The Queensland legal community is getting behind an anti-human trafficking organisation which has, for the last six years, been rescuing children sold into sexual slavery from brothels in South East Asia.
On 30 November, child protection advocates and Brisbane's legal fraternity will gather in the Supreme Court for a fundraising event in support of The Grey Man: an organisation primarily comprising ex-military and ex-police who conduct covert missions to rescue girls from a life of sexual servitude.
In line with the notion behind the grey man, which is a military term for someone who flies under the radar, the team's modus operandi is to enter a brothel, pose as a client, pay for a girl, then take her to a safe house where she has the option to stay and be rehabilitated.
Thus far, the team has completed numerous successful rescues, but further funding is a constant requirement if they are to continue their work.
The event will be opened by Attorney-General Cameron Dick. The Grey Man Australia Director, Russell Hawksford, will deliver a presentation on recent rescues and the important contribution that the group makes.
"UNICEF estimates around 1.2 million children are sold into slavery, which includes labour and sex work, each year. These statistics are unacceptable. Every child has the right to live a happy and fulfilling life," Hawksford said.
"The Grey Man is currently focusing operations on Thailand, where the local children are particularly vulnerable. Sadly, human trafficking is third only to drugs and weapons in terms of criminal income worldwide and in many countries children as young as five have been trafficked."
As well as rescue missions, The Grey Man also aims to eradicate child sexual exploitation by establishing educational programs to prevent the initial trafficking of children, providing infrastructure for Thai hill-tribe villages to bring them out of poverty and prevent trafficking, improving educational and living standards in target areas as a natural barrier to the expansion to trafficking, and achieving justice for the victims of trafficking by hunting the perpetrators and bringing them before the courts.
Tickets cost $52 per head, including wine and nibbles, and are available through www.thegreyman.org.