Botany and Ormiston Times
Howick and Pakuranga Times : Howick and Pakuranga Times Thursday June 26 2014
www.times.co.nz Howick and Pakuranga Times, Thursday, June 26, 2014 — 29 By Marianne Kelly DANIEL Walker makes no bones about telling an auditorium full of Christian believers that he “hates religion”. “I’m always nervous speaking in a church. Religion has enslaved more people than human trafficking,” the founder of Nvader, an organisation set up in 2012 to free women and children from the world’s sex indus- try, tells congregations at Elim Chris- tian Centre, Botany. Yet the one group globally posi- tioned to shut down the $99 billion sex trafficking industry is the church, says Mr Walker. Taking his words to heart, Elim followers in Botany, Central Auck- land and Whangarei have raised close to $70,000 to help establish a permanent base for Nvader in North- ern Thailand. Nvader, a New Zealand-registered charitable trust and non-government organisation, runs a team of NZ- based detectives and on-the-ground teams in South-East Asia who go undercover, wearing covert record- ing devices, documenting the trans- actions and using the information to prosecute brothel and bar owners. It has partnered with TEAR Fund, a NZ Christian aid and development organisation, which has taken over raising money. In the run-up to Elim’s offering for the cause on June 15, Mr Walker was guest speaker at the Botany services on June 8. He pulled no punches about the “appalling failure” of global govern- ments, the world community and the church, an institution “created to set people free”. He recalls one of his first under- cover experiences with a 12-year-old girl who sadly had “no recourse to justice”. “I realised I was in the devil’s bed- room, behind enemy lines and was afraid. Then I saw her as a little girl and was filled with hatred for the forces of evil brought there and anger at allowing children to be sex toys. “But I had documented all this and realised, standing on a dance floor in a brothel, that if anyone was danger- ous, it was me.” Sex trafficking, he says, is the fast- est growing criminal industry in the world. It’s worth an annual $99b and in the next 10 years will become the number one source of income of organised crime. “It involves small girls or boys being used 40 or 50 times a day and less than half a per cent are ever res- cued,” says Mr Walker. He described to the Elim audiences about being confronted with two six- year-olds with teddy bears on their shirts and hair in pigtails. “I said I needed 50 children aged between five and 12 for men from New Zealand, Australia, Korea, Japan and China. “I said I was arranging a sex party and the clients would arrive in a bus. But, instead, 80 armed police officers jumped off and raided the place. The youngest child I carried out was five years old. “For the first time, the perpetra- tors were sentenced to a term of 20 years imprisonment. “Because of the damming evidence the court had to convict them. “Many of the men travelling to exploit children started to say on their mobile network, ‘don’t go there, a Christian outfit is wrecking things, the party is over’. It was a ground- breaking time.” The criminal network, says Mr Walker, “has to be shut down”. “The laws are there, they are just not enforced.” One of his goals, he says, is to “inspire, empower and energise the church”. “This year we will see two million new children trafficked. So we will ultimately fail, unless you join us. In the face of great evil, be dangerous.” Nvader has operated a team in Thailand for two years, but Mr Walker says, has had no physical office, rather operating on a deploy- ment basis. “With sufficient funding and sup- port through our partnership with TEAR Fund and Elim, we can now do that. “We can employ a Thai social worker to follow up with victims, and a Thai lawyer so cases are followed through the justice system, providing assistance to the justice process to make sure a conviction is successful. “Our investigators will have a base rather than using their vehicles and houses. “A professional base will be safer and more effective. “We’ll be able to provide them with care because the work is traumatic. They’re always prone to burnout and secondary trauma.” Northern Thailand has been chosen for a base, says Mr Walker, because as well as being a destination, it’s also a transit route for sex trafficking to and from countries such as Myanmar (Burma), China, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. “Thai authorities are eager to work with us and we have a lot of partners there with great after-care resources.” Heading up Nvader’s Thai opera- tion will be Ralph Simpson, a litiga- tion partner at Auckland law firm Bell Gully. He represents clients in arbitra- tions, mediations, expert deter- minations and before regulatory bodies, such as the Financial Markets Authority and the NZ Commerce Commission. His experience also includes restructuring two corporations, Fletcher Challenge and Fisher & Paykel, involving separating business units within each company. Mr Simpson and his wife Joy came on board after hearing Mr Walker speak about Nvader and will take up their post in Thailand in January. “It’s very exciting to have people of that calibre with us,” Mr Walker says. “It’s a very exciting time.” Donations can be made online at ■■ www.tearfund.org.nz: click on do- nate now, slavery and exploitation – Nvader. More information about Nvader is online at www.nvader.org. Challenge to church congregation SAVING LIVES: On an overseas mission to free women and children from sex trafficking is, Daniel Walker, left, and Luke Brough, the Elim Christian Centre senior minister, who want church people to take a leading role. Times photo Marianne Kelly $19 PP Special deal with any drink purchase Normally $29pp THAI FUSION DINNER BUFFET Featuring a wide selection of entrees, soups, salads, main dishes and desserts. Finish with complimentary tea or coffee and home-baked cookies. STARRY THAI KITCHEN 2 Stanley St, Parnell. 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