The video – produced by Free A Girl – begins innocently enough: a group of little girls, each of whom has had her identity hidden with a cartoonish animal mask, are presented with a mysterious cardboard box.
For a few moments, they rustle around inside, before triumphantly bringing out a series of sex toys. Holding the items in their hands, the children innocently begin speculating as to what they think they could be used for.
“A rolling pin?” asks one shyly.
“A fly swatter,” says another, giving the toy an experimental wave in the air.
Another, baffled, wonders aloud whether the sex toy she’s holding could be used as “a lasso to catch cows”. Other suggestions include a “wand”, a “rolling pin”, and a “love heart”.
Then a message flashes across the screen.
“Innocent imagination for these girls,” it warns. “Horrible reality for others.”
The mood of the video immediately darkens, switching to CCTV footage of a young girl being sold for sex.
Just seven-years-old, the child (whose face has been obscured) is offered up to an unseen man, who asks gruffly: “This one only does blow****?”
The price of this child’s innocence? 40 dollars.
It is a stark reminder that millions of young girls are sexually exploited every single day: according to the NSPCC, one in five victims of trafficking are children, with over 700 children identified as potential victims of trafficking last year in the UK. And that’s just in this country.
Across the world, there are countless others being sold into sexual servitude. While the invisible and clandestine nature of trafficking and the lack of strong data collection make it difficult to know the global number of child victims, it is thought that at least 1.2 million children are subjected to prostitution in the global commercial sex trade, and it is estimated that 76 percent of transactions for sex with underage girls start on the internet.
The harrowing footage was released as part of the ‘Week Against Child Prostitution’, which takes place from 15 – 21 May each year. During this time, the Netherlands collects money to fund the fight against child prostitution all over the world.
Free A Girl, the international organisation dedicated to freeing young girls from forced prostitution and prosecuting sex offenders, are well aware that their video is shocking: that was their intention. They wanted to wake people up to the realities faced by so many children all over the world, in a bid to encourage them to sit up and do something about it.
Free a Girl founder Evelien Hölsken said: “An estimated two million children all over the world are caught up in prostitution, of whom 1.2 million are in India. Girls are forced to have sex every day with dozens of men.
“We want this to stop and appeal to the whole country to join forces with us and take action. Together, we can liberate the girls from the horrific circumstances in which they live and offer them a bright new future.”
Over the past eight years, Free A Girl has contributed to the liberation of thousands of girls from brothels as well as supported their rehabilitation and reintegration into society.
The charity’s also aims to make raise awareness about the existence of child prostitution and the need to combat and prevent it, as well as raise the money needed to emancipate and empower young victims of human trafficking.
To achieve these aims, the charity works alongside partner organisations in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, Brazil and The Netherlands, to ensure that their financial support goes to the places where their added value is the greatest.
To donate to their cause, or find out more information, please visit their website now.
Images: Free A Girl