Saving Kids from the Sex Trade

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CWNews.org - BANGKOK, Thailand -- The global slave trade affects millions of people around the world, and far too many of them are children.  

Poor and uneducated, many children around the globe are often victimized by pedophiles or forced into prostitution.

In Thailand, children are solicited for sex as they sell flowers in Bangkok's red light district.

At a nightspot in Thailand locals say children are sold for sex. Kids aged 3 to 12 touched the male foreigners to whom they offered flowers. The men touched them back.

Despite the danger, children come here every night in the red light district of Bangkok, Thailand to sell flowers.

It is very alarming that some of these children have been victimized by vicious pedophiles and, in an instant, their childhood escapes from them as they innocently fall into prostitution.

After a bit of convincing, some of the children agreed to talk to CBN News. Pon, Dao and Cham are Cambodians and are illegal aliens in Thailand.

Pon said, "No money!" When asked why they had to sell flowers at night, Pon said, "We give money to mom."

Their fathers are jobless, their mothers are just small-time vendors. 10-yr-old Dao said she has to help raise 12 siblings.

Though they work all night, Dao and Cham go to school and are in 4th grade. But to Pon, who only finished first grade, school is not important.

Pon told me, "No, I don't want to go to school. I'm lazy."

Despite Pon's admitted laziness, she is taught how to read and write along with 20 other children by the staff of a Christian organization called Nightlight Ministries.

American missionary, Annie Dieselberg, is the director of Nightlight Ministries.

Dieselberg explained, "We work with the children. Twice a week, we go out to visit, we build trust with them, and read them Bible stories.

Annie shared with us the sad plight of a 12-yr-old girl she has worked closely with in the past.

Annie told us the child looked at her and said, "'If I don't go out with the men, my mother can't pay up the police.' Then she held out a piece of paper and said 'This is the room number of the hotel, of the man where the children come to.' There was a bust. The pedophiles were arrested and 4 little girls were taken into custody by the Welfare Dept. Two of them had STDs."

Another 12-yr-old girl she helped was gang-raped near the border, and disappeared afterwards.

Annie says it is around the age of 12 that the children, both girls and boys, are sexually molested.

I asked Pon if men ask her to go with them.

Pon is 12 years old now. She said, "Yes, but I don't go with them. One man said, do you want to go with me, I pay 2000 baht. I said no."

But how long will the children be able to keep saying no? There are no guarantees.

In desperate need of money, they are vulnerable - stuck in a system where they are easy prey for pedophiles.

Nightlight Ministries can't possibly help them all, but with its help, many are finding a way out - and a hope and a future.

Flesh peddling is a major, major problem, and it is good to see Christian ministries doing what they can for these children and victims.

This story first aired June 2, 2006.

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Lucille Talusan

Lucille Talusan

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