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December 2014 News

Brave teens tackle sex trade

  • Written by  Elissa Dowling
Hannah Wolverton, Sharna Sonter and Tianna McDonald ready with their passports. Photo: Provided

Armed with their passports, three 15-year-old girls sit nervously in the chaplain’s office of Darling Downs Christian School (DDCS), Toowoomba.

Each of them is preparing for an encounter of a lifetime – a journey into a third-world country with some of the most devastating statistics for the trafficking of young women, a place called Nepal.

“There are some villages in Nepal where all the girls between 11--20 are missing,” Sharna Sonter said.

“A whole generation has been lost (to the sex trade).”

It was after realising that the very girls being trafficked were their age that the class of DDCS Year 10 girls decided to they wanted to do something to help.

“It really hit home to us because we are at the age when all of this would be happening if we had been born in another country,” Tianna McDonald said.

They began with an initial goal of raising $3000 to send to a women’s refuge run by 3 Angels Nepal, an organisation which rescues girls through rehabilitation, training and community education.

Now 15 months later, the school community has raised $11,000.

“We started out thinking this will be impossible, but we’ll aim for it,” Hannah Wolverton said.

“It’s exciting that so many people have wanted to help.”

The three students will spend the first two weeks of their Christmas holidays in Nepal, visiting the Women’s Safehaven Project and giving the school’s donation in person.

“We will also be running a Week of Worship, with songs, dramas and testimonies,” Hannah said.

The girls will also get to visit homes where Nepalese parents are caring for up to 12 orphans.

The school plans to continue supporting the home, which is a project funded by Asia Aid.

Their message to other young women is simple.

“Get out and get involved – if that was you, you would want someone to help,” Sharna said.

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