Australians who have holidayed in Thailand will have seen it or sensed it. Appallingly, some even participate in it.
But when Aussie tradie Tony Kirwan saw the exploitation rampant in Thailand’s booming sex industry he didn’t turn a blind eye. He decided to end it, one child at a time. Tony sold his electrician business, moved his family to Bangkok and committed himself to rescuing underage girls from sex slavery and human trafficking. His organisation Destiny Rescue has now organised or facilitated the rescue of more than 1300 girls from the sex trade and given them shelter, education and the opportunity to rebuild their lives.
Tony and his band of rescuers work in close co-operation with local law enforcement to liberate girls, shut down clubs and bring the stand-over merchants to justice. In this unflinching and dangerous assignment, Sunday Night’s Denham Hitchcock takes viewers into the clandestine corners of Thailand’s sleazy, inhuman sex industry to explore the extent of what can only be described as slavery.
Tony and his crack team put effect to months, even years, of precise planning and rescue children from seedy nightclubs and brothels. Viewers will witness girls saved, lives fundamentally changed for the better and the exploiters arrested. Around the world, the International Labour Organisation estimates 27 million men, women and children are enslaved. This story focusses on one determined group trying to make a difference in our own neighbourhood. They’re led by dads who want Australian men to be the heroes, not the villains.
LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL
She’s seen and suffered the very worst of humanity and yet Perth grandmother Hetty Verolme believes life is beautiful, to be celebrated and squeezes the most out of every second of every day. At 85, Hetty has an indomitable exuberance and she’s aiming to teach us all her life lessons for happiness. Hetty survived one of Nazi Germany’s most infamous institutions, Bergen Belsen concentration camp. But she also helped more than 40 other children to survive the brutality and deprivation of Belsen with her enthusiasm, love and encouragement. She created distractions for the kids, organising games and shows. She hatched more than a few brazen schemes to steal food, confound the guards and undermine the authority of her captors.
At just 14, Hetty was nicknamed ‘The Little Mother’. Sunday Night’s Rahni Sadler travels back to Bergen Belsen with Hetty for this inspirational story of hope despite the odds. The cameras are there when Hetty is reunited with some of the children she helped to save, 70 years after they left the camp. Now Hetty spreads her message of hope to children across Australia. No matter what has happened to you, always believe that tomorrow will be a better day.
THE END OF THE ADVENTURE
In many ways they were Australia’s ultimate grey nomads. But where they went, they didn’t need campervans. They travelled to the country’s most hidden, unseen corners in their helicopter and if there were any signs of anyone else within hundreds of kilometres, their destinations weren’t remote enough. Richard and Carolyn Green took Sunday Night on one of their special adventures a few years ago.
Reporter Alex Cullen was struck by their love of the outback, their passion for the environment and their determination to see it their way. Richard captured many of their hideaways with his striking photography in his relentless effort to acquaint Australians with the importance of their natural wonders. Now the adventure is over.
Richard, Carolyn and another ground-breaking adventurer and devout environmentalist, John Davis, perished when their chopper crashed on the way home from a bush gathering of coal-mining protesters. Alex explores the trio’s legacy with their mutual friend and fellow adventurer, Dick Smith, and John’s widow, Felicity. We also examine claims Richard pushed the envelope as a chopper pilot and courted trouble with the aviation regulators.
This episode of SUNDAY NIGHT hosted by Melissa Doyle airs on Sunday at 7pm on Seven.