FISHERS, Ind. – Several organizations across central Indiana are stepping up to help a non-profit organization based out of northern Indiana.
Destiny Rescue works to save thousands of young girls and boys from international sex trafficking. Volunteers go to Cambodia, India, Thailand and the Phillipines. They go undercover, visiting brothels and bars pulling children from the worst places imaginable.
“The sex trade is a $99 billion dollar a year business,” Aaron Brown said. “There are more than one million children enslaved today. As dark as that is, we believe there is hope.”
Brown used to work a 9-5 desk job. When he heard about the overseas effort, he jumped in to help. The organization has made great progress since 2013, rescuing and rehabilitating nearly 3,000 children.
Brown talked about his trips overseas. In detail, he described what it was like sitting in a bar for hours pretending to be a customer. He explained how the organization worked for weeks gaining the prostitutes’ trust and how they eventually talked her into leaving the industry.
“Most of the children are in this situation due to a financial burden. It could be that mom and dad are so desperate they can’t afford to feed their family. They can’t afford to send their children to school, so the oldest daughter ends up feeling some of the brunt of that financial burden,” Brown explained.
Brown said that Destiny Rescue has identified girls as young as four years old.
“As a human being, as a man, as a father - I would fight and do anything and everything for my kids. If they were in that situation, trapped, I would do anything to rescue them. Unfortunately, there are a lot of kids around the world whose moms and dads are not fighting for them. Moms and dads are part of the problem,” he said.
As soon as Marian University’s women’s basketball program heard about the efforts, they jumped in to help. The team held a blackout game to try and raise money for the organization.
“You know it happens, right? You know this exists but you don’t know the extent until you sit there and listen to them tell stories,” Head Coach Katie Gearalds said. “It’s sickening.”
The team now holds dedicated nights every season to try and fundraise for Destiny Rescue.
On the other side of town, in Fishers, Trinity Church got involved as well. In March, Pastor Mike Colaw learned about the rescue. Hearing that each rescue costs about $1,500, he asked parishioners if they wanted to donate enough money to save a child.
“They are fully worth it and matter eternally,” he said. “Everybody, every level, every stage is 100 percent valuable.”
Colaw was blown away by the response. "Money just kept coming in and coming in,” he said.
Trinity Church aimed to raise enough to save one girl on one Sunday morning. Before they knew it, the church had raised enough money to rescue and rehabilitate 21 young children.
“There is hope! We’re seeing kids go on to be restored, to live productive lives,” Brown said.
Brown went on to explain that once Destiny Rescue pulls a child from that unthinkable situation, they triage him or her. If it’s safe enough, they’ll place the child back home. Often, they find a foster location. Volunteers stick around to educate him or her, or if the person is old enough, Destiny Rescue provides job training.
"We had a young girl named Zara who we learned through the process, that her mother was a gifted cook but didn’t have any money to be able to buy pots and pans. We were able to help her do that. She was making $30 a month, doing the work she was doing. Now, she’s making $200 a month and she’s able to provide for her family which means the other children are less vulnerable to being trafficked,” Brown said.
Trinity Church members were so touched by the stories they heard, several people from Hamilton County are now going to those other countries and helping first hand. The next trip is in October.