Carmela should have been safe.
Instead, she was exploited for profit by those who were meant to protect her.
CONTENT WARNING: Mention of child trafficking and physical, sexual and emotional violence.
The past year has seen the global community face crisis after crisis. And while people like you have supported efforts to keep children safe, there are those who use the chaos to exploit girls for profit and sell them to the highest bidder.
Carmela was only 14 when it happened to her – sold to a paedophile by her own mother.
Her mother told Carmela and her sisters they were going to the city to meet their father. The girls were excited. Until Carmela’s sister read something she shouldn’t have.
It was an email from her mother to a paedophile. The girls were being trafficked.
- recalls Carmela
Trafficking is one of the worst crimes against a child. And given what we know about crises, girls have never been more in danger than during COVID-19.
While in Carmela’s case her mother was involved in the trafficking, it’s far more likely that families are in the dark about what is happening to their daughters. Most parents do all in their power to keep their children safe.
But traffickers take advantage of vulnerable girls and families, often promising work. It’s these trafficking rings that fuel the child sex trade.
Without help, it’s very hard for trafficked girls to find a way out, which is why the true rates of trafficking around the world are probably even higher than we know.
We cannot wait on this.
How Plan International stopped Carmela’s trafficking
Carmela was terrified when she learned of what her mother had done. But she had one thing most girls don’t – time to call for help. Carmela was able to tell family what her mother was planning, and they were put in touch with Plan International.
By working with local authorities, we organised the rescue of Carmela and her sisters. Police successfully stopped her mother as she tried to take them on a bus. Her mother was arrested and the girls were finally safe.
Carmela’s trafficking was over 10 years ago. Today, Carmela works for an anti-trafficking body. People like Carmela help children learn about their rights, safeguard girls from abuse and exploitation at the hands of traffickers, and advocate for laws that target trafficking rings. You can play a vital role in supporting them.
By donating before 24 December, you could help:
- Provide girl survivors with support and rehabilitation to deal with the trauma of their ordeal. Through our partners, case managers connect girls with food, accommodation and psychosocial support, as well as education and employment opportunities.
- Support authorities in intervention operations to free girls who have been trafficked. Once notified of a trafficking case, we liaise with authorities to organise the girl’s rescue and try to reunite them with family who will keep them safe.
- Work with girls, communities and governments to identify risks and strengthen responses to prevent trafficking. This could involve educating girls on the risks of trafficking, or working with governments to strengthen and enforce anti-trafficking laws.
Your gift will help support girls everywhere to be safe, go to school and pursue their futures.
We have a dream. She has a plan. Will you help make it a reality?