Destiny Rescue reaches 14,500 rescues in the global fight against human trafficking

Destiny Rescue Event at Caloundra City Autos

Sunshine Coast-based Destiny Rescue, a leading international organisation dedicated to combating human trafficking, recently celebrated a historic achievement as they marked their 14,500th rescue since the organisation’s inception in 2001.

Destiny Rescue, alongside its decade-long supporter Caloundra City Autos, commemorated this milestone with an event attended by almost 100 of its key supporters, staff and local identities.

Destiny Rescue Australia CEO Paul Mergard expressed his gratitude to Dan Hunt, Dealer Principal of Caloundra City Autos, for hosting the event and reflected on the significance of reaching 14,500 rescues.

Destiny Rescue team with Dan Hunt, Dealer Principal of Caloundra City Autos

“Caloundra City Autos has helped our organisation rescue 50 children since they started supporting us over 10 years ago. We’re incredibly grateful to the whole team for their ongoing support and for sharing this celebration with us.

“This milestone is not just a number, it represents the countless stories of survival, hope, and resilience. Each rescue is a testament to the dedication of our team, the unwavering support from our partners, and the courage of survivors who inspire us every day,” he added.

Mr Mergard said Destiny Rescue rescues on average 16 people every day of the year, currently holding rescue operations in 12 countries around the world including Thailand, the Philippines, Cambodia, Nepal, Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and countries in Latin and Central America.

“When our teams are going undercover into bars and establishments right across the world, we don’t have to dig very deep before we find children being exploited.”

Mr Mergard said they are engaging in impoverished communities or other environments where kids are being exploited, and unfortunately, Australians are a huge part of the problem.

“Unfortunately we find that South East Asia is often a destination that Australians visit with the specific intent to exploit children, and there’s a growing trend of Australian men and women exploiting kids online,” Mr Mergard said.

“We recently held a raid in the Philippines where we were able to rescue a 5-year-old girl who was being exploited online. After the rescue, we were able to hand over to the Australian Federal Police the names of 395 Australian men that were involved in the exploitation of that little girl.”

Mr Mergard said they partner with international police to free children from these situations, and hand over the details of Australian abusers to the Australian Federal Police to ensure they receive the full force of the law.

“We’re working with the federal government, encouraging them to strengthen the laws and change the definitions around modern slavery because it excludes child sexual exploitation. We want to see those laws tightened and the penalties increased so there’s more deterrents against people exploiting children across the world,” he added.

Mr Mergard said even as they celebrate 14,500 rescues there is still a lot more to be done and Destiny Rescue is grateful for the number of people organising community fundraisers this year to help support their cause.

“We’ve got a whole bunch of people organising incredible fundraisers this year, getting involved in the community doing fun runs, walks, pull-up challenges, and other fundraising initiatives. We’re so grateful for these amazing humans.

“As we continue our mission, we invite businesses, communities, and individuals to join us in the fight against human trafficking by raising awareness and fostering collaboration,” he added.

On average it costs Destiny Rescue $1800 to rescue a child. To donate or become a rescue partner, visit www.destinyrescue.org.au

ABOUT DESTINY RESCUE

Launched on the Sunshine Coast in 2001, Destiny Rescue is a not-for-profit organisation that exists to rescue children from sex trafficking and exploitation and help them stay free. They have conducted raids in 12 countries around the world, regularly work with international authorities and are invited to partner with local rescue-country authorities to expedite major raids. Destiny Rescue’s holistic approach to rescues ensures the children they rescue are provided with a safe and nourishing environment, with appropriate counselling and medical care. They are also offered the tools (education, vocational training & support) to realise their potential and fulfil their dreams and destiny.

For more information or to become a Rescue Partner, go to www.destinyrescue.org

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