, India, Mozambique and is opening a centre in the Philippines next month.

‘‘We often use undercover teams to find and rescue children who have been sold into sexual slavery and assist in prosecuting the people who abused them,’’ Mr Kirwan said.

“We have developed some good strategies on finding and getting these kids out.” 

Destiny Rescue has also helped about 3000 children through its welfare programs.

It plans to establish projects in all developing nations as funding increases and is now employing more than 100 staff around the world.

The organisation raised about $5 million from ‘‘mums and dads’’ across the world last year.

For more information visit destinyrescue.org or phone 1300738761. 

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