ONE CHILD TRAFFICKED EVERY 30 SECONDS FOR SEX AND LABOUR SAYS TEARFUND

ONE CHILD TRAFFICKED EVERY 30 SECONDS FOR SEX AND LABOUR SAYS TEARFUND

Every 30 seconds, somewhere in the world, a child is trafficked. More than a million children are trafficked every year, and without intervention and prevention this number is set to rise, says Christian relief and development agency Tearfund. Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world.

This year, at The BigChurchDayOut festival in West Sussex, Tearfund is calling for people to help end this shocking reality by supporting the charity's No Child Taken campaign. By the end of 2015, Tearfund aims to protect 50,000 vulnerable children worldwide from trafficking, disasters and disease.

Earlier this year, TV chef Tom Herbert, one half of Channel 4’s The Fabulous Baker Brothers, travelled to Laos with Tearfund to visit some of these children at risk of trafficking.

Along with his 12-year-old son, Milo, Tom visited families living in extreme poverty, often left with no choice but to cross the border into Thailand to earn enough money to feed their families. Many children end up being sold and trafficked to work in brothels or become trapped into menial labour, without means of escape.

Tom Herbert says, “As a fifth generation baker, there was never any doubt as to what I would do for a living. But for the children I met in Laos, there is very little choice. Milo and my three young girls will grow up knowing that they can be whatever they want to be in life, and it was so heartbreaking to meet with parents in Laos who weren’t able to dream the same dream for their own sons and daughters. It's wrong and shocking that so many children are forced to suffer.”

Children at risk of trafficking are often difficult to reach - abused, neglected, separated from their families - but Tearfund is able to bring freedom to vulnerable children by working at the very heart of communities through the local church.

While in Laos, Tom met 14-year-old Kalei. She was younger than his son Milo when she was forced to take on much of the responsibility for her two younger siblings and her baby niece. Her mother and older sister left the family to work in Thailand, and little has been heard from them since. When food runs out the younger children look to Kalei to provide. She spends her days out in the hot sun, hunting for the tiny frogs that live in the mud in the dried up river banks.

“Thank God Tearfund have found Kalei and many, many like her, before it’s too late” says Tom. “Through their partners in Laos, Tearfund are shining the light and the love of Jesus in a very dark place, delivering practical support, building trust and relationships that intervene to finally break a cycle that sees children born into poverty, trafficked into slavery. It's surely our mandate to back Tearfund’s No Child Taken campaign."

Tom will be on the mainstage at The BigChurchDayOut on Sunday 25th May to talk about his trip to Laos with Tearfund, and let people know how they can support Tearfund’s campaign to protect 50,000 children from trafficking, disaster and disease over the next year. He will also be doing an on-stage cooking demonstration with his recipe for ‘sticky sticks’ - a recipe he shared with children in Laos who were learning new livelihood skills.

Tom Herbert running a cooking workshop for girls near the Thai border in S.Laos. Photograph: Ralph Hodgson/Tearfund

For media enquires only, please contact our media team:

Tom Herbert will be available for interview and photo opportunities at The BigChurchDayOut on the 25th May to talk about his trip to Laos, and his involvement with the No Child Taken campaign. To arrange an interview on the day, please speak to the Tearfund Media Team on 07950 775 847 or 0208 943 7780 or holly.poulter@tearfund.org / louise.thomas@tearfund.org. For out of hours media enquiries please call 07710 573749.

For tickets and more information on Big Church Day Out please go to www.bigchurchdayout.com

Find out more about the No Child Taken campaign at www.tearfund.org/nochildtaken

Tearfund is a Christian relief and development agency building a global network of churches to help eradicate poverty