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Destiny Rescue hits bittersweet milestone


Destiny Rescue hits bittersweet milestone

Locals urged to give up a meal and donate the cost to highlight link between poverty and sex exploitation

A Sunshine Coast-based charity that fights children sex trafficking globally has recorded 12,500 rescues, but according to the organisation there is still significant work to be done.

Launched on the Sunshine Coast in 2001, Destiny Rescue is a not-for-profit organisation that rescues children from exploitation and gives them a chance to live a life they deserve.

In that time, Destiny Rescue has conducted raids in 12 nations and regularly works with global authorities and local rescue-country authorities.

It costs on average $1800 to rescue a child, which includes executing a rescue, providing training, counselling and reintegration to break the cycle of abuse.

Destiny Rescue CEO Paul Mergard says while the charity acknowledges its rescue achievements, it’s bittersweet as the work is still very much needed.

He says teams on the ground have been planning raids on clubs, stopping traffickers at international borders and working under cover with local law enforcement in a number of countries.

“Child sex trafficking has become the world’s fastest growing crisis … with victims as young as two years old being exploited and abused,” Mr Mergard says.

“It’s a massive issue but through the generous donations from Australian families, businesses and partnerships, we are able to continue our work and save lives.”

Now, the charity is announcing its next fundraising campaign, ‘Give Up a Meal’, which will run from July to September.

The campaign is asking people to donate what they would have spent on a meal to Destiny Rescue, as many children living in extreme poverty are forced into exploitation to survive.

“When our community hears of these dire circumstances, they can often feel helpless in being able to make change,” Mr Mergard says.

“It’s more than just a meal for a meal, it’s your meal saving a child from being forced into the sex slave trade because they can’t afford to eat.”

To donate to the current campaign visit Residents are also encouraged to take a photo of themselves with an empty plate and post it to social media using #DestinyRescue.

From more information visit

By the numbers

  • In June 2023, Destiny Rescue marked 12,500 children saved since commencing in 2001.
  • In 2023 alone, 1200 children have been rescued.
  • Destiny Rescue conducts rescues in 12 countries.
  • It costs on average $1800 to rescue a child (this includes executing a rescue, as well as providing training, counselling and reintegration in a community to break the cycle of abuse)
  • 70 per cent of trafficked children are from the Asia-Pacific region.
  • The child sex trafficking crisis generates $99 billion for sex traffickers each year, that is $11 million every hour.

(source: Destiny Rescue)

More about Destiny Rescue

Destiny Rescue’s approach to rescue ensures the children are provided with a safe and nourishing environment, with appropriate counselling and medical care. It also offers education, vocational training and support tools to those children they deliver into a new life.

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