When 19-year-old Jessica Drummond walked the streets of Thailand and Cambodia last year, she realised how lucky she was to have grown up the way she did.
She was fresh out of Pakuranga College with an eagerness to learn more about the world, when she made contact with Child Rescue NZ to take part in a mission trip.
Now she says she couldn’t imagine a more life-changing experience.
Child Rescue NZ operates under the international organisation Destiny Rescue and works to find children trapped in the sex trade and offer them the choice to leave through education, counselling and safe housing.
Jessica spent two weeks volunteering in Rescue and Prevention homes, visiting the training and employment centers where girls are set up with the skills to enter meaningful career pathways and observing the confronting reality of the red light district.
“I think you never really understand the impact of sex trafficking until you see it with your own eyes,” Jessica says.
“I watched girls much younger than myself walking the streets wearing hardly any clothes, working in dodgy bars and brothels. Behind the smiles of these girls you could see the brokenness.”
Child Rescue NZ Auckland manager Stacey Mitchell also went on the trip and says she watched Jess come home with the determination and passion for bringing freedom to children who deserve to be kids again.
“Jess seemed to grow this compassion and vision for vulnerable children that was slowly burning brighter.”
Stacey says it is estimated around 1 million children are in the sex trade or pornography worldwide.
She says often girls have no way out even if the door has been left open for them because they lack the skills, education or support to make a change.
Child Rescue desperately needs funds to turn this around through vocational training and rehabilitation.
Jessica now wants to do her bit to actively stop sex trafficking so that others girls may experience the same joy and opportunities growing up as she did.
On November 17, Jessica is hosting a clothes swap for Child Rescue at St Columba Church with the goal of raising enough money to bring two girls out of the sex trade.
For just $10, the community can bring their quality pre-loved clothing and swap them for other cherished items at the ‘Great Swap to Stop’.
Her goal is to raise $3000 and she is calling on the community to get involved.
Tickets can be bought prior to the event here.