Cash pours in to aid exploited girls
A campaign to help raise money for young girls being exploited in Asia has exceeded its $100k goal, raising $111,000 so far.
While the Herald/World Vision — Not for Sale campaign wraps up, the fundraising continues with all proceeds going to those affected by child exploitation.
The campaign is focused on Asia, where one in nine girls is married before age 15.
Gareth Owen, World Vision’s head of marketing and engagement, says millions of girls are being forced into child marriage, labour or prostitution and hopefully the campaign goes some way to combating it.
“We’re so aware that millions of girls have been exploited when they should be enjoying their childhood, they shouldn’t be sold into prostitution or forced into child labour or married against their will.”
During the campaign, Newstalk ZB journalist Kerre McIvor and Herald videographer Mike Scott travelled to Asia to capture stories of those affected.
Meanwhile in Auckland, the campaign’s most controversial story unfolded when actors Kylie Thompson, 18, and Alan Fish, 55, pretended to wed at St Paul’s Church. Some passersby turned their heads in horror and muttered in disgust but none approached the “newlyweds” to question the situation.
Thompson was shocked that no one asked what was going on.
Owen said Asia boasted half of the world’s population, which was where there was a lot of vulnerability.
“So if you had to have a bullseye, that’s where the issue is prevalent, really, and where we want to have an impact at World Vision.
“We have been thrilled with the response that we’ve had, especially the media that the Herald and others have been following on this.” Donations were still coming in. “Our goal was at least $100,000 so we’re over that. We expect more will come in. Often there’s a strong tail that comes in from this.”
It was a campaign World Vision would keep pushing on, he said.
“This is something which is really important to us and many New Zealanders.”
Owen said there would be three key areas where the money would be spent; educating communities and children about children’s rights and protection, rehabilitating those who’d had their lives turned around, and reaching out to officials to push law changes.
“Rehabilitation is tough but . . . we want to reintegrate them back into communities or return them to school.”
The girls and their families would also be assisted financially.
“Those girls who might have been trafficked, we want to reintegrate them into families and communities and set them up with work and also give them financial help, and that can be along the lines of helping them with small businesses.
“And the advocacy. Reaching out to officials at all levels to try to change the laws and have them forced to stop this before it even starts.”
He said it was sad children were put into such situations “but unfortunately humans are greedy”.