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Stars Team Up with Photographer To Stop Child Exploitation
source: CBS News


imaginginfo_into the light exhibit
This photo appeared in Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Carolyn Cole's thought-provoking exhibition of photography called "INTO THE LIGHT: Sexually Exploited Children On The Path To Restoration."
Carolyn Cole



"The reasons are often complex, but the results are the same, children forced to work in a growing sex trade where demand drives even caring parents to do dreadful deeds. And where respect and the rights of children are often ignored," Cole said.

Although both Serey and Kim are now in safe homes, there are many more children in danger.

"I hope my work will educate people about the hardships these children face, while showing the positive steps being made to combat the problem…one child at a time," Cole said.

According to the U.S. Sate Department, human trafficking has surpassed the illegal sale of arms and will surpass the illegal sale of drugs.

"It's timely and it's the third largest business on the planet, which is crazy. It seems that there is this complete and total blackout on it," Baldwin said.

Although Lamont Hiebert, co-founder of LOVE146 and lead singer of Ten Shekel Shirt, wasn't able to attend the benefit, he has made stopping child exploitation his mission.

Hiebert, who won the MySpace Impact Award for Social Justice and was named an "Agent for Change" by GQ Magazine created the song "Fragile" to raise awareness.

"I began to hear about child trafficking and exploitation in the mid to late '90s," Hiebert said in an earlier interview with CBSNews.com. "I was a musician and I started to speak out about these things. I realized that more needed to be done on the ground and it wasn't just enough for me to be a spokesperson."

"I just had to, I was compelled to. I grew up in a house where my mother cared a lot about battered women and abused children. She had a kind of an unofficial women's shelter. People would often come there who were in a bad marriage," Hiebert explained.

"I grew up with this example in my mother, who was also a nurse -- someone who had a heart for helping people in general. So, as I got older, I sort of carried that on. I just couldn't imagine not getting involved once I heard the stories of children being abducted and raped for profit."

In the fall of 2002, Hiebert and fellow LOVE146 co-founders, traveled to Southeast Asia and posed as potential buyers in order to get the behind the scenes story of what is really happening to these girls.

Accompanied by undercover investigators, they went to a brothel where 9 to 14 year old girls by the hundreds were sitting behind glass and were identified by a number and sold.

"It was by far the most tragic thing I had ever seen in my life. I just wanted to flee or break the glass, but the rescue process is very involved and it's not a proper sting operation to do it like that," Hiebert said. "These girls had this really blank stare and looked lifeless and defeated, except for this girl and her number was 146. She looked like had some fight left in her eyes."


   







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