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Channel Seven investigates the sex industry in Thailand

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GIRLS as young as 13 are being exploited in Thailand for sex and Australian men are contributing to the booming industry.

But an electrician from North Queensland, Tony Kirwan, is fighting to rescue the young girls from the clutches of sex-crazed men.

Mr Kirwan was on holiday in Thailand when his friend was offered sex with an underage girl.

It was that moment he decided to quit his job and create Destiny Rescue.

He relocated to Southeast Asia with his three daughters and wife in a bid to save Thai children from being swallowed by bars and brothels.

Channel Seven reporter Denham Hitchcock has gone undercover with Mr Kirwan to take an exclusive look at the realities for these young women, which aired on theSunday Night program.

“Kids underage are being trafficked and sold and held against their will and are forced into the bars and brothels that are scattered right throughout Thailand,” Hitchcock said.

“This was an eye-opener — I’ve been to Thailand many times before and have sort of seen this industry from a distance but once you get into it, it’s just appalling.

“There are many Australians that are perpetrators, I’m talking about men who go into these bars and brothels and specifically ask for underage girls and it takes everything you’ve got not to walk across the room and drag them out onto the street.

“We were sitting there undercover assuming the role of a customer and these girls were paraded in front of people and taken out the doors and it made me ashamed in some respects to be a man watching what was taking place.”

There are between 20,000 and 40,000 children scattered over Thailand being used for sex, some young women have even been forced into the industry by their own mothers.

One of those girls was just 15, and Hitchcock became part of her rescue.

She had already been in the industry for two years.

“She is essentially the thread of our story — it follows this one girl who has been moved from bar to bar since she was 13,” Hitchcock said.

“She supports her entire family by working in this trade.”

Hitchcock said to save the women they needed to purchase them before smuggling them to a safe place.

The bar is then raided by more than 20 police and Hitchcock sits right in the middle of the club while it all unfolds.

Hitchcock too witnesses a “soft” rescue where Mr Kirwan and his team build a relationship with a girl and earn her trust.

They then try to convince her that she can have a better life and offer her rehabilitation and a new job.

“It’s up to them to walk out of the door of the bar or brothel,” Hitchcock said.

“We’re sitting there, hanging by our fingernails, waiting for the girl to make her decision.”

Thailand is one of the sex capitals of the world and the industry contributes more than four billion dollars to the economy.

“It’s enormous,” Hitchcock said.

“There are entire suburbs of just neon lights and girls up on stage and on the streets — the place is rife.”

Hitchcock said Mr Kirwan and his team often faced death threats and had been held at gun point.

“These clubs are run by some serious people — there are Russian mafia connections and there are local businessmen who make a lot of money from these places,” the reporter said.

“When you consider what the average wage is and how much these places turnover through alcohol and the sex trade, these people don’t want to relinquish this business.

“They do not want clubs to shut down and do not want to be in the spotlight or in headlines.”

But Hitchcock said the passion Mr Kirwan and his crew had for saving these women from a life of sex slavery far outweighed any violent confrontations.

“They’ve given up their lives in Australia and they’ve moved their entire families so when you consider the decisions they’ve made they really have sacrificed to do this,” Hitchcock said.

Destiny Rescue is shutting places down for good and people are getting charged with human trafficking, which is a very serious offence.”

Mr Kirwan has three daughters of his own, something that drives him to keep fighting against Thailand’s corrupt sex industry.

“When Tony goes into these clubs and he pretends to be a customer he thinks of his daughters every single time and that’s a pretty powerful motivation for anyone,” Hitchcock said.

“This story for me came with a range of emotions — I was furious at what was taking place, incredibly sad to see the kinds of lives the girls were being forced to live but it was incredibly heartwarming when Destiny Rescue got these young girls out of the club.”

Hitchcock said when first meeting some young women he could tell they were damaged.

“There were no two ways about it, they were shell-shocked and distant but they were surprisingly resilient,” he said.

“If I had been through something like that as a child I’m not sure how I would function.”

Destiny Rescue has been around for about 15 years and has saved more than 1300 girls from bars and brothels.

“They give them new lives and they sometimes look after them for three, four or five years, taking them into care until the girls are 18,” Hitchcock said.

“They only let them leave when they are standing on their own two feet.

“The real power of the story is the redemption and the second chances these girls get.”

Hitchcock meets women who are further down the rehabilitation track and he said they have gone on to lead a normal life filled with love from marriage and children.

“They are so vulnerable at first but they come out the other side and are fully functioning,” he said.

“I saw them as strong, empowered young women and I’d like to think that continues for the rest of their lives.”

Hitchcock’s investigation into Mr Kirwan and Destiny Rescue aired on Sunday Night at 7pm on Channel Seven.

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i been going to Thailand for nearly 15 years and lived there for 2 and never ever been offered an underage girl.


i could say a lot about this thread but better i dont

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