Tourism can often hide the evils of the world, but here’s a group that is now fighting back with Project Karma. And we’re asking the travel industry to lend a hand too.
You may want to turn your back on this article now. It’s not nice.
It’s the worst one I have had to write about. It’s going to open your eyes. You will not be able to unsee.
I am not apologizing. Here’s how the article started.
“Oh, that’s where we are opening our second office.”
Typical conversation over a liquid lunch between two business folk. There was no alcohol, the lunch was light and I felt quite sick.
The location for the first two offices is the Philippines. The other three scheduled for expansion of this new multinational are in Thailand and Indonesia.
I was off for a holiday and the new office to be opened where I am heading is to create a home for the “sentinels” for “Project Karma”.
Project Karma is about stopping child trafficking and exploitation. Exploitation is a pretty word people use so they don’t have to say child prostitution. That might offend and people might have to listen.
Sadly, hotspots favorited by Aussie travellers are homes of the most disgusting and horrific crimes against humanity. It’s where sleazy, disgraceful, lowlifes have their habits fed by ruthless crime lords and gangsters who view the theft, trafficking and prostitution of children as just another channel of income.
The same “grime lords” who can get you that illicit substance in Bali, that counterfeit sim card in Thailand and black market goods in Bogo. That’s right, small kids, viewed as an income channel.
So sure, turn away, pretend it doesn’t exist. Now, imagine your child, stolen from your house at night, servicing a pedophile. Now try and unthink that. Keep up the pretense. Hugging my six-year-old as I tucked her in just made it all too real. How could anyone? Problem is, too many people turn away.
Then sometimes, people don’t turn away. Sometimes people go on a holiday and see something and think “someone has to do something. I am that someone.” They may be the hands on person, they may be a supporter, but they become part of the solution. They help, they assist, they sacrifice. They become a positive.
That person today, who went on that Thai holiday, who could not un-think it, is Glen Hulley. I met Glen in 2013. Tall, tattoed, scary… not the opponent you want to meet in a karate tournament when you are a whole five foot eight and 30kg less.
“I have sold next to everything I own in order to contribute to this important cause after I was inspired by my travels to South East Asia in 2013. What was a very relaxing holiday unexpectedly changed many things within me and challenged many of my own core beliefs.
“I witnessed many things in some of the countries I visited … after having served with Victoria Police for over 12 years I thought I had a true understanding of the world, but soon found myself questioning what I valued most, what I felt was important to me and also what would make me happy, fulfilled and my young sons proud of me and inspired in their life.”
An ex copper, private investigator and now seasoned international champion of children who have no one looking out for them. He’s the man who over the past few years has lead initiatives that has rescued scores of kids from chains on floors and disgusting, dirty old men.
After meeting with Glen last week, he explained how one of the biggest challenges for getting Project Karma off the ground was getting flights, accommodation and scheduling.
That’s where the travel industry can help.
I sent out seven emails last week asking if anyone could match my donation to get Glen on the next flight.
Within minutes, Matt Leedham (KarryOn’s Founder) had pledged the cash. His cash offer was matched by two others within 12 hours. He, along with them, want to help in the bigger picture of support, awareness, flights, accommodation and strategy. We are backing Project Karma.
Why do people want to help Glen?
Because they don’t have Glen’s skills to be hands on. Because they have souls and are good people. They also know that these creeps are not good for the travel industry. Anyone who helps is doing something good. We all know that getting on board with this cause not only makes us feel good but is good for kids. Recently, the news has not had a whole lot shiny to say about travel agents. A good news story about agents helping stop an evil is a great start.
www.projectkarma.org.au is a great starting place to make up your mind.
You can also find out more about Glen’s story here: News.com.au article
Myself and Matt Leedham have and there’s plenty more who will.
More to come. Stay tuned.
So what will you do? Ignore, or get on-board?
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