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Q&A’S

1. What does Free a Girl do?
Free a Girl passionately supports organizations that fight against child prostitution. Also, thanks to Free a Girl, already more than 2,800 girls have been rescued from brothels. We have now expanded to three shelters and made investments in improving the care, guidance and education for these girls. Additionally, Free a Girl wants to increase awareness about the existence of global child prostitution. They do this through education, events and targeting information through the media.

2. Why this campaign?
Across the world, thousands of girls are forced into prostitution. In India, they are trapped in cells of 1 to 2 meters. Young girls of 12, 13 and 14 years old are sexually exploited on a daily basis. We feel as if we cannot let this happen. Through this campaign, we expect to generate a great amount of funding that will allow us to free and rehabilitate as many girls a possible.

3. Are girls really kept in these cells?
Yes, in India there are tens of thousands of such small rooms. But in other countries there are girls trapped in equally appalling conditions.

4. What happens to the proceeds from this campaign?
The money raised through this campaign will be invested in projects that benefit victims of child prostitution. Thus, we support a number of local teams that detect and free girls in danger. Local organizations then assist them with their reintegration into society.

5. How do we know that the funds will be well spent?
Free a Girl is very transparent about its revenues and expenditures. We will be following up all actions with promotions on exactly how much the operation has cost us and the results it delivered. Free a Girl is an efficient organization. We give 15% of our income to fundraising costs, which is well below the norm given by the CBF of 25%.

6. How does this campaign work?
Through this campaign, we create a lot of publicity and raise funds. This allows us to rescue more girls from brothels and give them a new future. In India, we already see a decrease in the number of girls in brothels due to our rescue actions. We want to achieve the same results in many more cities and countries around the globe.

7. How do underage girls fall into prostitution?
Poverty is the main cause of child trafficking. Parents often sell their children off for a fee to family members or acquaintances who promise them a better future in the city. Parents do so in order to pay off their debts or simply to survive.

Children working on the streets are also at risk of becoming victims and being exploited by child traffickers. There are many children that disappear. Children are often powerless to the ignorance and corruption. The trafficking of children is very lucrative. A trafficked child makes a child trafficker anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. They can even earn up to tens of thousands of dollars on these girls.

8. Are there underage girls forced into prostitution in the Netherlands?
In the Netherlands, there are about a few hundred girls forced into prostitution. This is often accompanied by violence, blackmail and intimidation. Their life is hell. The so-called “lover boys” are ruthless pimps who exploit girls with all possible means.

9. How many girls have been freed?
Since its inception in 2008, Free a Girl has contributed to the liberation of more than 3,600 girls.

10. Are the liberated girls quickly replaced by new girls?
In India alone, working according to official estimates, there are 1.2 million girls in the sex industry. There are new rescue teams set up in major Indian cities to liberate more girls from the brothels. In Mumbai, hundreds of perpetrators are arrested and convicted, and child prostitution is becoming less frequent.

11. How long does the average rehabilitation take?
A rehabilitation program in India takes on average a year. Girls who cannot go home again because their home environment is unsafe and/or is the reason they ended up in a brothel stay in a shelter until they turn 18.

12. How do you know where the girls are? How do you investigate the situation?
The Rescue Foundation raids brothels in search of underage girls. If a girl is reported missing, they first may do an investigation. They will then go undercover in search of the girl in question. When they have collected enough evidence, they collaborate with police to carry out a raid.

13. Are you putting your workers at risk unnecessarily?
There is risk involved. However, we believe no child should be trapped, especially in the sex industry.

14. Are you not undermining the authority of the police and justice department?
No. We work together closely with the police. In addition, the Rescue Foundation collaborates with the justice department to sentence offenders.

15. Facts & Figures:
We support 6 Rescue teams in India and one Rescue team in Thailand.
In India, it is rare that girls are sold by their families directly to a brothel. Parents are often misled by people with wonderful stories that their daughter will have a good future. Parents sometimes get a monetary amount in exchange for their child, however that does not mean that the parents want their daughters to work in prostitution.

For an average of €50 can you free a girl from these circumstances? How much does a rehabilitation program cost? Approximately €1000.00 (incl. care, counseling, education, training and transportation home).

16. Do you support child labor? At what age are children allowed to work in India?
We are absolutely against child labor. We focus this campaign on one of the worst forms of child labor. Child prostitution is detrimental to the growth and development of the child. Governments and international organizations (such as the UN and ILO) indicate that sexual exploitation of children deserves priority in the fight against child labor.

There are different laws in India regarding the work of children and young people. It is indicated that no child under 14 is allowed to work in factories, mines or other harmful work environments. Bonded labor (which often occurs in prostitution) is illegal for both children and adults. In 2009, an important law came into force, which requires free and compulsory education for all children between 6 and 14 years of age. India is changing, but the girls in prostitution cannot wait.

17. What is the minimum wage in India?
The minimum wage varies by state (and sometimes by region and activity) and it differs between men and women. For men, the minimum wage is between 100 (€ 1.40) and 250 rupees (€ 3.50) per day. For women, the daily wage is between 85 (€ 1.20) and 150 rupees (€ 2.10).

18. Wouldn’t you rather see the girls in school? Why don’t you send more girls to school?
We encourage girls to go to school and stay in school as long as possible. Sometimes, however, girls must work to help themselves (and their families) survive. What we want to show with this campaign is that the girls return to a harsh reality, but one that is much better than life in the brothels.

19. India is a middle-income country. Why do they need support from the Netherlands?
There are more poor people living in India than in Africa. Poverty has not disappeared here. In India, more children are trapped in the sex industry than anywhere else. Therefore, it is necessary to intervene. It would be good if the government and wealthy Indians themselves take responsibility here, but these girls cannot wait.

20. When will you consider this campaign a success? How much money needs to be collected?
We consider every girl that regains her freedom as a success. If the campaign leads to more girls being rescued, it is a success. In addition, Free a Girl strives to minimize the cost of fundraising, preferably less than 10%. This also applies to our campaigns.

21. How old are the girls in the campaign?
The girls in the campaign are 16 and 17 years old.

22. Does Free a Girl help those rescued to build a new life?
Yes, we are investing in improving the quality of education, trauma counseling and vocational training in the shelters. When the girls go back home, they receive compensation from the government and pay for work that they have done in the shelters.

23. Did the girls in the campaign receive money for their contribution?
Yes, each girl received €400 Euros.

24. Will all the money I donate go to rescue efforts?
No, but a substantial portion of all donations benefit the rescue teams. We also support various shelters financially, so that rescued girls can be offered a home, medical care and trauma counseling.

25. How do you know that girls do not return to prostitution?
Girls are tracked for two years after rehabilitation. Regular reports are given to the court in the city of where the girl is freed. It is very rare that a girl is lost track of.

26. Has there ever been scientific evidence that your approach works?
In the Philippines, a major study was completed on the effect of rescues on the number of underage girls into prostitution. This was found to decrease to 80%. Within the last few years, we have see similar movements in Mumbai and Pune, two Indian cities where we support rescue teams.
If you have any questions that are not answered above, let us know. Call 020-7163933 or send an email to nicole.franken@freeagirl.nl.

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