Frequently asked questions

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Why are you holding this campaign?

Millions of children across the world are victims of sexual exploitation. We cannot and must not allow this to happen. With this campaign, we want to raise as much money as possible so that we can rescue even more children and offer them a future. By taking part in the Lock me Up – Free a Girl campaign, you can contribute directly to the fight against child prostitution. Click here to go to the registration form.

Are girls really imprisoned in cages?

Yes. In India, for example, there are tens of thousands of cages like this in brothels, where minor girls are exploited on a daily basis. In reality, of course, these cages are different from the ones we use for the Lock me Up – Free a Girl campaign. Our cages symbolize the imprisonment of children who are forced to sell their bodies every day. All around the world, millions of children are imprisoned in wretched conditions. It costs around €50 to rescue a child. Join us in the fight! Click here to go to the registration form.

How can we know that the donations will reach their target?

At Free a Girl, we are very transparent about our income and spending. In 2018, we spent 15% of our income on fundraising. That is well under the norm of 25% set by the Netherlands Fundraising Regulator (CBF). Recent annual reports are available here.

How do minor girls end up in prostitution?

Poverty is the major cause of child trafficking. In exchange for a fee, parents hand over their children to family members or (vague) acquaintances, who promise them a better future in the city. The parents do this in order to pay off debts or simply to survive. Sadly, no better future awaits their children. Some girls are also kidnapped, for example on the way to school. They are drugged, and then find themselves in brothels. Every year, thousands of children die without having had a real childhood. Their lives are dominated by exploitation, mistreatment and abuse.
Children who live and work on the street are at high risk of falling victim to child smugglers and exploiters, if they are not victims already. Action is rarely taken against child smugglers, owing to powerlessness, ignorance or corruption. The trade in children is extremely lucrative. One smuggled child earns a child trafficker at least a few hundred euros. Some of the girls who are sold to the sex industry are worth thousands of euros to pimps. And the pimps subsequently earn tens of thousands of euros from these girls.

Are there minor girls in forced prostitution in the Netherlands, too?

Yes, child prostitution is a global problem. In the Netherlands, an estimated 3,000 minor boys and girls are victims of sexual exploitation. The exploitation is often accompanied by lots of violence, blackmail and intimidation.

How many girls have been rescued to date?

Since we were founded in 2008, Free a Girl has helped to rescue more than 4,500 girls.

How long does the rehabilitation program last on average?

The rehabilitation program lasts an average of one year. Some girls are unable to return home, because their home environment is too unsafe and/or formed part of the sexual exploitation. These girls stay in the shelter until they are eighteen.

How do you know where the girls are being held? How do you investigate such situations?

We support local organizations that rescue children from brothels or massage parlors, or that rescue street children and offer them the chance of a new future. Our partner organizations scour the brothels every day, searching for minor girls. In addition, if a girl is reported missing, they carry out research in the brothels. They go undercover and present themselves clients, for example. If they are able to gather enough evidence, they carry out a raid in partnership with the police. From this year, we are also investing in online tracing methods. More and more girls are being exploited online, with agreements being made to meet clients in hotels or private homes.

Doesn’t your approach undermine the authority of the police and other officials?

The raids are carried out in partnership with the police. What’s more, our partners work closely with the justice system to get the perpetrators convicted.

How many rescue teams do you support?

Free a Girl supports eight rescue teams and eleven partner organizations in seven countries. We also have offices in Haarlem, New York and Mumbai, so that we can take an international stand against child prostitution.