“One child exploited is one child too many.”

Two million boys and girls are enslaved in the child sex industry—raped for pay, sold into prostitution, trafficked across borders, and bought as sexual souvenirs by tourists. The average age of these children is 13, however, there have been reports of children as young as 5 months.

Cheryl Perera started the youth run organization OneChild after she learned of the horrors that children are suffering around the world. When she heard about young children in Thailand forced to dance on stage for customers and service more than 26 of them a night, she knew she had to do something. OneChild is dedicated to ending the global sex trade in children and Cheryl Perera is an advocate for the world’s most exploited children.

At the age of 17, Cheryl travelled to Sri Lanka to investigate the issue of child exploitation. She met with child laborers, soldiers, and prostitutes. To get an insider’s look into the child sex trade, she worked with the National Child Protection Authority and posed as a 15 year-old child prostitute in a successful undercover STING operation.

Here are a few ways to get involved in the fight to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

  1. Do your research! Check out www.one-child.ca for the facts and stats. The website also provides you with a list of other resources ie. books, documentaries, websites, organizations to check out.
  2. Gather your dream team and form a OneChild One Voice Chapter. See www.one-child.ca for a how-to guide to starting a chapter.
  3. Hold a fundraiser to help support our Build-a–Rehab Centre project
  4. Organize a letter-writing campaign to key players in the global Travel and Tourism Industry ie. airlines, travel agencies and make them aware that you are appalled by the exploitation of children in the sex trade, and are calling upon them to take action. **See www.one-child.ca for a list of actions that the industry can take to combat the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

Also, here is a chance to help Cheryl raise more money and awareness. Go to www.brickaward.com and vote for Cheryl. She has been honored by Do Something, Inc. as one of the top 12 young leaders in North America. With your vote OneChild could win $15,000 which would be used to help build a new rehabilitation center for sexually exploited girls in the Philippines. The rehabilitation center will provide shelter, meals, therapy, and education.

Voting for Cheryl could mean a huge benefit for many children now in slavery, abusive situations and in need of help and rescue. Voting ends on April 9th . Watch the CW Network on April 12 at 9 pm to see more of Cheryl and other young people’s amazing work.

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