**WARNING - CONTENT MAY SHOCK AND UPSET. UNSUITABLE FOR CHILDREN TO READ**
You take your 2yr old overseas to a country such as Thailand, Bali, Cambodia, India on holiday. You are having a fantastic time seeing all the sights and meeting the wonderful locals who are always smiling and friendly, willing to go to extremes to make you comfortable.
One day you head out to visit a busy crowded place. Being a crowded place you decide not to take your pram so you take turns carrying your 2yr old. While looking at wares in one stall, both you and your husband think the other is watching your child. In the blink of an eye - he's gone.
For you - this equals terror. Panic. Sickness.
For your child - it's much worse.
The man who grabbed your child has covered his or her mouth with a cloth with some sort of chemical on it to put them to sleep. They jump into a car and ride off with him.
He wakes up awhile later, finding himself in a tiny room - no bigger than most walk-in closets. It's dark and he's scared. He starts to cry.
He doesn't know where you are but soon his cries attract attention.
The door opens and in walks a talk figure who smells like beer. He hits your son, making him cry even more for you. The man starts to speak roughly in a strange language. Your child can't understand why you aren't there to comfort him and protect him.
Then the man starts to undo his pants...
What follows are several hours of your child being brutally assaulted by several people. All get sick pleasure from your child's cries for help, his cries for mama and Dada.
Your child falls asleep, exhausted from fighting back and nostrils full of mucus from his numerous tears. He hurts in places he shouldn't hurt. His eyes are swollen shut from the punches and the tears. But it doesn't matter - it's so dark in his tiny hole that he wouldn't have been able to see anything anyway.
Several hours later, the door opens again to a tall figure. He starts to cry for Mama again...
And that's where you wake up... to hear your child, safe in his room, crying out for Mum to get him a bottle.
How do you feel? Are you crying? What would you do if this really happened to your child? How would you cope? How would he or she cope?
Yes, it was just a dream... at least it is for you.
While in Cambodia 3 years ago, I had the privilege of meeting 5 young girls aged between 7-14 years old. Each of these young girls had been rescued from the sex slave trade.Snatched, stolen, sold by poor families in order to feed the other 8 children, sold by relatives who didn't care about them as long as their own children were safe.
One particular young girl, the youngest at age 7, caught my attention. She was the most beautiful young girl. Gorgeous long hair, happy shy smile. She was rescued 3 years earlier. That's right. She was 4yrs old when she was rescued. I didn't catch how long she had been a slave but for many of these girls it is from when they were toddlers, even infants.
Yet still, she smiles. We hand her a pretty doll with a special sparkly dress on. Her eye's light up and she spends the rest of the time with us just stroking the pretty dolly's hair and hugging her. She's just 7.
She's now safe. They all are.
No, they will never be innocent again. No, they will probably never fully heal. Yes, they will struggle with memories and the knowledge of what has happened to them for the rest of their lives.
But hey, it's not your child right.
But in case you do care...
Do something about it.