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Kiwis up fight against sex trafficking

Kiwis up fight against sex trafficking

New Zealand charity TEAR Fund is expanding its anti-sex-trafficking operations in Southeast Asia by joining forces with Hagar, an aftercare agency that provides recovery and protection services for rescued victims.

TEAR Fund already partners with two anti-trafficking organisations which specialise in prevention and rescue. Share and Care works in vulnerable communities in Nepal, establishing women’s groups, small businesses and educational initiatives which minimize the risk of trafficking. Nvader is a team of Kiwi detectives who go undercover in South East Asia to raid brothels, free victims and gather evidence to prosecute those responsible.

By partnering with Hagar to include rehabilitation and aftercare for survivors, TEAR Fund’s anti-trafficking work is now comprehensive, addressing the whole spectrum from demand to rehabilitation.

“Survivors suffer severe emotional trauma after their experience, so the story is by no means over once they’ve been rescued,” says Steve Penfold, Country Director of Hagar Cambodia.

“Recovery is a long process and it takes time to trust staff and learn literacy and occupational skills that are vital for successful reintegration back into society. Hagar walks the whole journey of recovery with victims, providing shelter, counselling, legal support, education, work placements and finally reintegrating survivors back into their communities,” he says.

TEAR Fund’s Chief Executive, Ian McInnes, says a holistic approach is essential when dealing with an issue like sex trafficking.

“Addressing each link of the anti-trafficking puzzle on its own is not enough to solve the issue. By partnering with Hagar, we will deliver an end-to-end response.”

Every year thousands of individuals are bought, sold and exploited in Karaoke bars, strip clubs and brothels. Sex trafficking accounts for an estimated $US99 billion in profit each year, and an estimated 4.5 million women and children are caught in sexual exploitation. The average age of a victim is only 12-years-old and is getting younger, and it’s estimated only 1-2% of victims are rescued.

To find out more about TEAR Fund’s anti-trafficking work visit projectact.com


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