The AFAS Foundation and Free a Girl continue their many years of collaboration

The AFAS Foundation and Free a Girl continue their many years of collaboration. © Free Girl.

AFAS and Free a Girl, based in Harlem, continue their successful collaboration to protect as many children as possible around the world from sexual exploitation. Next year, Free a Girl will focus on a new project in Thailand where they are committed to freeing children who are being sexually exploited and creating a network of informants to prevent exploitation. Thailand is one of the countries where innovations are urgently needed as the supply and demand for exploitation increasingly takes place online, making young victims invisible to local partners.

AFAS has worked extensively with Free a Girl over the past five years. During this period, three large-scale projects were created: the online search program Smart Rescue, the School of Justice in India and Nepal and the revitalization of the editorial team in Laos. The AFAS Foundation and Free a Girl will continue to work together in the coming years with the goal of protecting as many children as possible around the world. For more information: www.afas.foundation/project/free-a-girl.

Exploitation also happens online these days
Where children used to be served in bars or brothels, now this is also happening online. With support from the AFAS Foundation, Free a Girl has designed Smart Rescue online research software to track, analyze and combat (online) sexual exploitation. With this information, liberation teams and police partners can intervene and free children in previously unseen locations.

Kelly Schott, Head of Programs at Free a Girl:In recent years, we have been able to develop an online research program thanks to the support of the AFAS Foundation. Through this collaboration, 32 online investigations were conducted, which led to the discovery of 12 exploited children and women. I’m glad we can now continue this in Thailand. We have been active here for some time, but the situation, location and target group of pedophiles have changed dramatically in recent years. This makes it necessary to look for new ways in which children can be tracked down and rescued.

The scope of the new approach has been extended thanks to the AFAS Foundation. Gerben Eversdyk, Director of the AFAS Foundation:We live in a digital age and the Netherlands can keep up in this field. Therefore, the focus should be on those countries where innovations in the field of digitization are not progressing as quickly as in our country. We are therefore proud that the AFAS Foundation can support this crucial project in Thailand and continue the successful collaboration with Free a Girl. To that end, not only will local cybersecurity professionals be trained in online detection methods, but we’ll also speak in schools and at-risk communities about the dangers of SEC, social media, and sexting. This raises awareness of the risks and we can protect more children from sexual exploitation and exploitation online.

Looking back at the past five years
In addition to developing an online research program, the AFAS Foundation and Free a Girl have collaborated on a School for Justice project and an anti-sexual exploitation program in Laos. To counter impunity, the School of Justice Program was established in India and Nepal. Through this program, victims and daughters of victims of sexual exploitation can become the best lawyers, paralegals, police officers, social workers, sociologists and journalists in their country and together fight pedophilia. The editorial team in Laos has already ensured that 74 girls and women have been rescued from cases of sexual exploitation.

About Free a Girl
Free a Girl strives for a world without child sexual exploitation. We give imprisoned girls their freedom and they receive acute medical care and psychological assistance to address their trauma and prevent them from becoming victims again. We are working hard to free these children and doing everything we can to ensure that those who actually exploited them are prosecuted. This is why we also fight for a fair trial for victims of sexual exploitation so that together we can fight for justice. We operate in Bangladesh, Brazil, China, India, Iraq, Laos, Holland, Nepal and Thailand. Free a Girl has now freed nearly 6,000 girls and we will continue as long as necessary.

About the AFAS Foundation
AFAS inspires you to do better and dreams of making the world more beautiful for those who need it most. The Foundation provides funds in an innovative and transparent manner to sustainable projects that have a significant impact at home and abroad. More information about applying and the criteria used for evaluation can be found at www.afas.foundation/project-aanmelden.

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